Managing Partners Limited (MPL), a London-based boutique fund manager, has opened an office in Hong Kong in line with plans to expand in Asia. The office is headed by Harvey Athwal, who has been appointed sales director for MPL Asia. He reports to Jeremy Leach, managing director of MPL, and will initially lead a team of 10 that is expected to eventually increase to 30.

MPL hopes to raise $100 million from Asian investors in its first year of operation in Hong Kong. The fund house believes Hong Kong is the best place to set up a base of operations from which it can target investors in Japan, Taiwan, China, Singapore and Australia.

Harvey has more than 20 years experience in financial services and has developed businesses in Europe, India, Asia Pacific and the Americas. He has been based in Hong Kong since 2004, having worked previously as head of strategic partnerships for Protrust's Dominion Funds and as new business development director for SGI Management. He was also a business development consultant for Norwich Union International in Dublin and head of corporate development and marketing for Scottish Equitable International in Luxembourg.

Leach expects a boutique style fund house to appeal to Asian investors.

"Asian investors, like those elsewhere, have been disillusioned in recent years by the poor returns seen in the major asset classes and are becoming increasingly interested in alternatives such as TLPs (traded life policies)," says Leach, "which have become renowned for their low risk, inherent guarantees and balanced growth characteristics." 

TLPs are US-issued life policies sold before their maturity date to allow the original owners to enjoy some of the benefits during their own lifetimes. By building diversified portfolios of these policies and carrying out the right actuarial analysis, fund managers can use them to deliver steady, incremental returns that are uncorrelated to other financial asset classes, according to MPL.