The Alternative Investment Management AssociationÆs (Aima) Tokyo chapter is getting a new chairman. Separately, Tim Kay of Peak Capital is joining its Hong Kong chapter in a new directorÆs role with regional responsibility. Aima is headquartered in London and with 1,100 members is a global industry association for hedge funds and service providers.

In Japan, Ted Uemae is stepping down after running the organisation since 2002. He took the helm almost immediately after the chapter was established. Hideki Hashiguchi, lead representative for HSBCÆs Bermuda Global Fund Services, will take the baton. Uemae says after several years he needs to concentrate on his other businesses, which include his own consultancy, Alternative Investment Products.

The Japan chapter is not that large, with around 40 members. Although Japan is home to the Asia PacificÆs biggest hedge funds, it lacks a large industry of service providers such as prime brokers, administrators, lawyers and custodians dedicated to serving hedge funds. Most of that work gets done out of other centres, including Hong Kong, Singapore, London and the United States.

Nonetheless Uemae can point to the chapterÆs growth during his tenure, with membership growing from only 10 when he joined, including a number of investment managers. He also established the chapter as a legal non-profit entity, which in Japan means it can do more. He hopes that with the groupÆs inaugural industry conference later this month, Aima Japan can begin to take on a proactive role for the industry.

ôWe have begun a dialogue with the Bank of Japan and the Financial Services Agency,ö he notes. Although Aima is meant to represent the industry, he has found its immediate task is to simply explain hedge funds to local authorities. ôThe regulators have many questions,ö he says. ôThey want to know where they can get good information about market practices.ö

ItÆs difficult for JapanÆs regulators, because many hedge funds, including Japanese ones, may keep research units on the ground but the headquarters and trading offices are abroad.

Shinichiro Shiraki, managing director at Monex Alternative Investments, will serve as vice chairman and Christopher Wells, partner at White & Case, will serve as chairman of a regulatory sub-committee.

Separately, Hong KongÆs Aima chapter is getting some additional firepower: Tim Kay, co-founder of Peak Capital, is joining as director. He will help develop the branch and work closely with regulatory authorities in Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and South Korea. The organisation needs to build its influence in the region as hedge funds continue to expand.

Christophe Lee of SHK Fund Management remains the chairman of Aima Hong Kong. He says the group has grown large enough, with nearly 70 members, to warrant adding an experienced person to help serve the membership and coordinate regional efforts.

Kay founded Peak Capital with Simon Powell in 2004 as a service platform for new hedge funds. Prior to that he ran the local businesses for MSCI and BNP Paribas Asset Management.