Private equity adviser Altius Associates aims to expand its Singapore office, and is awaiting approval to begin business development and investment advisory services in the Lion City.

Altius’ office in the city-state researches PE opportunities in the region. But once it obtains approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore to become a full service branch – likely within the next three months – the firm will add these additional services.

To spearhead the efforts, the firm has named former Deutsche Bank executive Peter Pfister partner and head of Asia Pacific.

In addition to advising existing US, European and Australian clients on opportunities in Asia, the Singapore-based investment team will advise regional institutions on PE assets, in the US, Europe and Asia, says Eric Warner, co-CEO and head of investor relations.

Altius may also manage internal private equity funds of funds out of Singapore, but this is not on the immediate horizon, he adds.

Investment opportunities in Asia and growing interest from regional clients to increase their PE portfolios made expanding the Singapore office’s services “imperative”, Warner says.

Institutional investors in Japan, Korea and Australia have a fair amount of experience investing in private equity, but historically have stayed closer to home, he notes.

“That’s what you do first. You invest in the region you know,” Warner says. But increasingly, many Asian insurance companies and pension funds are starting to look outside their home countries for PE investments. Chinese insurers, for example, can now invest offshore after the mainland’s insurance regulator relaxed its rules. 

Warner expects the US and European markets will benefit from inflows from Asian investors near-term, but he also points to opportunities closer to home, citing the uptick in pan-Asian private equity funds as an example.

Pfister, who started on September 2, will “wear two hats” in that he will oversee both the business development and investment advisory team in Singapore, Warner says.

Previously head of Asia Pacific for Deutsche Bank’s PE business, Pfister oversaw the German bank’s business development and investment decisions across the region for seven years out of Singapore.

A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Pfister has been replaced.

Pfister will report to Brad Young, head of investments, who is based in Richmond, Virginia. Altius also has an office in London.

The firm will wait until Pfister’s been in place for six months or so before making any headcount decisions, Warner says. At the moment, the Singapore office is five-strong.

Altius is raising money for one private equity fund of funds and one real asset fund of funds. It oversees $2 billion.

Its clients oversee roughly $22 billion, and include a number of large US, European and Australian institutional investors, such as the California State Teachers’ Retirement System.