The Permal Group, the $20 billion manager of funds of hedge funds, has recently been granted a license by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to deal in securities. It has appointed Brenda Tse, who joined the firm last year, as its responsible officer and representative in the Hong Kong office.

Permal already has three products registered in Hong Kong, and can now market these directly to commercial banks.

These include low-volatility funds of funds for equity long/short, multi-strategy and natural-resources funds. ôOur natural resources fund of funds has outperformed the natural resources indices but with lower volatility,ö Tse notes.

Citibank has sold these Permal products in Hong Kong since 2003, but Permal can now take an active onshore role in areas such as training distributorsÆ staff or running client seminars. Permal staff routinely travel to Asia to work with private banks and other distributors, but now will be able to service them locally as well. The Hong Kong office can now also begin to expand its distribution relationships, notably in the retail space.

Permal is ranked as the fifth biggest fund-of-hedge-funds manager in the world. It was acquired last year by Legg Mason for $800 million. The firm was founded in 1973, making it one of the most storied in the alternative-investments industry.