New York-based REFCO's alternative investment division (RAI) has appointed Edward Chin as general manager and head of its Asian business in Hong Kong. Chin's mandate is to oversee the distribution of RAI's alternative investment products in Asia, through direct channels as well as through the continued development of strategic alliances with selected distribution partners.

Chin says RAI will be looking to distribute its products to institutional investors and high net-worth individuals in the region, including Japan. He will be assisted by a small dedicated-team he intends to build up gradually over time. He reports to David Henritze, president of RAI in New York.

"In the last three years there has been a big surge in the interest in alternative products among Asian investors," he says. "Traditional investors are becoming more open-minded and are realizing the value of diversifying their portfolio to include alternatives that are uncorrelated with the equity markets."

Chin has had over 15 years of experience in the investment management industry, including experience in joint venture negotiations with government and financial institutions in the distribution, allocation and structuring of hedge funds. From 2000-2001, he was the country manager for Man Investments based in Hong Kong.

RAI recently launched its first in a series of diversified multi-manager futures funds in collaboration with Dublin-based Abbey Capital. While Abbey Capital is responsible for portfolio construction and manager selection, RAI distributes the funds and provides the investor services. In addition, REFCO Securities is the primary distributor for products linked to the S&P managed futures index.