Signet Capital Management, the $1.4 billion UK-based fund of hedge fund group, says it is in talks with two financial firms for a “possible collaboration” following the departure of its managing director for the region.
François Hora, who headed the Asian headquarters of Signet in Hong Kong, joined hedge fund Complus Asset Management in June as head of business development.
Complus, set up last year by ex-Fortress Investment Group Hong Kong head Stanley Ku, is a macro strategy that focuses on Asian interest rate, foreign exchange and equities markets.
There are no immediate plans to replace Hora, who had been with Signet for four years. An analyst called Wisely Ngai, who worked alongside Hora, remains with the firm in Hong Kong, says a UK-based spokesman for Signet.
“We are currently in discussions with two other financial firms with regards to possible collaboration and both of those situations would result in Signet growing the Hong Kong office again by year-end,” adds the spokesman, without elaborating.
In recent months Signet has surrendered its Central office in Hong Kong, where it had resided in an office tower that houses several hedge fund managers. It is now subletting office space from an alternatives manager in the city, while also contracting temporary use of virtual office space in order to comply with Hong Kong regulations, says Signet’s spokesman.
Signet’s potential business tie-up comes as the FoHF industry is seeing a wave of mergers on a global basis.
In May it was announced that Hong Kong-based Penjing Asset Management was being acquired by $7.6 billion Swiss alternatives group Gottex Fund Management.
The following week, the UK’s Man Group stated its intention to purchase Financial Risk Management Holdings, a London-based FoHF whose biggest clients are institutional investors in Asia. Both deals are pending regulatory approval.
There were five notable FoHF mergers globally in the first half of the year – about the same number of industry M&As in all of 2011.
Consolidation within the FoHF industry has been widely expected, given the drop in assets from $800 billion globally at the peak in 2008 to about $600 billion now, according to Eurekahedge figures. Some $20 billion was redeemed by investors last year, says the data provider.
Signet is one of the smaller FoHF firms in the industry in terms of assets under management. It has a range of funds that focus on fixed income and emerging markets strategies, but also includes global equity and credit products.