Swiss Financial enters hedge fund admin space

Yet another provider enters the stage in Singapore.
Swiss Financial Services has become the latest provider to enter AsiaÆs growing hedge-fund administration space, setting up shop in Singapore. The move marks the first Asia foray by the Zurich-based firm and comes at a time when numerous players have entered the regional market, including Citigroup and LaCrosse.

Swiss Financial ServicesÆ Singapore offices will be run by Christine Lau, managing director, and Karl Gysin, director of business and corporate development. Gysin transferred to Singapore last month from Switzerland, while Lau from Cargill Investor Services. At her former employer, Lau was running its brokerage arm before Cargill Investor Services was sold to the ill-fated Refco in 2005.

The Singapore office is now servicing its global client base investment managers, hedge fund managers, commodity trading advisors, banks, brokerage firms and other financial institutions. The team is five strong and will expand headcount in line with revenues.

The plan to expand to Asia has been on the drawing board for some time, says Gysin: ôWeÆve been seriously looking to enter the Asian market since late 2005 and made the decision then to service the entire region from one location. We chose Singapore over Hong Kong because we see it as a favourable market to service the hedge-fund industry, due to a solid growth of new hedge managers as well as new service providers entering the marketplace.ö

As in other global markets, Swiss Financial Services will offer a full suite of support to its target clients in fund creation, administration and accounting. Aside from acting as administrator to the fund, the firm will also coordinate all the start-up functions, oversee the day-to-day operations of the fund and act as a liaison between investment managers, banks, brokers, custodians, auditors, tax advisors and regulatory authorities.

According to Gysin, Swiss Financial ServicesÆ Asian entrance allows the firm to also be closer to its existing regional clients and provide them with an Asian-based partner for the first time. In addition, he notes that the firmÆs Singapore launch comes at when many hedge-fund managers are looking for a wider selection of players in the administration game.

ôIn Asia, weÆve seen the administration space dominated by a few players and in our discussions with managers, they expressed to us the need for more alternatives in administration service providers ,ö says Gysin. ôNow that weÆre in Singapore, weÆre in the time zone of our Asia-based fund managers.ö

The firm was established in Switzerland in 1984 as a privately held futures-commission brokerage firm. It first began fund accounting five years later before becoming entirely focused on fund administration 1999. Today it has $35 billion of assets under administration covering 180 hedge funds and 220 funds of funds.

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