Hong Kong-based multi-manager firm Synergy Fund Management has partnered with IMQubator, a European seeding platform, to source and seed Asia-Pacific managers. IMQ is backed by APG, the asset manager for Dutch pensions giant Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP.

Synergy and IMQ will form a business development advisory alliance with a focus on China and Japan. Synergy will source Asian managers, while IMQ will advise Synergy on seeding and accelerating hedge fund managers.

The firms have launched their venture in a very tough environment for capital-raising, but Eliza Lau, Synergy founder and chief investment officer, does not think this will make things difficult for the new venture.

She admits raising money is not easy and that it may be a challenging year, but maintains there are great opportunities for finding good managers and that it's a buyer's market. Lau points to the expected proliferation of spin-outs from hedge funds and banks' proprietary desks and the opening up of markets in Asia resulting in a new generation of managers.

As for minimum track record and level of experience the partnership will be looking for, Lau says they will take it on a case-by-case basis, and argues that her experience as a hedge fund manager and fund selector will be valuable. She was formerly CEO and CIO of fund-of-funds house Sail Advisors, and was named as one of AsianInvestor magazine’s Top 25 most influential women in asset management in 2011. A photo gallery is available here.

Jeroen Tielman, CEO and founder of IMQubator, says: “Many undiscovered talents are planning to launch new products in the coming years as they find better investment opportunities in the Asia region. We are expecting to see a swathe of managers spinning out of larger asset management firms or proprietary desks during the coming 12 months.”

The partnership expects to see some “quite exceptional” emerging managers from China, adds Tielman. He points to the gradual market opening of China that will offer growing opportunities, citing in particular strategies in the CTA and commodity trading space, given the advanced and highly active commodity exchanges in China.

As result, Lau expects a faster rate of growth in the numbers of talented home-grown CTA and commodity trading managers in Asia, and particularly China, admittedly from a relatively low base.