VinaCapital, which manages three closed-end funds listed on London's Alternative Investment Market (Aim), is branching into an unlisted, general partnership business model. It has hired a specialist in managing such funds in the United States to drive the new business.

Don Lam, managing director at Ho Chi Minh City-based VinaCapital, says the firm will launch products structured as a general partner to appeal to institutional investors. The initial investors for VinaCapital's products were family offices and high-net-worth individuals in the US and Europe. Now the firm is branching out to institutions such as pension funds and to funds of funds. These are more comfortable participating as limited partners and are keen for private-equity type investments, he says.

He acknowledges the move is also a reflection of the fact that since last year, the NAVs of Vietnam-focused listed funds, including VinaCapital's, trade at a steep discount. These already invest in a range of listed and unlisted assets, including securities, real estate, private equity, infrastructure and technology.

Thirdly, VinaCapital already has three versions of its listed funds, as it closed earlier versions due to capacity constraints. Although the underlying investments for any new, unlisted products will be similar (and run by the same team of investment managers), a private-equity structure eases such constraints. VinaCapital runs $1.6 billion of assets under management as of February.

The firm has hired Stacy Kincaid as fund portfolio managing director, with a mandate to oversee the structuring and capital-raising efforts for the GP business, whose investment targets include real estate and infrastructure.

She previously managed the placement of various private-equity funds for Probitas Partners in San Francisco. She has also managed real-estate and other types of investments. She says she was attracted to the role because Vietnam still represents a growth story, rather than a distressed one.