US-based alternative investment firm Yorkville Advisors has strengthened its Asia team in Hong Kong. Barton Lee has joined Yorkville Advisors HK Limited as senior vice-president from Morgan Stanley, where he was most recently a vice-president for global capital markets. Headquartered in New Jersey, Yorkville Advisors manages around $950 million in assets.

Yorkville Advisors is a relatively new entrant to Asia, having set up its Hong Kong office only in September 2008 to gain a presence in the region and get better access to investment opportunities here. The Hong Kong office received its licensing approval from the Securities and Futures Commission in March 2009.

Lee's primary focus will be on originating and structuring transactions in Korea and other Asian markets, where his capital markets experience is expected to be put to good use.

When he was with Morgan Stanley, Lee was responsible for originating and executing equity offerings, including initial public offerings, block trades, depositary receipts and convertible bond deals in Korea and Taiwan. Before that, he was associate director for equity capital markets at UBS in Hong Kong, where he also focused on the Korean market.

Lee joins another recent hire at Yorkville Advisors in Hong Kong, Tony Kwong, who joined the firm as an associate from the industrials investment banking group at Citigroup global markets in Asia where he had experience in M&A, equity, equity-linked and debt transactions in Greater China and Southeast Asia. Prior to joining Citigroup, he was with Lazard Asia focusing on M&A transactions in the Asia-Pacific.

"Having opened our first office in Asia less than six months ago, Yorkville has gained some real momentum. We have already closed two funding deals and continue to grow an experienced team," says Anthony Chan, managing director and head of Asia for Yorkville Advisors, without elaborating.

Chan has completed transactions totalling over $10 billion across the Asia-Pacific region, including debt and equity capital raisings, equity-linked issuances, cross-border M&A transactions, private equity exits, principal investments, asset divestitures and corporate restructurings. Prior to joining Yorkville Advisors, Chan was with Lehman Brothers Asia and was responsible for automotive, capital goods, and heavy industries in the investment banking division. 

Within Asia-Pacific, Yorkville Advisor's priority markets in Asia include Greater China, Korea, Japan, Singapore and Australia, according to Philip Ho, senior managing director and head of international capital markets at the firm. Ho heads up the firm's global capital markets group. He is based in New Jersey but travels constantly to overseas markets, particularly Asia. He is responsible for all of Yorkville Advisors' transactions in Australia, Canada and the Asia-Pacific region, and certain high-profile financings in Europe and the UK.

Yorkville Advisors HK plans to tailor its investment approach to each investee company's needs by offering structured investments in the form of convertible and straight debt, bridge loans, convertible preference shares and equity lines. It makes these investments in a broad range of transactions, including late-stage venture, growth and mature companies, special situations and management or leveraged buyouts.