Blackstone nears $2.25bn for debut Asia fund

Asia is one of the alternative asset manager's areas of focus for growth, in addition to attracting retail and insurance investors.

Blackstone is getting closer to holding a final close on its inaugural Asia-focused private equity fund.

The firm’s chief financial officer, Michael Chae, noted during the first-quarter earnings conference call on Thursday that the fund is “nearing its revised hard-cap of $2.25 billion”.

Blackstone Capital Partners Asia Fund I launched last summer, aiming to raise up to $2 billion, PEI reported at the time, noting that a first close was expected before the end of 2017.

Asia is one of several focuses for growth at Blackstone, according to Jon Gray, who participated in his first earnings conference call since being promoted to chief operating officer in February.

“Generally, over time, more emphasis on growth will mean more exposure to Asia,” Gray said. “Our investors would like more exposure.”

Blackstone also is focusing on retail and insurance investors as future growth areas, as previously reported by PEI.

“They are large pools of capital that have low single-digit allocations to alternatives,” Gray said.

“That creates a lot of white space. The nature of the products because of regulatory capital requirements, because of yield requirements and liquidity requirements from retail investors, it may be a bit different, but the basic requirement that people want is high-quality investment management at a reasonable price. We think that what’s worked in the institutional world can work in these two other worlds.”

The firm’s total assets under management rose 22 percent to $449 billion as of the end of the first quarter, including $111.4 billion in private equity.