Finex, one of Asia’s fastest-growing placement firms, loses CEO

Finex has expanded to more than 50 full-time staff across Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to its website.

Finex, a relatively new and fast-growing entrant to the Asia-Pacific fund placement scene, has lost its chief executive, Private Equity International has learned.

Michael Stockford, who joined as CEO in 2019 from Belgian asset manager Degroof Petercam, will leave the Hong Kong-headquartered firm on 31 March, according to filings with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

A Finex spokesperson confirmed Stockford’s departure. Stockford also confirmed the move, noting that the parting was “amicable”. His next steps are unclear.

Finex’s website describes the firm as “the bridge between fund managers from across the globe and Asian investors”. Clients to date have included GP stakes firm Bonaccord Capital Partners, Permira Credit and France’s Seven2, formerly Apax Partners SAS.

Launched in 2017, Finex expanded rapidly during the pandemic. As of 2023, the firm has more than 65 full-time sales associates on staff across Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to senior managing director Chris Kim’s LinkedIn profile. This includes 15 Korean sales and product associates, and 10 Japan associates.

Kim, who also joined in 2019 following a three-year stint at SBI China Capital, now leads the firm. He was previously head of Asia for Standard Life Investment from 2013 to 2016.

Finex’s business comprises 60 percent fund placement, predominantly focusing on mid-market to lower mid-market private equity managers in the US, the EU and Asia with funds ranging from $50 million to more than $20 billion, according to Kim’s profile. The remaining 40 percent comprises direct placements across infrastructure, real estate and debt transactions ranging from $100 million to $500 million.

Its current mandates include a €7.5 billion European buyout fund, a $5 billion US buyout fund and a $5 billion US credit fund, per Kim’s profile. The firm also has a $12 billion buyout and $15 billion global infrastructure fund in its 2023 pipeline.

Finex has ramped up its South Korea, Japan and family office coverage in recent years and is starting to expand coverage in Greater China, Southeast Asia and Australia, per the firm’s website.

The Asia-Pacific placement agent scene has seen many comings and goings in recent years. Eaton Partners, for example, lost its entire Shanghai team in 2021, PEI reported at the time. Many senior executives have also jumped in-house to GPs during the pandemic, the most recent of which being George Maltezos, former head of Asia-Pacific for Campbell Lutyens, who left for BlackRock in March.