Malaysia’s RHB, Neuberger Berman launch $100m PE fund

The private equity fund, which will mostly target Malaysian, Singaporean, and North Asian LPs, aims to capitalise on the rapid growth of high net worth individuals in the Asia Pacific.

Kuala Lumpur-based RHB Asset Management (RHB AM), a subsidiary of Malaysia's RHB Banking Group, has teamed up with New York-based investment firm Neuberger Berman to launch a multi-strategy private equity fund, the company said in a statement.

The fund will be marketed mainly to high net worth investors in Asia, and in particular in Malaysia, Singapore, and North Asia, as well as to investors in the Middle East. Targeted risk-adjusted returns will be in the middle-to-high teens over the 7-year life of the fund. 

RHB PE Opportunity Fund I is aiming for a minimum size of $100 million and will collect initial investments of at least MYR 100,000 ($25,000; €22,000). It will charge a management fee of 2.5 percent of the net asset value per annum.

The fund aims to capitalise on the fast rate of growth in the number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) in the Asia Pacific region. Asia Pacific HNWI wealth surged by 10 percent in 2015, compared with just 4 percent globally, according to Capgemini's latest World Wealth Report, its 20th. For the first time since Capgemini began tracking HNWI growth, Asia Pacific leapfrogged ahead of North America for HNWI wealth and population, with $17.4 trillion in wealth and a HNWI population of 5.1 million, versus North America's $16.6 trillion in wealth and a HNWI population of 4.8 million, the report said.  

RHB AM managing director and regional head Eliza Ong said the fund will mainly focus on mature and profitable businesses in the US and Europe. “We will work together to develop and offer private equity and other alternative strategies in both the conventional and shariah space,” Ong said. 

“The fund will target 20 to 25 deals from a multi-strategy approach including co-investments, private debt, and secondaries,” RHB AM chief executive Seng Yee Ho told Private Equity International. “We will hunt for deals during the two-year investment period that best fit the fund's objectives.”

Under the partnership, Neuberger Berman will act as sub-investment manager of the fund and will source and manage deal opportunities. 

RHB has over $35 billion of assets and is the largest investment bank by asset size in Malaysia. 

Neuberger Berman, which has around $243 billion in assets under management, invests around 16 percent of its portfolio to alternatives assets, including private equity, hedge funds, infrastructure and private debt. The firm has committed capital to Asian-focused funds including Milan-based Mandarin Capital Partners and Boston-based Bain Capital's Sankaty Credit Opportunities II. 

The firm's private equity unit, Dyal Capital Partners, is raising a third fund focused on acquiring direct minority stakes in private equity firms. The fund, Dyal Capital Partners III, has so far collected $2.5 billion, which includes commitments from the New York State Common Retirement Fund and the State of New Jersey, according to PEI data.

Neuberger Berman and RHB could not be reached for comment.