Partners Group joins RMB fund rush

The Swiss-headquartered alternatives firm is the latest global private equity player to launch an RMB-denominated fund.

Zug-based Partners Group is furthering its reach in Asia and its penchant for direct investments with the launch of an RMB-denominated fund registered in the Shanghai Pudong New Area.

“Partners Group’s RMB fund will mainly invest in local companies in the growth stage, in secondary transactions as opportunities emerge and in select local funds,” Peng Zhao, the firm's China head, said in a statement. “It will be a model which embodies Chinese characteristics and international fund standards.”

The fund will be registered in Pudong, he added. Its target size was not disclosed.

Pudong is a district of Shanghai which enjoys sub-provincial administrative status as the financial hub of China. It is home to the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Wai Gao Qiao Free Trade Zone, the largest free trade zone in mainland China.

Partners' chief executive Steffen Meister recently spoke to PE Asia about the firm's approach to the region. It first opened in Asia in 2004 in Singapore and at the same time launched its first Asian-Pacific fund of funds which went on to raise $378 million. It went on to add offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Sydney. Partners' second Asia-focused fund of funds closed on $1.1 billion in 2008.

The firm is among a string of foreign investors to have launched RMB funds, which let them raise local currency from domestic investors and also can be easier to invest in terms of clearing regulatory and other hurdles for transactions in certain sectors.

Industry participants continue to debate the merits of RMB- versus USD-denominated funds as well as the inherent conflicts of interests for those managers running parallel RMB and USD funds.