Partners opens in Singapore, launches Asia fund

The Swiss alternative investment specialist has dispatched partner Christoph Rubeli to Singapore to oversee the firm’s expansion in Asia.

Partners Group, the Zug, Switzerland-based alternative investment manager, has assembled a team of investment professionals to expand its operations in the Asia-Pacific region. The firm has chosen Singapore as its regional base and has opened an office in the city-state. A fund of funds dedicated to Asia-Pacific is currently being raised.

Christoph Rubeli, a partner at the firm and most recently head of marketing and customer relationship activities in Asia-Pacific, will oversee the push into Asia. Prior to joining Partners in 1998, Rubeli worked in Singapore for UBS, latterly as area manager in charge of the bank’s operations in Southeast Asia. Going forward, Rubeli will split his time between Singapore and Switzerland. 

Working alongside Rubeli will be new senior recruits Kelvin Chan and Colin Chen. Chan joins Partners with a background in direct and indirect private equity investment, having worked most recently at TIF Ventures, a fund manager that manages $1.3 billion for private equity fund investments on behalf of the Singapore Government. Chan has also worked for DB Investments, ORIX Investments, Credit Agricole, ING Bank and Overseas Union Bank.

Chen brings investment banking and structured finance experience to the firm, having previously worked for financial institutions including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, CIBI, Citibank, UBS and Bank of America.  

In addition Mike Siebert, a currently Zug-based investment professional at the firm, will relocate to Singapore to complement the line-up.

The dedicated Asian fund of funds that Partners is currently marketing has already held a first closing on $50 million following commitments from a number of European institutions. The vehicle has a mandate to invest 80 percent of its capital in Asian buyout funds. The remaining capital is earmarked for early stage partnerships.

According to Partners’ co-chairman Urs Wietlisbach, the firm is determined to step up its previously cautious approach to Asian private equity, which it predicts will benefit substantially from very attractive macro-economic conditions. The fact that more private equity capital has been invested in Asia recently than has been raised was another important factor in the firm’s decision to change its strategic focus on the region, Wietlisbach said in an interview. However, the key to successful fund investing in the region was to pick the best of a still limited number of quality fund managers, he added.  

Rubeli said in a press release that Partners had detected a “clear need” in a growing Asian marketplace for Partners’ integrated asset management services based on years of experience “with the securitisation and customisation of private equity and hedge funds in Europe.”

Partners Group currently manages more than $6 billion in hedge fund and private equity investment programmes. The group has over 100 employees in offices in Zug, London, New York, Guernsey and now Singapore.