FSA Spy has been watching the carnage in the Chinese markets with a certain sangfroid. Scotland and Japan were still producing his favourite single malts, last time he checked, so a little market volatility is to be enjoyed, glass in hand. Private investors are often accused of buying high and selling low, and yet in Spy’s long experience, professional managers can, and do easily, behave the same. Spy is interested to see, as Warren Buffet so elegantly put it, “who is swimming naked when the tide goes out”. One could start here in our worst performing Chinese fund report published on Wednesday.
Bank of Singapore’s loss, is Standard Chartered’s gain: Wee Teck Tay has moved from his a general alternatives role at BoS to a specific private equity role at Standard Chartered Private Bank. Spy notes that private equity is all the rage, even OCBC’s Lion Global Investors is getting in on the act as reported by FSA yesterday. At next week’s FSA Alternatives Forums, BlackRock will be presenting on PE in HK and Franklin Templeton on PE in Singapore.
Is this the sign of things to come? Spy has learned that Neptune Investment Management, headed by the colorful Robin Geffen, is pulling out of Asia and concentrating all their firepower on continental Europe and the UK. Neptune, which originally struggled on its own, was using the services of Simon Powell’s Peak Capital to distribute their funds in Hong Kong and Singapore. If market talk is anything to go by, the real shame is that Peak had actually made positive traction just when the rug was pulled. With rising costs and brutal competition in Asia, who is next, Spy is wondering, sipping a small Hibiki 12-year-old blended malt (smooth and fruity) …
Spy has been rapped over the knuckles for an unreliable observation a few weeks back. Spy had mistakenly claimed that Sng Jia Hao had taken the role of head of discretionary management at Maybank. He is part of the team but not the head. Ang Mui Koon, formerly of Stan Chart, is overseeing the build up of Maybank’s discretionary platform and is the head of discretionary services. Both Jia Hao and Mui Koon report to Lim Kok Boon, who is the regional head of products and strategy. Spy has ordered himself to listen more closely and humbly apologises for the mistake.
Spy not only hears about people moves but company moves too. After many years, AB, (the asset manager formerly known as Alliance Bernstein) is moving from Prudential Tower to One Raffles Quay in October to join other asset managers such as UBS GAM, Capital Group and Principal Global Investors in swankier environs. Business must be good or perhaps Singapore’s building boom has brought down rents….
Spy’s roving band of photographers have spotted an advert by Aberdeen on Singapore’s MRT with an unfortunate creative. 2015 is not proving as sunny as Aberdeen would have us believe.
Nonetheless, Spy, tips his hat in Hugh Young’s direction for coming out to talk about recent volatility instead of hiding behind a wall of silence. In a lively piece on Aberdeen’s well-regarded commentary website, “Thinking Aloud”, Hugh has penned a good dose of sanity titled, Don’t feed the Bears. Read it here.
Spy observes with wry amusement the sales incentives offered by banks to retail investors in Hong Kong and Singapore. Local print media advertising includes these two gems. UBS is offering the chance to win a supermarket coupon for attending a warrants seminar. Spy is not entirely convinced that UBS’s traditional ultra high net worth clientele needs food coupons, but perhaps the Chinese stock market crash is affecting the affluent in ways undreamt of in recent years!
Meanwhile in the Lion City, Stan Chart Priority Banking is cashing in on SG50 fever with an offer that seems like style over substance, at best. Invest a minimum of $150k to get two SG50 commemorative medallions (value unspecified). The catch? Upfront sales charges must be at least 2% but could be as high as 6.25% according to SC’s small print. That means your medallions will cost you between $3,000 and $9,375 before the AMC kicks in. Spy prefers discounts; not goodies but that is just me.
Don’t even get Spy started on credit card promotions in Asia …