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SEA Asset partners with German alts manager

Singapore-based SEA Asset Management will help distribute Eschborn, Germany-based Seahawk Investment’s long/short equity fund in the Lion City.
Alexander Zeeh, SEA Asset Management

Boutique firm SEA Asset Management and Seahawk Investments have entered into a distribution agreement, according to a joint statement.

Seahawk Investments was established in April 2018 last year, according to the firm’s website. Its parent company is investment management and advisory firm Transport Capital, which was founded in Singapore in 2013 and is focused on the international transportation industry.

“Joining forces with Seahawk Investments in this collaboration helps us to mutually expand our reach in Singapore and Germany amid increasingly complex regulatory requirements,” Alexander Zeeh, SEA AM’s CEO, said in the statement.

Zeeh explained to FSA that the agreement involves the Singapore-based firm to act as a “distribution agent” for Seahawk’s long/short equity fund, which is a Luxembourg Ucits Sicav product. The product’s initial subscription period is from 15 May-22 May and is only available to accredited investors in Singapore.

The long/short equity fund, which will incept on 15 May, will focus on transportation and energy, which include companies that are in the aviation and shipping industries, according to Seahawk’s website.

“We think that this partnership is an important step in the evolution of fund distribution, as it will make a broader array of alternative investment strategies accessible to institutional and accredited investors in Singapore,” Hubertus Clausius, portfolio manager and managing partner at Seahawk, said in the statement.

Alternatives, particularly private equity and hedge funds, are among the fastest growing asset classes in Singapore. Hedge fund assets in the Lion City grew 17% to S$162bn ($119.6bn) in 2017 from S$138bn in the previous year, according to latest data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Besides the long/short equity fund, Seahawk also offers alternative absolute return and traditional multi-asset strategies, according to the statement. 

SEA AM’s reach

SEA AM’s Zeeh noted that the distribution partnership with Seahawk does not include the German firm to help distribute SEA AM’s funds in Germany. However, the agreement opens up “distribution opportunities” in the country, he said.

SEA AM manages two Asia-focused products, which are the SEA Asian High Yield Bond and the Asian Equity Discovery funds.

However, Zeeh said that the partnership involves both firms to share industry information, such as regulatory developments, in their respective jurisdictions.

“It helps when you have a partner on-the-ground in Germany and vice-versa. If I see something happening in terms of investment or regulatory development, I will reach out to Seahawk. We have been doing this for quite a while. We are just formalising it.”

SEA AM’s funds are already registered for sale in Germany, as well as in Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, according to Zeeh, adding that the firm also has distribution partners in those markets.

In Singapore, the firm received a full capital markets services (CMS) licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore in August, which allows the firm to provide more investment management services, portfolio management, marketing and sale of funds to accredited investors.

Before obtaining the CMS licence, the firm was managing investment funds and segregated accounts for accredited investors as a registered fund management company (RFMC).

However, RFMCs can only carry on a fund management business with no more than 30 qualified investors, of which no more than 15 may be funds or limited partnership structures.

In addition, the total value of assets managed by RFMCs cannot exceed S$250m.

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