Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Exotic trades? No way!

By Jeffrey Hodgson

Increasingly risk-averse hedge fund managers are in no mood to chase exotic trades as they scramble to boost returns.

Given the current environment, Robert Appleby, chief investment officer at ADM Capital, told the Reuters Global Finance Summit there was no need to seek out exotic trades or markets for healthy returns.

“You don’t have to go to weird, wonderful places … you don’t have to take exogenous risks — its right at your doorstep,” he said, referring to his funds’ focus on the main markets of Hong Kong, China, India and Turkey.

ADM began investing in distressed debt in 1998 following the Asian financial crisis. Its funds often buy out existing creditors to initiate financial or corporate restructuring of companies that are delinquent or at risk of bankruptcy.

Cutting costs: business class to soda cans

By Kevin Lim

Some companies are taking cost cuts pretty seriously.

That’s the message from Aberdeen Asset Management’s Asia chief as the firm pulls out all stops to trim costs in these lean times.

“Obviously, we’ll travel less. Business class only if more than 6 hours or no business class at all,” Hugh Young said in an interview for the Reuters Global Finance Summit. “There is a big variable element when it comes to bonuses and that’s something we’ll look at.”

Young minds, old bodies offer private equity opportunities

Healthcare and education offer a new frontier for Middle
East private equity firms as they take advantage of dramatic
demographic changes in the region.

At least that’s the view held by Dubai-based private equity
player Abraaj Capital.

Audio – Kuwait Finance House sees silver lining in downturn

Photo

lim-boh-soon.jpg Lim Boh Soon, chief executive officer of Kuwait Finance House in Singapore said at the Reuters Wealth Management Summit that he sees the period of downturn in the global economy lasting 18-24 months.

However, he thinks the market sell-off over the past two weeks has thrown up good value and said the Middle Eastern bank will look to raise up to $600 million for three Asia-focused funds next year.  Kuwait Finance House is the Gulf third-largest lender.

Don’t forget Tokyo’s less-polluted air

Takafumi Sato, commisioner of Japan’s financial regulator, makes no bones about the government’s desire for Tokyo to be the No. 1 financial centre in Asia, and he rattled off a variety of reasons why foreign investors and professionals ought to set up shop here. Among them: the world’s second largest economy, democracy and the rule of law, great restaurants, abundant household assets needing management, low crime, great public transportation, four beautiful seasons.

“Now is an excellent time for Japan to close the gap with other global markets,” Sato told the Reuters Japan Investment Summit in touting the Financial Service Agency’s “Better Market Initiative.”

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