Credit Suisse beefs up Asia team

Credit Suisse to increase its Asia forces by 20% this year. (SUPPLIED)

Credit Suisse will increase the headcount in its prime brokerage team in Asia by 15 per cent to 20 per cent in 2010 as it aims to win business from the increasing number of global hedge funds eager to set up base in the region, a senior official at the Swiss bank said.

The bank has hired former Goldman Sachs Executive Deborah Lee as a director in its capital services team, Matt Pecot, the Head of Credit Suisse's prime services for Asia-Pacific, told Reuters. Lee left the US bank a year ago.

Lee, who has worked in the hedge fund and prime broking business for 10 years, will report to Benjamin Happ, head of capital services Asia Pacific, Pecot said. Credit Suisse plans to add headcount in capital introduction and consultancy services amongst other areas, he added.

"We are being selective about the kind of funds and the number of funds we sign up and building a multi-asset prime brokerage which does not just offer long/short," Pecot said.

Pecot himself is a fairly recent addition to the bank's prime brokerage team, moving from UBS - where he was the head of prime brokerage services for Americas - in June 2009. Happ joined Credit Suisse from Hong Kong-based Abax Global Capital in mid-2009.

"2010 is going to be very much like 2005-2006, in terms of the internationalisation of the hedge fund community out here," said Pecot. Well known hedge funds and investors are moving or eyeing setting up shop in Asia to capitalise on the potential of the fastest-growing region in the world. Soros Fund Management, billionaire George Soros' investment company, is looking to set up an Asia presence in Hong Kong.

Asia still makes up a relatively small part of the portfolios of large global hedge fund firms. "People see that the macro story out here in Asia is quite differentiated from what is happening in the US and Europe and they are trying to take advantage of thabt by putting talent on the ground here," said Pecot.

 

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