Partners Group replaces China head, ups China directs

Peng Zhao has taken over at the Swiss firm's Beijing office, following the departure of former China head Linda Cai. Part of his mandate will be to up direct investments in the country.

Swiss alternative assets manager Partners Group has appointed Peng Zhao as head of China to replace Linda Cai, who has left the firm.

The reasons for Cai’s departure is unclear, as is her next move. Partners Group declined to comment on either.

Zhao, who joined Partners Group in 2008, will be in charge of expanding the firm’s client base in China and building its investment activities there, a spokesman for the firm told PEI Asia. In addition to fund investments, Partners Group will also be making more direct investments in China, the spokesman stated, although no further details were given.

Zhao will also be responsible for further integrating the firm’s Beijing-based China office, which has a team of four including Zhao, into the firm’s global network, the spokesman added.

Prior to joining Partners Group, Zhao worked as a private equity attorney in Chicago. Before that, he worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China as a diplomat.

According to previous media reports, Cai established Partners Group's Beijing office in 2008, and was believed to join the firm in 2007.

In July, Partners Group was awarded a mandate by South Korea’s sovereign wealth fund Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) to make private real estate investments. The mandate win followed KIC’s decision in 2009 to award Partners Group a private equity secondaries mandate. The size of both mandates remained undisclosed.

Headquartered in Zug, Partners Group currently has more than €20 billion of capital under management across private equity, private debt, private real estate and private infrastructure.

At the end of last year, the firm closed its third global secondaries fund on €2.5 billion, surpassing its €2 billion target and more than doubling the amount collected by its predecessor, which closed on €1 billion in September 2006. 

Within Asia, Partners Group currently has offices in Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, and Sydney, and states on its website that it also expects to open an office in Seoul. In May, the firm opened an office in Dubai’s International Financial Centre, its first in the Middle East, to support its investment activities and “growing number” of client relationships in the region and India.