Portfolio Advisors opens up in Asia

The US-headquartered gatekeeper and fund of funds manager is looking to source new managers in the Asia-Pacific region and expand its client base. It has based itself in Hong Kong.

Portfolio Advisors, a US-headquartered private equity and private equity real estate investment advisory and portfolio management firm, has opened its first Asian office.

The office, based in Hong Kong, was established at the end of May and has only one investment professional currently: Jonathan English, the firm’s vice president.

“We have every intention to start to hire and add professionals if not by year-end then the first quarter of next year,” English said in a telephone interview with PERE's sister magazine, PEI Asia.

In establishing a base in Hong Kong, the firm intends to source new managers in the region as well as continue to monitor existing Asian managers, according to English. The firm will be looking into both pan-Asian fund managers and country-specific managers, he added.

It also intends to expand its client base. As Portfolio Advisors already has relationships with Japanese and Australian LPs, English said the firm would spend more time going forward in South Korea, Taiwan and mainland China. The firm seeks to help institutions with their overall portfolio advisory platform, not only in Asia, but also in the US and Europe.

English said it made sense for the firm to establish a presence in Asia due to the appetite for Asian private equity seen from the firm’s US and Western Europe advisory clients following the global financial crisis.

Established in 1994, the gatekeeper and fund of funds specialist is headquartered in Connecticut and has one other office in Zurich. The firm currently manages more than $60 billion of private equity and private equity real estate investments through investment advisory services, funds management, and portfolio administration and reporting services, according to the company’s website.

Portfolio Advisors has had a relationship with Singapore-based United Overseas Bank (UOB) since 2005, having raised and co-managed two funds of funds of $400 million in that time. The first fund of funds closed on $190 million in October 2007 and is fully committed on the primary side with 15 commitments, with some capital remaining for co-investments and secondaries.

The firm also closed its debut $1.1 billion secondaries-focused fund in November last year, after having been an investor in secondaries since 2003.