ASIA NEWS: Hong Kong traffic

There are more than 20 LPs with bases in Hong Kong, according to the chief executive officer of placement agency MVision Private Equity Advisors, Mounir Guen. To get closer to these sources of equity, the London-based firm is planning to join them by opening a new office.

Guen told PERE about the firm's expansion plans last month, one week after rival firm, San Francisco-based Probitas Partners, announced its intentions to do just the same.

“As Asia takes its place in the private equity and real estate markets, we want to be positioned there,” explained Guen. He said that while Singapore was also considered for its first office location, China's economic capital experienced more activity.

“All the pan-Asian {GPs} have headquarters there,” he said. “There are more than 20 investors with offices there also, the likes of pension funds and funds of funds, so it has lots of traffic.”

MVision, which also has offices in London and New York, is expected to open a Hong Kong advisory office by the end of the year. Guen said it would initially be manned by approximately six staff.


MVision is better known for raising capital for private equity funds than real estate, but Guen said it planned to expand its presence in the property sector globally and was focused on distressed real estate opportunities, a product of today's stage in the investment cycle.

“We didn't get involved in the earlier part of the cycle because we wanted to be quite niche,” he said. “What we have been looking for comes now in the later stages.” Consequently, he expected up to 15 percent of the firm's capital raising efforts to be focused on real estate.

Previous real estate funds raised by MVision include €205 million for Munich-based Orlando Real Estate's Special Situations Partners fund in October 2006, which was targeting German property.

Meanwhile Probitas Partners, has appointed Edwin Chan from AIG to lead its Hong Kong office, its first in Asia. The firm has taken residency in the ICBC Tower, Citibank Plaza. Chan will manage existing limited partner relationships, source new general partner clients and facilitate secondary sales.

Greg Hausler, founding partner at the firm, said: “Asia is a critical component to our future success, and having a local presence represented by Edwin will help Probitas Partners better serve limited partners in the region.” He added that Asia as an investment location would appeal to “savvy and long term investors”.

Like MVision, raising equity for real estate is a part of a wider remit for the firm, however, past tombstones include €335 million for London-based Benson Elliot Capital Management's first European real estate fund in 2006, and more than €500 million for its second vehicle in February this year.