NEPC entered into a research agreement with Singapore-based investment consultant GFIA aimed at bolstering the U.S. firm’s coverage of Asia-based money managers and investment strategies.
In a client newsletter, NEPC said its agreement with GFIA reflects “the increasing opportunities for U.S. institutional investors to generate returns in the growing and rapidly evolving Asian markets.”
In a telephone interview, Erik Knutzen, NEPC’s chief investment officer, said his firm’s tie-up with GFIA, one of the most seasoned alternatives investment consultants in the region, will enhance NEPC’s ability to deliver best ideas to U.S. institutional clients when it comes to Asia-focused investments.
From its U.S.-based operations, NEPC has conducted more than 100 meetings with Asia-based managers in recent years, with decisions pending on a number of private equity and direct lending investment vehicles identified for potential allocations by clients, Mr. Knutzen said.
In a separate telephone interview, Peter Douglas, GFIA founder, principal and investment committee chairman, said NEPC already covers Asia more effectively than most foreign consulting firms, but appreciated the value of having “eyes and ears on the ground” to provide greater context, up-to-date information on regulatory developments and enhanced manager due diligence.
Mr. Douglas said aside from the fees NEPC will pay GFIA for its services, another benefit for his firm will be the opportunity to “learn more about the DNA of the American institutional landscape.”
NEPC intends to “continue to expand our presence in Asia,” said Mr. Knutzen, adding that while a move to Asia at some point can’t be ruled out, bolstering the firm’s research capabilities in conjunction with GFIA is a key to that expansion for now.