Cambridge Associates' subsidiary in Singapore received regulatory approval to offer discretionary portfolio management services to institutional investors and private clients, confirmed Alvin Tay, Singapore-based managing director of Cambridge Associates Asia Pte. Ltd.
With its newly granted license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Cambridge Associates can now offer to oversee a client's entire portfolio or segments of it, such as its alternatives exposures, in countries such as Singapore and Thailand, said Mr. Tay in a telephone interview.
While its scope for taking on discretionary assignments in the broader Asia-Pacific region will vary — in some countries, Cambridge Associates would only be able to respond to customer inquiries; in others, the firm would need local regulators to sign off — Monday's announcement “signals our intention” to pursue the business in Asia, Mr. Tay said.
According to a news release, the Boston-based investment consulting firm has been providing discretionary portfolio management services since 2001, with more than $11.5 billion in assets currently under discretionary management.
The news release said it will avoid a fund-of-funds approach in favor of customized offerings, designing distinct “fund-of-one” portfolios for each client.
Mr. Tay said in the near-term potential demand could be greatest from clients looking to tap Cambridge Associates' extensive research on managers of hedge funds, private equity and other alternative segments in the U.S., Europe and Asia. That demand could come from big institutional investors looking to initiate exposure to alternative asset classes while they build internal capabilities to eventually managing those exposures themselves, said Mr. Tay. In such cases, as the client's internal capabilities evolve, its relationship with Cambridge Associates would evolve as well, with more focus on continued access to the firm's research, he said.
Another source of demand could be from institutional clients and family offices with funds-of-funds exposure to alternatives. In those cases, Cambridge Associates' customized offerings could prove a competitive, cost-effective alternative, Mr. Tay said.
And with Cambridge Associates' able to offer its discretionary services for alternative asset allocations of as low as $20 million, there could be strong demand from a growing number of family offices in the region as well, Mr. Tay said.