Asia Pacific News

Partners Capital adds executive in Singapore as part of Asia push

Emmanuel Pitsilis joined outsourced CIO firm Partners Capital in Singapore as a managing director and co-head of its Asia-Pacific business.

Mr. Pitsilis replaces Arjun Raghavan and will work alongside regional co-head Adam Watson.

Mr. Pitsilis reports to Mr. Raghavan, who became the $38 billion London-based firm’s CEO in July after building up Partners Capital’s Asian business over the prior decade.

Mr. Pitsilis spent more than 20 years in Hong Kong at McKinsey & Co. and has been “an entrepreneur and early stage venture investor focused on Asia B2B SaaS and FinTech sectors” for the past seven years, a news release said.

Mr. Raghavan said in an interview that Mr. Pitsilis’s background will help facilitate Partners Capital’s plans to ramp up the firm’s exposure in Asia over the coming decade, both as a target for capital deployment and a source of OCIO client demand.

At present, the firm — launched 20 years ago to help founders of private equity and real estate asset management firms invest their own money — sources roughly 6% of its AUM from Asia-Pacific-based clients while deploying about 9% to 10% of its capital in the region, Mr. Raghavan said.

But with inefficiencies in markets such as China, India and Southeast Asia making the region rife with opportunities, Partners Capital will aim to double client growth and triple investments made in the region — from $3 billion at present to roughly $10 billion — over the coming five to 10 years, Mr. Raghavan said.

To facilitate that goal, Partners Capital is looking to beef up its direct investing and co-investing capabilities, and Mr. Pitsilis’s time “in the trenches” backing entrepreneurs and building companies in the region “marries with our aims across Asia,” Mr. Raghavan said.

Mr. Pitsilis is likewise “savvy on the client servicing side,” Mr. Raghavan said, adding “he understands the institutional pools of capital across Asia,” including the sovereign wealth funds that Partners Capital hopes to become relevant to over time.

For now, family offices remain a sizable chunk of the firm’s client base, even as growth in endowment and foundation AUM has edged ahead in recent years. Globally, endowments and foundations account for 55% to 60% of the firm’s AUM, up from 30% to 40% 15 years ago, Mr. Raghavan said.

In Asia, the split between family offices and founders’ capital on the one hand and endowments and foundations on the other is pretty much 50-50, Mr. Raghavan said. But with so much of the wealth created by corporate founders still residing with families, that opportunity should grow as wealth moves into the hands of second or third generations more open to considering OCIO services, he said.

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