Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) today announced plans to establish a prime brokerage team in Australia to enhance its services to hedge fund clients. Building on the Firm’s increasing presence in the Australian market and strong global commitment to the alternative investment industry, the new initiative reflects the growing importance and size of the Australian market and the increasing demands of its existing hedge fund managers.
Steve Harker, Managing Director and CEO of Morgan Stanley in Australia said, “This continues our steady organic expansion in Australia. The office will be staffed by returning expat Australians who are already with the Firm and quality local hires.”
The new office, which will open in Sydney later this year, will build on Morgan Stanley’s long history in Australia’s hedge fund market. As the first full service prime broker provider, the Firm has been active in the Australian alternative investment market since 1997. According to data provided by LCA Group, Morgan Stanley is the country’s leading prime broker, with 35% of Australia’s hedge fund assets for which a prime broker has been appointed.
Kurt Baker, Managing Director and head of Morgan Stanley's Asia Prime Brokerage group, said, “It is important for us to be close to our clients. This is a highly sophisticated market whose needs are evolving rapidly across all asset classes; providing on-the-ground client support and investor coverage is clearly an appropriate next step.”
“The strong flows into the Australian hedge fund industry from both Australian and international investors are clear recognition of the expertise and performance of Australian-based managers across a broad array of strategies,” he added.
Richard Webb, Executive Director and Head of Asia Pacific Sales for Morgan Stanley Prime Brokerage, said, “Australian hedge fund growth is being driven by demand from retail, high net worth and, increasingly, institutional investors. As in other areas, we look to distinguish ourselves to our clients through providing high calibre service, people, research and ideas; a full suite of support, reporting and administration services, and a globally integrated operating platform for all our clients.”
Australian Government agency Axiss said in March this year that the Australian hedge fund industry had A$22 billion under management (A$35 billion, including fund of hedge funds), making it clearly the largest hedge fund market in Asia. LCA project that the growth in total Australian hedge fund assets could rise to as much as A$220 billion by 2015.
Ian Chambers, Managing Director and Head of Morgan Stanley’s Institutional Equities Division in Australia, said, “In the last 12 months we have significantly deepened our coverage and range of services in Australia with an increasing presence in equity sales and trading, research and stock coverage, associated trading services, and now prime brokerage.”
Since 1981 Morgan Stanley's Prime Brokerage group has drawn upon the experience, resources and technology of the entire global organization to deliver services to hedge fund clients. Core services include clearance and custody, financing, client technology, securities lending and customized reporting. Value-add services include capital introduction, risk management, administration and reporting, strategy, trading and ideas generation.
Morgan Stanley is a global financial services firm and a market leader in securities, investment management and credit services. With over 600 offices in 30 countries, Morgan Stanley connects people, ideas and capital to help clients achieve their financial aspirations.
Hugh Fraser (FCC Partners)