South Korea's Daewoo Securities has spun-off its proprietary
trading desk in Hong Kong as a new hedge fund operation named
South Mountain Asset Management, and is understood to be
seeding the start-up with at least $50 million.
The word on the street is that Stacey Hahn Sull - the former
CEO of one of Korea's largest asset managers, Cosmo Asset
Management - could be brought in as the firm's CIO and CEO.
However, a source at South Mountain said a decision on that has
yet to be confirmed.
Daewoo Securities, a subsidiary of the KDB Financial Group,
is the second largest brokerage and investment banking group in
Korea terms of capitalisation, ranking just under Samsung
South Mountain is understood to be positioning itself to
become either an equity long/short specialist or a
multi-strategy vehicle investing in various types of asset
classes. It has already applied to the Hong Kong Securities and
Futures Commission for a licence.
The new team comes from two strategy groups at Daewoo -
focused on equity and multi-asset strategy, respectively - that
have traded internal capital for the firm in Hong Kong with
excellent returns for a number of years. The equity team had
two portfolio managers while the multi-asset team had one, all
of whom will migrate to South Mountain.
Prior to Cosmo, Sull founded and ran Oojoo Capital Partners,
which ran a largely directional long/short Asian equity fund
with a bias towards Korea, as well as having exposure in Japan,
Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. Before Oojoo, Sull managed over
$2 billion in long-only portfolios at Morgan Stanley Investment
Management in Singapore.
South Mountain is understood to have taken an office at the
swanky IFC building in Hong Kong's central business district
and appointed Goldman Sachs as its sole prime broker.