Exodus from NY, London to Asian HFs

By Chidem Kurdas, July 15, 2008--(http://www.hedgeworld.com/blog/?p=121)--In the past week I’ve heard bad news from several friends in the financial industry. Their jobs are gone or going. These are topnotch professionals—highly skilled, capable and conscientious. They are, of course, part of a big crowd. Thousands are being let go by financial firms in New York and London. Many of these people came from Asia in the brain drain to advanced economies. Large numbers of them may now go back home—and start hedge funds there. “Money is moving away from developed countries,” says Raju Panjwani. “Big funds of funds and pensions are looking ahead and they’re interested in Asia. So people will move back.”

Mr. Panjwani founded Epitome Global Services, a fund administrator based in Mumbai, India, in 2005. Before that, he was a managing director at Morgan Stanley in New York and established Morgan Stanley’s asset management, investment banking and other businesses in India.

In short, he has ample experience in both worlds. “Talent will find the right place,” he says. “There’s a shift of both capital and people around the world.” The nascent Indian hedge fund industry stands to be a major beneficiary of the reverse brain drain. Some of the mobile talent looks to raise funds in that country. Institutional money seeks Asian hedge funds. Mr. Panjwani’s prediction will come full circle when the twain meet.