Regional Placement Veteran Edward Greene is launching Diamond Dragon Advisors, Asia’s !rst locally headquartered private equity placement agent and advisory firm with a global reach, with offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai, and soon to open in Sydney.
Diamond Dragon, which currently has eight staff, has been preparing for launch for some time but now has passed its initial hurdles with registration by Hong Kong’s SFC. “I wanted to create the first Asian-based GP advisory and placement firm,” Greene tells AVCJ of his plans for the company.
Dedicated local placement agents have grown up in Australia, which is home to firms such as Principle Advisory Services, and a few global firms, such as Probitas, have additionally established offices in Asia. Greene created Diamond Dragon partly drawing on his experience after setting up CP Eaton’s Shanghai division. However, as Greene emphasizes, “there is no Asian-based placement firm that has a global reach … there was a very real void.”
Diamond Dragon will lever of a global alliance for worldwide execution with Threadmark LLP in Europe and Madison Williams & Co. in North America, both founded by former CP Eaton personnel. Greene will lead the firm as Chairman from Hong Kong, serving both Asian and Western GPs, and developing deep local relationships with the emerging Asian LPs.
Dennis Montecillo, formerly with Morgan Stanley and the family office of the Ayala Group in the Philippines, has also joined as CEO and Senior MD. Linda Lee, formerly a founding partner of Kathy Xu at Capital Today, assumes the role of CFO, while Joan Tan, formerly with Shanghainese PE-focused corporate advisory firm New Access Capital, as well as JPMorgan and Paine Webber, becomes MD in Shanghai. Alex Edwards, a former colleague at CP Eaton, will head up the !rm’s Sydney office as MD.
Diamond Dragon’s thesis as a placement agent centers on a relatively small number of key clients, taken a few at a time, in strictly non-competitive practice areas. In the case of RMB and USD funds in areas such as growth equity, this extends across currencies. “Whether that’s a USD fund or RMB, we will consider that as the same space,” Greene tells AVCJ. As well as pure placement, Greene adds, that the !rm will “have an advisory line of business where we help GPs get ready for the global marketplace, but we don’t necessarily represent them.” “We’re building our business model to be fully aligned with the demands of Asia,” Greene concludes, adding that he welcomes the advent of other global placement specialists in the region to help build the discipline and the industry. “Emerging markets are where the growth is, and Asia is the driving force in risk/return opportunity.”
– Number 28 | Volume 23 | July 27 2010 | avcj.com