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Singapore IAM adds Dubai & digital assets to business mix

Thierry Beck has been busy diversifying his independent setup to tap into another key market meant to expand his client base over the coming years, as well as venture into an investment opportunity that has gained a lot in popularity.


Headquartered in Singapore, SingAlliance — which manages more than US$1 billion — recently opened a representative office in Dubai, following the approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority. The expansion comes after the independent asset manager expanded with a subsidiary office in Geneva in 2017 and in Hong Kong in 2020.


Expansion is always at the top of Beck’s mind. “As we grow, we are looking all the time to opportunistically expand, and hire more people on the relationship management and asset management sides,” he shared.


The firm launched the Draco Digital Opportunities Fund that invests across digital assets. Since inception in May 2020, the US$20 million fund managed by portfolio manager Derek Wong has returned 71.03%.


For group CEO Beck, these developments mean constantly reinventing himself and investing in the future. Digital assets, for example, offer exposure to developments in new technologies such as blockchain.


“In the case of the Middle East, we wanted to be part of a regulated entity on the same level of affiliates…because there is a lot of concentration of wealth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC),” he told Asian Private Banker, referring to the regional alliance of six Middle Eastern countries — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

Marketing in Dubai

Beck has noticed more entrepreneurs from Asia and Europe setting up companies and moving their families to the UAE. “There are more than 100 international schools in the UAE and plenty of facilities for international people. So, it’s more simple to have a presence over there to meet them,” he explained.


With an office in Dubai, SingAlliance will be able to promote its service capabilities in the region, plus hire local talent. Discretionary asset management, custody services, insurance planning, and legal and tax planning are among the wealth management services it offers.


As part of its expansion, the firm has welcomed Nikolaos Koutsoukos as its newly appointed CEO and principal representative for the Dubai office. Koutsoukos was most recently managing director at EFG International in Dubai where he was responsible for business development in the Middle East region.

Prior to that, he was a desk head at the Bank of Singapore where he led the MENA and South Europe client coverage activities. He also served as director at Mirabaud Dubai and Barclays Wealth & Investment Management Dubai covering UHNWI clients.


Koutsoukos’ responsibility is “to help with the networking and hunting of new clients who are eager to invest in Asia. While all the operations will be done out of SingAlliance’s Singapore office, clients can be onsite and book assets in Asia,” Beck explained.


“In other words, the Dubai office is simply to do the marketing presentation of the services we offer from Singapore,” he said.

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On the asset management side, SingAlliance runs about five fixed income and equity funds with the Draco Digital Opportunities Fund being the latest launch. The strategy provides long and short exposures to digital assets. Its year-to-date return is 3.46%.


“We wanted to establish a fund where we are agnostic whether it is on the long and short side,” Beck continued. “And we wanted to build a fund which is liquid where clients can enter and exit every week without any mismatch of liquidity.”

The fund is run via a software platform called PRISM. It was developed by Golden Compass Quantitative Research (GCQR), a Singaporean fintech startup launched in 2017. SingAlliance acquired the PRISM technology in 2019, and GCQR’s co-founder Wong joined the firm as a portfolio manager.


By Asian Private Banker: