VERY little is known of Bridge Partners, a Hong Kong-based firm that holds in its hands some US$2.3bil (RM7.4bil) of 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) funds.
The funds were invested via Brazen Sky Ltd, 1MDB’s unit registered in the Cayman Islands in a segregated portfolio fund.
Although managed from Hong Kong, the custodian of the funds is a Swiss private bank.
The US$2.3bil funds are invested in six unlisted open-ended funds. According to Bloomberg, the six funds are focused mainly on the energy sector.
Data shown by Bloomberg states that the year-to-date return for all the six funds stands at 5.76%, slightly below its peers’return at 6.39%.
Meanwhile, its current management fee is 0.7%, Bloomberg data shows.
According to its website, Bridge Partners offers financial services to institutional and corporate clients, which include asset management, investment advisory, corporate finance, fund raising, and business consultation among others.
Its clients span across North America, Europe, South-East Asia and China, consisting of institutions, public-listed companies and private corporates.
However, unlike several bigger financial services firms such as Affinity Equity Partners and Baring Private Equity Asia, which are also based in Hong Kong, Bridge Partners’ website lacks key information such as its management, track record and assets under management.
According to reports, Bridge Partners is headed by managing director Lobo Lee Kwok Ning, who has some 20 years of experience in equity investments and derivatives.
He was previously senior vice-president of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. Bridge Partners also has two other directors.
Its specialisation, Bridge Partners says, is in off-shore private funds on both listed equities and private equities.
It manages a number of absolute return funds with diversified strategies, which is what 1MDB’s investments are in.
It also advises on new set-ups, fund structuring and asset restructuring.
Its investors include pension funds, banks, family offices and fund of funds, geographically from North America, Europe and Asia.
Although Bridge Partners boasts of superior risk adjusted returns for over eight years, there are no details on its track records.
Apart from asset management, the company also provides corporate finance services, which include fund raising exercises, mergers and acquisitions, financial and independent financial advisory, and corporate restructuring as well as rescue projects.
It has about 70 recent major deals listed on its website from 2008 onwards.
Based on 1MDB’s latest financial documents for the year ended March 31, 2013, its auditors were unable to determine details on the US$2.3bil investment.
This could be due to a non-disclosure clause in 1MDB’s agreement with Bridge Partners.
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