Asian Alternative Investments Network presses ahead with expansion plans in financial sectors: London and New York group links East and West
By James Brewer
Creating bridges between East and West – that is the prime aim of a flourishing networking group in London focused on selected financial sector specialities.
Asian Alternative Investments Network (AAIN), a voluntary industry association, is entering a new stage: it already has more than 250 specialist professionals on its books in London, around 50 in its New York offshoot, and is ready for further expansion.
Open to men and women working in the alternative investments sector, AAIN has already taken a big step forward this year by launching a sister group in New York.
It has been estimated that some 40% of people employed in the sector in London have Asian connections: either coming from Japan, China, South Korea, India and other centres on the continent, or through their trading relationships with Asia.
The network addresses the concern that, just as in other sectors of finance and commerce, people tend to move in their familiar national circles, rather than reaching out beyond the clusters.
“Our aim is to connect professionals and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and insights, in order to promote better understanding of different cultures, markets, and regulatory frameworks, ” says Tomoko Kenny, who founded the network in 2007. “Whilst our main focus is alternative investments in general, we have Asia as the secondary connecting factor.” Ms Kenny has extensive experience in financial product launch and strategic marketing and distribution with multinational organisations. She currently advises hedge funds and other financial firms
The not-for-profit network is open to a range of practitioners including fund managers; executives in investor relations, marketing, business and product development; wealth managers; representatives of family offices; fund consultants; brokers; legal and accountancy firms; people involved in selected aspects of ship finance; and academics.
Courtesy of varying sponsors, the group meets regularly in central London for educational and networking events, and participates in industry seminars and conferences.
Events to date have included presentations and discussions on the Japanese market, the global financial crisis, the Indian fixed income market, wine investment, wealth management tax, the new UK regulatory framework, wealth and resources funds, European property and themed investment. There was a fund raising evening in response to the disastrous effects of the 2011 Japanese tsunami,
New York has already had three meetings, with the subjects including investing in hedge funds, and global mergers and acquisitions.
The latest London meeting, scheduled for October 15 2012, will feature a talk on macroeconomics and gold as a commodity.
In tune with the group’s motto of “member helps members”, AAIN is about to launch a group for MBA and MSc in Finance students in London. This is to help students to gain practical knowledge of alternative investments and peripheral industries, and to offer careers advice. Some of the top UK business schools are showing interest in collaborating with this project.
More information is available at www.AAIN.co.uk