Letter from Singapore (Part One)

In our second visit to Asia this month, we again found both variety and vitality of interest among managers and investors in private markets.

Two stellar industry conferences in Singapore, the PDI’s APAC Forum and Asian Private Banker’s Alternatives in Focus, headlined speakers from top global and regional shops. Attendees were, at PDI’s event, leading institutional investors, and for APB, a concentration of private wealth firms. Topics ranged from private credit, to real estate, infrastructure, and distressed debt.

APAC’s opening keynote set the tone for the discussions. Chen Khai Lim of the Monetary Authority of Singapore spoke of the importance of “supporting the growth of the private credit eco-system.” He also outlined the challenges. Similar to Europe, Southeast Asia comprises different countries with varying legal frameworks and regulatory sophistication.

And banks remain the dominant provider of leveraged loans, representing 75% of the market. But the region is affluent with a growing middle class and (in contrast to Japan) a younger population. China provides a significant share of the economic growth, a factor that mitigates some of the concerns around that nation’s approach to foreign private ownership.