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The crocodiles are coming

Economist – Eric Wong, who helps run his Hong Kong family’s money through an investment office, TCG Capital, looks like a hedge-fund manager’s dream. He’s rich, young and, having been to university there, comfortable with American ways—just the type of investor that Western hedge funds looking for Asian expansion have set their sights on. He is not, however, very interested. Real estate is the “best pension plan my family ever had,” he says. Why change?

Where they are not greeted with apathy, Asia-minded hedge funds often face antipathy. Since the financial crisis of the late 1990s “fund” has been a four-letter word throughout Asia. George Soros, a famous hedge-fund investor, is still reviled for aggravating and profiting from the crisis. When the Chinese refer to hedge funds as ju e, or “big crocodiles”, it is not by way of a compliment on their killer instincts.

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