Back to skool! Paul Smith named head of CFA for Asia
24 Aug 2012
Paul Smith, doyen of the Hong Kong alternative investment community, is following in the footsteps of Aristotle and Wittgenstein, and joining the donnish world of education. Smith has been named Managing Director of Asia Pacific Operations for the CFA Institute and starts that job in October. He will be overseeing an office of 50 people in the region and is taking over the role from Ashvin Vibhakar.
Smith joins from Triple A Partners, the firm he set up five years ago to source capital and provide seeding for hedge funds in Asia. Smith has confirmed to IPA that Triple A, more formally known as Asia Alternative Asset Partners, will continue "under new management, though not necessarily under new ownership". He is currently talking to two people whose names were not disclosed, about their assuming his mantle. Ongoing ownership of the firm is still undecided.
Smith will have two main duties at the CFA Institute. Firstly, he will strive to develop the examination series that the institute offers, and promote the qualification to Asian universities and other educational establishments. Smith incidentally has passed the intellectually demanding Chartered Financial Analyst exams himself, and sports the ‘CFA' letters after his name.
Secondly, he will participate on advocacy issues in debates in which the CFA seeks to participate.
"CFA is keen to have a louder voice on the ethical issues that have arisen in recent years," says Smith, who himself has seldom been shy to offer a strident voice of reason on investment issues. "We want to reinforce the idea that markets should ultimately function for the benefit of end-investors, rather than the money managers."
In bygone days, Smith worked for the asset servicing division of HSBC and Bank of Bermuda. He also had a spell as board member for the Alternative Investment Management Association.
Author: Simon Osborne