Morgan Stanley moves event to US

Annual capital introductions forum relocated from Shanghai on concern over bird flu

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 2:51am

Morgan Stanley will hold a gathering in New York to promote Asian hedge funds to investors after pulling its capital introductions event in China because of the bird flu, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

Morgan Stanley said last month the annual forum scheduled for Shanghai from May 21 to 23 would be held instead in New York in July because of health concerns after the avian flu outbreak this year, said the people, who asked not to be named as the information is private.

Xu Li, a Beijing-based spokeswoman of Morgan Stanley, declined to comment on the delay.

The response reflects international concern about the new virus, which has killed more than a quarter of the people known to have been infected.

Some investors and managers declined to travel to Shanghai, said two of the people.

Thirty-three cases of the H7N9 avian flu - 13 of them fatal - have been reported in Shanghai, according to the municipal government. No new cases have been reported there since the middle of last month, a week after the authorities imposed restrictions on live poultry sales.

The disease is known to have infected 131 people in China since March and killed 36 of them. It is capable of being spread from human to human, scientists at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing, and the University of Hong Kong said earlier this month after a study.

The Asian industry has struggled to recover assets lost during the global financial crisis in 2008 as investors have become more risk-reverse and prefer large managers. Hedge funds focused on the region oversaw a combined US$139 billion at the end of last year, 27 per cent less than the end-2007 level, according to AsiaHedge data.

Globally, assets hit a record US$2.4 trillion by March, 27 per cent above the 2007 figure, according to Hedge Fund Research.

This was the first time Morgan Stanley had to move the event out of the region since it began hosting it in China in 2005, said one of the people.

In most years, it took place in Shanghai, home to the country's largest stock exchange, except on two occasions when it was held in Beijing and in Hong Kong, the person said.

About 60 Asian-focused hedge funds were typically featured at the conference, the person said.

Morgan Stanley has dominated Asia's prime-brokerage market with Goldman Sachs Group. The two companies commanded a combined 28 per cent of the mandates awarded by regional hedge funds to prime brokers to provide services such as trade settlement, cash and securities lending, according to a survey by trade journal AsiaHedge released earlier this month.

Capital introductions teams at prime brokers link hedge funds with potential investors.