Investments in Asia Forum: Has Asia Reached its Full Potential?


Asia has long been a favorite investment destination for institutional investors. Investment hubs like Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo have served as centers of financial excellence for fund managers, hedge funds, private equity and venture capitalists. However new regulations and impediments from the West, with various colorful acronyms, have made it more difficult to be a successful asset owner and asset manager in Asia.

To discuss this new era in investing, we have gathered a world-class group of investment managers in Asia from across the asset class spectrum to discuss the trends, encumbrances and the rash of new OECD regulations on funds affecting Asian managers. The forum will also explore the applied research partnerships between academia and the financial industry amongst other pertinent issues.

The Forum is a follow-on to the highly successful Investments in Asia Forum supported by ABFER, which was held in 2013.


Event Details

6:15 pm

Panel Chair:
Joseph Cherian (National University of Singapore)

Timothy Zee (PAG)
Michael Syn (Singapore Exchange Limited)
Charles Lee (Standford University)
Liew Tzu Mi (GIC)
Madhabi Puri Buch (Agora Advisory)

7:30 pm
Keynote Speech and Gala Dinner

Welcome Speech by: Tan Chorh Chuan (National University of Singaore)
Keynote Speech by: Michael Spence (New York University)

9:30 pm

Panelists and Moderator

  • Mr. Timothy Zee

    Mr. Timothy Zee


    Managing Director, PAG Asia Capital

    Timothy Zee joined Singapore-based PAG Asia Capital in December 2011 and is responsible for advising on private equity investments in industry leading businesses for PAG Asia Capital, a pan-Asia private equity fund manager, led by Weijian Shan. Mr Zee is a former investment banker with over 20 years experience.

    Before joining PAG in December 2011, he was Managing Director and Head of Asia Pacific Real Estate and Head of Hong Kong Investment Banking with a global investment bank completing landmark listings including AIA Group Limited in Hong Kong and Hutchison Port Holdings Trust in Singapore. Prior to that, Mr Zee held senior positions with major global financial institutions including GE Capital, Salomon Smith Barney and Barclays Capital.

    Mr Zee holds a BBA in Finance and International Business from The University of Texas at Austin and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Mr Zee is also a member of the Adjunct Faculty of Finance at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University. He also serves on the L.P. Advisory Committee of HealthpointCapital, a New York-based orthopedic devices private equity firm.

  • Dr. Michael Syn

    Dr. Michael Syn


    Senior Vice President and Head of Derivatives, Singapore Exchange

    Michael Syn is Senior Vice President and Head of Derivatives at Singapore Exchange. He leads SGX's growth in the trading and distribution of derivatives, building on its position as an award-winning derivatives exchange.

    Syn joined SGX from DBS Asset Management, where he oversaw the regional management of the firm as Chief Operating Officer. He brings with him leadership and business development experience in investment banking and investment management. He holds an MA and PhD from Cambridge University.

  • Professor Charles M. C. Lee

    Professor Charles M. C. Lee


    Joseph McDonald Professor of Accounting, Stanford University and Co-Founder, Nipun Capital

    Charles M. C. Lee is the Joseph McDonald Professor of Accounting at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. He is also Co-Chair of the Accounting Department at the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, and the Wee Cho Yaw Visiting Fellow in the Department of Accounting, NUS Business School in January 2013. Professor Lee has been a faculty member at the University of Michigan Business School, the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor in Management and Director of the Parker Center for Investment Research at Johnson at Cornell University, where he received his PhD in 1990, and Visiting Economist at the New York Stock Exchange.

    Professor Lee was also Managing Director at Barclays Global Investors (BGI), which prior to becoming a part of BlackRock, was the largest institutional asset management firm in the world. As Global Head of Equity Research and Co-Head of North America Active Equity Strategies at BGI, Professor Lee had responsibility for US$300 billion in assets, and led the firm's world-wide active equity research team. One who is considered a pioneer in the field of quantitative investing, Professor Lee was also jointly responsible for BGI's North American active equity business and its flagship hedge fund. He currently serves as a founding partner of Nipun Capital, a boutique asset management firm that manages an Asian long/short equity market neutral strategy, which targets to deliver 10-12% returns with low volatility.

    Professor Lee's research spans financial statement analysis, equity valuation, behavioural finance, and market microstructure. His research on market efficiency and informational arbitrage has won numerous honours and awards, and is widely published in leading academic journals. His teaching honours include two Business Week Four-Star Citations on Teaching Excellence. Most recently, his research interests have encompassed the investment environment in China and regulatory oversight of Chinese security markets. In his early career, he spent five years in public accounting, the last three in the National Research Department of KPMG (Canada). Professor Lee also holds a Certificate in Biblical Studies from Ontario Theological Seminary, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

  • Ms Liew Tzu Mi

    Ms Liew Tzu Mi


    Managing Director, Head of Global Macro and Deputy Head of Fixed Income, GIC

    Liew Tzu Mi is a Managing Director at the GIC. She is currently the Deputy Head of Fixed Income. In this role, she assists in charting the longer term business plan, build new capabilities and drive investment performance in the various strategies in Fixed Income. She is also concurrently the Head of Global Macro team in Fixed Income and serves as a member of the Investment Committee of the department. The Global Macro team manages 3 key products - Fixed Income Total Return, Government Bonds and Global Inflation-linked Bonds.

    Since joining the GIC in 1998, Ms Liew spent many years in Global Emerging Markets team and Global Sector Rotation team in She was responsible for the Emerging Markets business in Fixed Income and Foreign Exchange between 2008 and 2010. She also headed up the Macro Research and Strategy team at its inception in 2011 in the department. She is a member of China Business Group, and Currency and Risk Management Group in the GIC.

    Ms Liew was awarded GIC scholarship and graduated with a BA (Hon.) First Class in Engineering from Cambridge University, UK, as well as a Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University, USA. She is a CFA charter holder and has completed the INSEAD Advanced Management Programme in 2014.

  • Ms Madhabi Puri Buch

    Ms Madhabi Puri Buch


    Director, Agora Partners

    Madhabi Puri Buch heads Agora Partners, a young start-up focussed on Data Analytics and Technology solutions for Financial Inclusion. The company has developed a range of Augmented Credit Decisioning Tools to help banks lend to small farmers and micro enterprises. Previously Madhabi headed the Singapore office of Greater Pacific Capital, a London based Private Equity Firm. Prior to that, she was the Chief Executive Officer of ICICI Securities, a leading investment banking firm in India.

    Prior to that she was an executive director on the board of ICICI Bank, India's largest private sector bank. She served on various industry level committees and in a non-executive capacity on the boards of the Group's Private Equity firm and Asset Management Company Trust. Today she is a non-executive director on the boards of Idea Cellular and NIIT. An MBA from IIM Ahmedabad and an alumnus of St Stephen's College, Delhi, Madhabi is also the founder of a small foundation that undertakes fund raising for grassroot NGOs.

  • Professor Joseph Cherian (Moderator)

    Professor Joseph Cherian (Moderator)


    Practice Professor of Finance and Director of Centre for Asset Management and Research & Investments (CAMRI), National University of Singapore

    Joseph Cherian is Practice Professor of Finance and Director of the Centre for Asset Management Research & Investments (CAMRI) at NUS Business School. He was formerly an Executive-in-Residence at Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management, where he remains a two-term member of the Johnson Dean's Advisory Council. Prior to that, Joe was Managing Director, Global Head, and CIO of the Quantitative Strategies Group within Credit Suisse Alternative Investments in New York, where he had direct responsibility for over US$67 billion in client assets managed to a quantitative discipline.

    While at Credit Suisse, Joe also served on the Global Executive Committee and various senior management, investments, and risk committees of the Asset Management division. Joe joined Credit Suisse in 2004 from Banc of America Capital Management, also in New York, where he was Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager of their asset allocation funds. Previously, he was an Associate Professor of Finance at Boston University. He has authored numerous articles for financial journals, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Nipun Capital, a boutique hedge fund based in San Francisco, and Orissa Group, a pioneer in the development and dissemination of liquidity-based data and analytical products across multiple asset classes, based in Boston. Joe was recently appointed to the National Research Foundation's Early Stage Venture Fund Evaluation Panel in Singapore, and the Journal of Alternative Investments' Editorial Board.

    He formerly served as a review board member of the Research Foundation of the CFA Institute, and on the Scientific Advisory Boards of net Decide Corp. and SKG Inc. Joe holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Finance from Cornell University.

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Welcome Speech

  • Professor Tan Chorh Chuan

    Professor Tan Chorh Chuan


    President of the National University of Singapore

    Tan Chorh Chuan was appointed President of the National University of Singapore in December 2008. He concurrently serves as the Chairman of the Board of the National University Health System. Prof Tan's additional appointments include Deputy Chairman of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR); Senior Advisor to the Governing Board of Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School; and Member, Board of Directors of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

    A renal physician, he obtained his medical training at NUS, and research training at the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford. He was Dean of the NUS Faculty of Medicine from 1997 to 2000. He served as the Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, from 2000 to 2004, in which capacity he was responsible for leading the public health response to the 2003 SARS epidemic. He held the positions of NUS Provost, then Senior Deputy President from 2004 to 2008. He also played a key role in setting up the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, in his capacity as Deputy Chairman of the Governing Board from 2004 to 2007. As the inaugural Chief Executive of the National University Health System in 2008, he brought the NUS Medical and Dental Schools and the National University Hospital under single governance.

    Prof Tan is a key leader in Singapore's Biomedical Sciences Initiative since its inception in 2000, for which he was awarded the National Science and Technology Medal in 2008. He also received the Public Service Star in 2003 for outstanding contributions to overcoming SARS in Singapore, and the Public Administration Gold Medal in 2004 for his work as Director of Medical Services in the Ministry of Health. Other awards include the Dr John Yu Medal from the George Institute for Global Health, Australia; the Albert Schweitzer Gold Medal from the Polish Academy of Medicine; Honorary Doctor of Medicine from King's College; Honorary Doctor of Science from Duke University; Honorary Doctor of Science from Loughborough University; Achievement Medal from the Singapore Society of Nephrology and the 1996 Singapore Youth Award.

    Prof Tan, who has been a member of the World Economic Forum's Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) since 2008, was appointed Chair of GULF in 2014 for a two-year term. He also sits on the World Economic Forum's Science Advisory Committee. He was the Chairperson of the International Alliance of Research Universities, a consortium of 10 leading research-intensive universities from 2008 - 2012.

    Prof Tan was previously a Commonwealth Medical Fellow, Wellcome Fellow, University of Oxford, and a Visiting Scholar to Wolfson College, Oxford. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, Royal College of Physicians of London, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the American College of Physicians, elected Fellow of the Polish Academy of Medicine and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, UK.

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Keynote Speaker

What we are learning about Sustainable and Defective Growth Patterns: Experience in Developed and Developing countries

  • Professor Michael Spence

    Professor Michael Spence


    William R. Berkley Professor in Economics & Business

    Michael Spence joined New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business as a professor of economics in September 2010. He is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Philip H. Knight Professor Emeritus of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

    Professor Spence, whose scholarship focuses on economic policy in emerging markets, the economics of information, and the impact of leadership on economic growth, was chairman of the independent Commission on Growth and Development (2006 - 2010), a global policy group focused on strategies for producing rapid and sustainable economic growth, and reducing poverty. He also serves as a senior adviser at Jasper Ridge Partners in California, and as a member of the board of the Stanford Management Company as well as a number of public and private companies. He is the Chairman of the Academic Council of the Fung Global Institute in Hong Kong.

    A Rhodes Scholar and the recipient of many honors and awards, Professor Spence was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001 and the John Bates Clark Medal from the American Economics Association in 1981. He is the author of three books and 50 articles, and is a member of the American Economic Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Econometric Society.

    Professor Spence served as Philip H. Knight Professor and dean of the Stanford Business School from 1990 to 1999. Before that, he was a professor of economics and business administration at Harvard University, chairman of its economics department, and dean of its Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

    Professor Spence earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1972, a B.A./M.A. from Oxford University in 1968 and a B.A. (summa cum laude) from Princeton University in 1966.

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