CLSA expands access for Asia’s rich to unicorn tech investments

Photo by Chronis Yan on Unsplash

Demand among Asia’s rich for tech investments has led Hong Kong-based broker CLSA to offer private bank clients the first broad access to unlisted so-called “unicorns” via fast-growing secondary markets.

Traditionally, unlisted companies including unicorns – private companies with a value of more than $1 billion – have been the preserve of private equity and other big fund managers who could bet hundreds of millions on individual companies.

But the growth of unofficial secondary markets to trade small slivers of those unlisted stocks offers an opportunity for smaller investors, according to CLSA, the international arm of Chinese state-owned Citic Securities.

CLSA will provide the wealthy, through their private banks, exposure to a diverse set of unicorns via various formats, including private investment funds and managed accounts, among other options.

CLSA says it is the first to offer such diverse access to private companies so widely in Asia.

“Investing in this asset class has traditionally involved sizeable commitments, high concentration risk – and high fees,” said Jeremy Collard, CLSA‘s head of structured investments.

“The fast-evolving market for private secondaries now enables us to build broad and diversified portfolios.”

Private companies have typically carefully controlled their shareholder registers, but pressure has grown to allow more trading because so many are staying private for longer than previously anticipated, delaying shareholders, including employees, the chance to capitalise via an initial public offering.

CLSA is partnering with Gateway Private Markets, a Hong Kong-based firm specialising in secondary market trades, to provide access to the shares.

CLSA‘s move comes, however, as start-ups and unicorns globally face challenges amid the coronavirus outbreak that has paralysed businesses and economies.

Valuations of several Chinese unicorns in secondary market trades have this year fallen below the levels reached in the firms’ most-recent fundraising rounds.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.