Credit Suisse adds to private equity team

Steven Kwok, who was formerly with Bear Stearns, will focus on Greater China, while Sokho Jung moves across from Standard Chartered to oversee Korea.
Credit Suisse has made two new additions to its private equity arm, hiring Steven Kwok from Bear Stearns Private Equity and Sokho Jung from Standard Chartered Private Equity. Kwok will oversee activities in Greater China, while Jung will take charge of Korea. Both join Credit Suisse Private Equity Asia (CSPEA) as managing directors and will be responsible for originating and advising on private equity opportunities.

Kwok and Jung will be based in Hong Kong and will report directly to Harjit Bhatia, head of CSPEA, who noted in a release announcing the hires that Asia-Pacific continues to be an area of growth and focus for Credit Suisse in terms of private equity.

The hires are interesting as they show that the current credit crisis and shortage of financing havenÆt dampened the desire by investment banks to expand in private equity and that they intend for it to remain a key part of their future business strategy. Aside from making investments on its own account, Credit SuisseÆs private equity division does, however, also provide advisory to external financial sponsors. The firm took a major step forward in the sector 18 months ago when it hired a team of six private equity specialists from Ritchie Capital Management, including Bhatia who was previously chairman and CEO at Richie in Asia.

At Bear Stearns, which was acquired by J.P. Morgan earlier this year in a US government-aided bailout, Kwok was a senior managing director and head of the Eagle China Retail and Consumer Fund. Prior to that, he was a managing director at Orchid Asia, an independent private equity fund focused on China. He has also worked at UBS Capital in Hong Kong as head of Greater China which meant he was responsible for building and managing the firmÆs investment business in this region, specifically in the areas of deal origination, due diligence, investment process and portfolio management for Greater China growth capital investments.

Other past employers of Kwok's include: the Carlyle Group, where he was involved in sourcing and investing in expansion stage companies in Greater China; and Salomon Brothers in New York and Hong Kong.

Jung has been head of Korea at Standard Chartered since 2002 and also led the firmÆs buyout practice, which covers key Asian markets. Before joining the UK bank, he led the distressed asset investment team at Lone Star Advisors Korea and he has also worked as a senior investment officer at GIC Special Investment, the private equity arm of the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.

According to the Credit Suisse release, Jung is one of the earliest entrants in the Korean private equity market and he also has experience from a diverse range of financial positions, including public equity portfolio management at Pacific Gemini Partners, auditing at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in the US and credit analysis and structured finance at Bankers Trust in Korea.

CSPEA has teams in Hong Kong and Mumbai and is part of Credit Suisse Alternative Investments, a global alternative asset manager with a 20-year history that aside from private equity is also involved in hedge funds, leveraged investments, quantitative strategies and volatility management. CSAI runs a diverse range of private equity funds, such as leveraged buyout funds, mezzanine funds, core and opportunity real estate funds, secondary funds and private equity fund of funds businesses. It has over $155 billion in managed assets, which, according to its own account, makes it one of the worldÆs largest managers of alternatives.
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