StormHarbour and Asuka DBJ pair up in Japan

StormHarbour announces that Asuka DBJ Partners has become a strategic investor in its Japan securities firm.

In the latest example of boutiques pairing up and strengthening their offerings in the region, Japan’s Asuka DBJ Partners has bought an 8% equity stake in StormHarbour Japan, which is the Tokyo-based securities arm of financial advisory firm StormHarbour, an independent global markets and financial advisory firm.

The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but it is a marriage of niche players.

Launched in December 2010 under the leadership of Michimasa Naka as chief executive officer, StormHarbour Japan bills itself as the only independent boutique securities firm operating in the country that has access to global financial markets through a network of international affiliate offices across seven countries.

The StormHarbour Japan team provides institutional investors, companies and high-net-worth clients in Japan with specialist advice and services in sales and trading, structuring and advisory, and capital markets, across fixed-income, equities and alternative investment products.

StormHarbour was founded in 2009, at a time when many boutiques were springing up across the world as the financial crisis unfolded and multinational banks became less busy, and less fun to work for. It now has more than 200 professionals and affiliate offices currently in the major financial centres of New York, London, Geneva, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and also has a branch in Copenhagen. As a core part of StormHarbour Partners’ global business, the Tokyo team performs a critical role in channelling capital to and from Japan.

Asuka DBJ Partners, meanwhile, is a private investment firm established in 2005 as a joint venture between Development Bank of Japan, a 100% government-owned bank that has long supported companies and projects through equity and debt investments, and Asuka Asset Management, an independent investment management company in Japan.

Asuka DBJ Partners mainly invests in companies and projects in growth sectors in Japan, China and other parts of Asia, but says it also provides unique investment opportunities for Japanese and global investors in value investment sectors in Japan.

The deal, while small in comparison, is yet another example of boutiques pairing up to be better able to compete. Earlier this month, Evercore Partners bought Lexicon Partners for £86 million ($141 million) in a deal that brought together two boutique investment banks with strengths on different continents.

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