Apollo Asia Fund 

Claire Barnes

Claire Barnes has been learning about equity investment for four decades, often the hard way. For all but the first two years, she has focussed on Asia. She has lived in India, Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Australia, and worked in markets from Pakistan to Papua New Guinea.

After graduating in mathematics from Clare College, Cambridge, and having a diving accident which foiled plans to spend more time in maritime archaeology on the Mary Rose, she had the great fortune to join the best investment research team of the day, under James Fergusson at James Capel in London. By the time she was allowed to dive again two years later, the investment game had become addictive, as had the growth and fast change of Asia. (The tropical water has some merit too, with its attractions doubled by the remarkable archaeological discoveries now being made therein. See the two websites Maritime Asia and Maritime Lanka. Other projects have been with the biologists at Operation Wallacea in Sulawesi; with the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Oman; excavating King Herod's extraordinary harbour of Caesarea Maritima; and at Liman Tepe, south of Troy.)

From 1981 to 1987 she worked for W.I.Carr (Overseas), setting up their research operation for Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand - based in Malaysia, where WICO was then the only foreign brokerage represented – and subsequently for Australia, with a brief spell in Japan. She spent a further six years with BZW, from 1987 to 1992, establishing their investment research for Asia-ex-Japan, with a ten-country network ranging from Korea to Indonesia and from India to the Philippines. (During this time, she reluctantly turned down an offer to work instead with a congenial group of dolphins in Hawaii. Visitors to Hong Kong are recommended to see the amazing - and very endangered - Pearl River pink dolphins.)

From 1993 to 1997 she ran her own consultancy businesses in Hong Kong and in India, with clients including Arco, D.E. Shaw, Fidelity Investment Management, GK Goh Securities, Hambrecht & Quist, the International Securities Consultancy, Jardine Fleming, John Govett, Schroder Investment Management, and Soc-Gen Crosby. Work was undertaken in Korea, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, as well as on pan-regional assignments.  A book on investment management in Asia, Asia’s Investment Prophets, was published by Random House in 1995.

In 1997, correctly identifying some of the stresses in global financial markets (although mostly in the wrong order), and desiring to regain control of her own investment portfolio, she returned to South-East Asia in time to watch the Asian Financial Crisis unfold, and investments then led to the launch of Apollo Asia Fund.

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