(Bloomberg) -- Bobby Jain’s new hedge fund firm is expected to have more than 30 employees in Asia by the time it starts trading in July, experimenting with a management model that gives local leaders control over key functions like hiring and risk, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The hires, about equally split between Singapore and Hong Kong, will include more than 10 portfolio managers, the person said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. 

Jain Global LLC has signed a permanent lease for a premier office in Singapore’s Central Business District that can seat 40, and is scheduled to move there in September, the person said. It plans to secure a long-term lease for a similar-sized Hong Kong office this month, the person added.

A spokeswoman for the New York-based firm declined to comment.

Jain, a former Millennium Management co-chief investment officer, aims to raise $5 billion in one of the largest hedge fund starts globally in years. His firm’s entrance in Asia will intensify competition in a region where multi-strategy, multi-manager firms are locked in a war for talent.

Jain Global’s early hires for portfolio manager roles include Alan Ng, a Japan-focused equity arbitrage, event-driven and special situations investor who worked for Perry Capital, Asia Research & Capital Management Ltd. and Segantii Capital Management Ltd. Zhang Yang, formerly of Squarepoint Capital, will join as a systematic trading portfolio manager in Singapore. BlueCrest Capital Management alumnus Amir Ravan has signed on as a commodities portfolio manager focused on precious metals, Bloomberg reported earlier. 

Asia will be run like a distinct business with local leadership, the person said. Globally, the firm’s other six businesses center on investment strategies: fundamental stock picking, equity arbitrage, commodities, rates and macro, credit and systematic trading, the person added. Jain Global plans to employ all six of the strategies in Asia.

Sam Kellie-Smith, the Asia-Pacific chief executive and chief investment officer, will supervise and mentor all regional portfolio managers, said the person. Kellie-Smith held various management roles at Morgan Stanley after joining the Wall Street bank in 1997, including chairing its global markets division, running global equities trading and overseeing the fixed-income and commodities business. He is no stranger to the region, having helmed Asia equities trading out of Hong Kong earlier in his career. 

Global firms including Millennium and Citadel are vying for a smaller pool of Asia hedge fund talent with regional peers such as Polymer Capital Management and Dymon Asia Capital. 

Adding to the competition, another new firm Arrowpoint Investment Partners is expected to start trading in the third quarter. The Asia-focused multi-strategy, multi-manager hedge fund will be led by Jonathan Xiong, a former Millennium regional co-chief executive officer, with backing from Blackstone Inc.

Jain Global is bucking the approach of global peers that tended to operate elsewhere for years before expanding to Asia. Also, with the exception of equities, the dominant business in the region, investors trading for those firms usually report to strategy heads located elsewhere who retain control over matters such as hiring and risk. By building an Asia operation as a core business at inception, Jain Global is making a rare departure from this “bolt-on” approach.

Among other senior regional executives are:

Asian markets tend to be relatively volatile, meaning less capital needs to be deployed to achieve a similar risk-adjusted return compared to the US. The region is also more fragmented and specialized, both in terms of regulatory framework and market dynamism, calling for a larger number of portfolio managers.

Among the six investment strategies, the firm sees commodities as a key area for Asia. Precious and base metals, power and gas trading provide some of the most compelling opportunities, according to the person. The region remains a big consumer of these commodities, and the space is set to stay in the spotlight given rising inflation and resources constraints globally.

In Japan, regulatory changes to improve governance, government policies to stimulate economic growth and corporate reforms are expanding opportunities, the person said. 

Jain Global will also eye equity arbitrage strategies, as greater share price swings and higher interest rates have prompted multi-billion-dollar convertible bond offerings from companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc. Quirks of the region’s armies of retail investors make options trading lucrative, while mergers and acquisitions are showings signs of revival, the person added. 

Investors have gravitated toward multi-strategy, multi-manager hedge funds in recent years, instead of parceling out capital separately to different funds. Combined assets of 55 of these so-called pod shops nearly tripled in the six years through 2023, according to a September report by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s prime brokerage team.

(Updates with Goldman figures on multi-strategy funds in the last paragraph. An earlier version corrected Zhang Yang’s job description)

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