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Mandate hunters turn asset keepers

They are two of Asia's premier fixed-income investors. They are also former investment bankers. Euromoney invited Brian Lippey of Tokai Asia and Albert Cobetto of Prudential Asia to dinner to chat about dressing down in Hong Kong, how it feels to switch to the buy side and which houses have survived the stock market crisis best. Steven Irvine poured the wine and asked the questions.

Albert Cobetto and Brian Lippey both started on the sell side in investment banking but now run businesses on the investor buy side. Both have résumés that take in some of the finest names on Wall Street.

Brian Lippey started in the business in 1979 and built Goldman Sach's Eurobond salesforce in New York. He joined Merrill Lynch in London in 1989 to head global foreign exchange sales. He sat on Merrill's European executive committee. He moved to Asia in 1994 and ran international private banking for the region for Bankers Trust. After 18 years on the sell side, he took up Tokai Bank's offer last year to refashion Tokai Asia from a sleepy entity in Hong Kong into one of the most dynamic investors in Asia, utilizing the bank's $288 billion balance sheet. He recruited 10 non-Japanese traders to actively take positions in fixed income, forex, and equities, principally in the Asia-Pacific region. He is currently setting up a fund-management arm.

Albert Cobetto is at an earlier stage of a similar process, launching and running Prudential Investments' Asian fixed-income group. Prudential Investments manages $200 million of assets and Cobetto is responsible for investing a portfolio of its funds in Asian bonds.

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