With friends like these...
Peregrine's problems in the face of the market crisis in Asia have been exacerbated by the rapidity of its expansion and the unravelling of some of its regional operations. Critics viewed its difficulties as the long-overdue outcome of breakneck growth and an erratic choice of local partners. For Peregrine, the timing was lousy, especially when the jewel in its regional crown, South Korean operation Dongbang Peregrine, went awry in September.
When asked if he would describe his firm's regional strategy as successful, moderately successful or a failure, chairman Philip Tose's reply is circumspect. "In terms of the bottom line," he says, "you would have to say its contribution was not as large as one might have hoped. But we were getting a stronger and stronger reputation, and we were winning some important mandates across the region."
Could it be characterized as expanding on too many fronts, and choosing the wrong partners? "No. I would say we were generally very successful. You have also to recognize that Asia generally has been quite a difficult place to do business."
Peregrine's expansion across Asia has had its fair share of critics.