Aura Group expands into alternatives


The Aura Group, a corporate advisory firm operating mainly out of Singapore and Sydney, has formed Aura Alternative Assets, with a view to launching several alternatives funds and strategies in Australia over the next one-two years.

Damien Hatfield, one of the pioneers of the hedge fund industry in Australia, will head up the venture, which becomes part of a diversified group with several offices throughout the Asia Pacific region. Aura provides corporate advisory, including tax, services, wealth management and funds management services and partnerships.

Hatfield is folding his own third-party marketing business, Triple A Partners, into the venture, representing both offshore and domestic alternatives managers. The proposed new funds may include those for existing clients and associates and/or new entrants.

Apart from looking to expand Aura’s international footprint, Hatfield said, he wanted to bring more choice with alternatives to the local investor.

He said: “The local market is transforming into a global centre as the Australian superannuation pension market is one of the largest in the world. This large asset base deserves the best alternative investment ideas available and that need attracted me to Aura’s innovative approach and fund products.”

Hatfield was the inaugural chair of AIMA Australia, the local arm of the global Alternative Investment Management Association. He has worked with many of the early hedge fund entrants and alternative investment managers in Australia and overseas.

In the early years, he was responsible for setting up a hedge funds-of-funds operation at Colonial First State, after starting with Deutsche Bank’s embryonic hedge funds in Australia in the 1990s. He was the head of hedge funds at Pengana Capital, responsible for launching Pengana Managers. He subsequently joined Ascalon representing their suite of managers and introduced third-party distribution to the business. He left there in July 2017.

He has represented a variety of global and domestic managers in recent years – including Ramius, Kapstream, Mariner Group, and Caliburn Capital (UK) – raising more than A$4 billion.

Eric Chan, a co-founder and managing director of Aura, said: “Damien’s deep experience in alternative assets and strong investor relationships will be invaluable as Aura drives its growth in funds under management and expands its portfolio of fund managers and products.”

– G.B.