Aaron Costello, Regional Head for Asia
In this Cambridge Conversations, Aaron shares his perspectives on why Asia is an important region and the firm’s commitment to Asia.
You have been with the company and in Asia for many years now. How has that experience been?
I’m fortunate to have spent over half of my 20-year career with the company in Asia. I joined it in 2003 at one of our other group companies in Arlington, Virginia office outside of Washington, DC, and relocated to Singapore in 2010 to deepen the firm’s capital markets research in Asia and work with clients in the region.
In 2016, I moved to Beijing to follow developments in China more closely, and in 2023, I returned to Singapore to continue working with clients across the region. We now have clients across Singapore, Hong Kong, mainland China, and Southeast Asia. I’m grateful to have grown with the firm and to have helped the firm grow in Asia.
Tell us a little about the company’s growth in Asia over the years.
Asia is a key market for us. We have been on the ground in Asia for over 20 years now, and currently have three offices in the region, which complement our other group company offices around the world. Having such a structure enables us to provide both global and local investment expertise to our clients.
We opened our first Asian office in Singapore in 2001 to serve as a central hub for researching Asian investment opportunities and managers, as well as provide a local presence for our clients in the region.
Our second Asian office was established in Beijing in 2011 to research Chinese private equity and venture capital opportunities for our clients globally, as well as to work with leading Chinese institutional investors and family offices.
In 2021, we further expanded our footprint in Asia and opened our Hong Kong office to better serve institutional investors in that market.
The growth of our presence in Asia over the years underscores our commitment to the region and our clients.
Have you observed any changes in investment trends in the region over the decades?
Growing interest in alternatives and impact investing are the biggest trends we have seen in the region. While allocations to alternatives have increased, they still lag behind those seen in the US and Europe. Interest in ESG and impact investing has also dramatically increased in recent years and I believe is here to stay. Another trend is increased interest in outsourced discretionary investment mandates, particularly in regards to alternatives. The dramatic increase in the number of family offices in Asia is another trend that is reshaping the investment landscape.
How does the company work with clients in the region?
Asia is a diverse region, with unique challenges and opportunities for investors. Market dynamics are different than in the US and Europe, and this is why having local insights on the respective markets becomes paramount when making investment decisions.
Over the last two decades, we have expanded our headcount to over 75 employees across the three Asian offices, which include around 40 investment professionals with an average industry experience of 17 years. Our expertise spreads across all major asset classes, including private equity, venture capital, real assets, private credit, hedge funds, and public equities.
With boots on the ground, our investment teams can provide local insights for our clients, while also bringing our global investment expertise and wide network of investment managers to clients in Asia. This combination of local understanding and global coverage enables us to build and manage bespoke portfolios that aim to outperform over the long term.
This article has been produced by Cambridge Associates Asia Pte Ltd (a Singapore corporation, registration No. 200101063G, which holds a Capital Market Services License to conduct Fund Management for Accredited and/or Institutional Investors only by the Monetary Authority of Singapore). Cambridge Associates is part of a group of companies. Cambridge Associates, LLC (a registered investment adviser with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, a Commodity Trading Adviser registered with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and National Futures BADEA, and a Massachusetts limited liability company with offices in Arlington, VA; Boston, MA; Dallas, TX; Menlo Park, CA, New York, NY; and San Francisco, CA), Cambridge Associates Limited (a registered limited company in England and Wales, No. 06135829, that is authorized and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority FRN: 474331); Cambridge Associates GmbH (authorized and regulated by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (‘BaFin’), Identification Number: 155510), Cambridge Associates Limited, LLC (a registered investment adviser with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, an Exempt Market Dealer and Portfolio Manager in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec, and Saskatchewan, and a Massachusetts limited liability company with a branch office in Sydney, Australia, ARBN 109 366 654), Cambridge Associates Investment Consultancy (Beijing) Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Cambridge Associates, LLC which is registered with the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, registration No. 110000450174972), and Cambridge Associates Hong Kong Private Limited (a registered limited company in Hong Kong and regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong).