Samena doubles investment team to nine

Led by former Abraaj managing director and co-founder Shirish Saraf, the growing MENASA-focused firm expects to close its debut special situations fund targeting $350m this month.

Samena Capital has grown its investment team to nine with five new hires: Celia Farnon, Philip Young, Swaroop Patel, Robert Clements and Lien Ber Luen.

The investment team will focus on opportunities on the Subcontinent, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa using the firm’s debut special situations fund that is targeting $350 million. The firm held a first close last month on $200 million.

Farnon will focus on growing Samena’s business in Japan. She joins Samena from UK asset management company Polar Capital where she ran the firm’s long/short Japan equity fund.

Farnon will work alongside Young, who most recently was a Japanese equities analyst at Invicta Investment Management.

Patel is the former head of Bank of America’s debt capital markets group in Hong Kong responsible for syndicated loans, leveraged finance and debt capital markets.

Clements founded emerging and frontier markets hedge fund GEAM in 2005. Prior to GEAM he spent six years as head of emerging markets for UK-based Hermes Pension Fund.

Luen joins Samena from Credit Suisse’s global proprietary trading group in Hong Kong where he was a senior investment professional. Earlier, he was co-head and investment director of Pinnakell Asset Management running a long/short equities fund targeting Asia ex-Japan.

Founded in February, Samena, short for “the Subcontinent, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa”, said it has identified stakes it intends to buy in Indian and Japanese asset managers. The firm said it was set up with $50 million earmarked for expanding its franchise through acquisitions and will look to buy asset managers across Asia.

Samena said it will be headquartered in Bahrain, while its FSA-regulated investment advisor has a London office. The firm plans to open locations in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Mumbai this year.