IIFL names former 3i Asia head Anil Ahuja CIO of offshore fund management unit

Indian financial services firm IIFL Holdings (formerly India Infoline) has appointed former head for Asia at private equity firm 3i Group, Anil Ahuja, as its chief investment officer for the offshore fund management unit, the company said.

This expands his existing engagement with IIFL, having been involved with its offshore hedge fund IPEplus for over a year.

He will primarily focus on the firm’s absolute return fund, which already has about $35 million raised through two vehicles IPEplus and Asia Star Fund.

IPEplus, which was floated by Ahuja with an aim of raising around $100 million, seeks to invest primarily into US dollar denominated Indian fixed income securities with an overlay of equities and foreign exchange. The fund has delivered absolute returns of 33.84 per cent net of fees and carry as on April 30, 2015. It has total assets under management (AUM) of $28 million, the company said.

Asia Star Fund invests across fixed income securities of Asian emerging markets and currently has an AUM of $6.36 million.

IIFL Global will be raising another fund with Ahuja as the fund manager in the early stage venture capital space. “India is looking attractive for global investors and open architecture model gives us the advantage of showcasing best in class managers to our clients. We are open for more collaboration with other prominent managers too,” said Amit Shah, executive director, IIFL Global.

Ahuja has 28 years of financial services experience and as CEO of 3i Asia, he was instrumental in establishing the $1.2 billion 3i India Infrastructure Fund.

He joined 3i in April 2005 and had quit the firm in February 2013 as the UK-based PE group decided to stop fresh investments in India. Prior to joining 3i Group, he worked with JP Morgan Partners Asia and at Citibank in Mumbai.

Three years ago, 3i Group said it was planning to cease making any fresh PE investment in India and wanted to focus on the existing portfolio as a part of its new strategy. The London Stock Exchange-listed investor had said it wants to build its infrastructure investment business in the country. But in May 2013, 3i Group said it plans to stop infrastructure investments in the country thereby focusing on only winding up its India business by managing and eventually exiting the Indian portfolio firms.

Most recently it sold a chunk of its stake in Adani Power at a loss.

IIFL Holdings, backed by PE firm Carlyle and Prem Watsa’s Fairfax India Holdings Corp, has offices across New York, Houston, London, Geneva, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mauritius. The firm provides asset management support to institutional investors and ultra high-net-worth individuals for their India allocation.

Earlier this month, IIFL’s minority institutional investor Fairfax announced an open offer to buy 26 per cent stake in the company through its new India-focused investment arm.

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