Eight Investment Partners, the pan-Asia boutique, has appointed an executive director to implement a credit capability to be run alongside Kerry Series’ equity strategy.

Rick Steele, former chief executive officer of Sydney hedge fund TechInvest, began work at Eight last week as an executive director responsible for business operations, but was also mandated “to investigate other activities that the business might get involved in around the [Asian] region,” he said.

Steele said the “general thrust” of this investigation “will be around income products and securities,” but said it was far too early to say whether Eight would attempt to acquire an existing boutique or recruit investment staff to run a credit strategy.

“We need to identify the best possible way to be involved.”

While Series would concentrate on Eight’s equities strategy and Steele would be responsible for the boutique’s debt aspirations, both executive directors would provide input into each other’s strategies.

Eight currently manages about US$100 million from its backer, Sanlam.

Despite its consistently good performance, TechInvest closed in March due to a lack of scale. Like Steele, its staff have found other pursuits: head of research Paul Davis relocated to China two months ago to research emerging investment themes, portfolio manager Ashley Young is completing a degree in bioinformatics from Oxford University and Indian-born investment analyst Anshu Sharma has found a place in Sanlam’s nine-person equity analyst team in Bangalore, which has been contracted to provide Eight with research.

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