TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Doug Krizner: One hundred and fifteen years ago today, the monarchy in Hawaii was overthrown. A group of businessmen and sugar planters forced Queen Liliuokalani to give up her throne.
Hawaiian culture has changed dramatically since then. These days, the islands are home to a fast-growing group of hedge fund managers.
Krizner: Let’s bring in Robert Howe of Akamai Capital in Honolulu — Robert, why are these managers setting up shop in Hawaii?
Robert Howe: It’s not the investment opportunities per se, it’s really where a fund manager elects to sit and do his work for investing anywhere else in the world. The key to this is that broadband does allow a lot of knowledge-based industries to set up wherever the people want to sit and can still get access to information.
Krizner: Well, there seems to be a lot of evidence suggesting that Japanese hedge fund managers in particular are attracted to Hawaii. Why is that?
Howe: There’s several reasons. There’s a cultural affinity — there are quite a few people in Hawaii who speak Japanese. And the time zone is attractive. We’re actually 19 hours behind, so it makes an attractive day to work the Japanese markets, so people can actually spend time with their families in the morning, or getting exercise or whatever it is they do. And then the market opens at 2 p.m. Hawaii time. The last reason is tax and regulatory — and that pushes startup asset managers out of Japan in general.
Krizner: Are they looking at particular types of companies in particular areas?
Howe: There is a bias here toward Asia because of the time zone — if you’re going to trade the U.S. markets, you’re up at 4:30 in the morning (when) the New York market opens.
Krizner: Robert Howe is Asian markets fund manager for Akamai Capital in Honolulu. Robert, thanks so much for speaking with us.
Howe: Sure — thank you.
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