Asia Frontier Capital was founded by fund manager and chief executive officer Thomas Hugger after a buy-out of the Leopard Asia Frontier Fund in July.
Desai is already a familiar with Asia Frontier's investments process as he worked with The Leopard Asia Frontier Fund as a summer associate in 2012.
Asia Frontier Capital manages AFC Asia Frontier Fund, which invests in high-growth Asian frontier markets, primarily focussing on consumer, financial and infrastructure stocks.
Desai will support the combined top down and bottom up investment strategy of the AFC Asia Frontier Fund, to identify opportunities in the fast-growing Asian frontier markets of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
Prior to being in Hong Kong, Desai was based in Mumbai where he spent two years as a senior analyst at HandsOn Ventures, a mid-market private equity group focused on investments in the business services industry. He also worked at Mumbai-based Pioneer Investcorp as a research analyst.
Before joining Asia Frontier, Friel supported the launch of a Hong Kong based hedge fund.
According to the company, the Cayman domiciled AFC Asia Frontier Fund has returned 5.15%, 9.96% and 18.68% on a three month, year-to-date and one-year basis net of fees, beating the aggregate returns of the fund’s Bloomberg peer group which were -7.57% 1.82% and 9.29%, respectively over the same periods.