Matei Mihalca, has relocated from the firm's headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut to head the Hong Kong office.
The local office will focus on sales and client service in Asia, with no specific expansion plans, said Gregor Andrade, principal and head of the firm’s international team, in an email reply.
The client base is institutional investors and family offices in the region.
“To date we have seen interest from Asian investors across our whole suite of strategies, both alternatives and traditional equities," Andrade said. "Some investors are more conservative and are interested in overseas’ equities. Others are looking for greater diversification, and thus our alternative strategies get more focus.”
The firm is evaluating China's investor base and investments, but to date only has exposure to H-shares, or Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong.
“We are currently in the early stages of studying opportunities in China and are engaging with local experts to better understand the regulatory environment, as well as the potential demand for what we do,” Andrade said.
AQR is a quantitative asset manager founded by a group of ex-Goldman Sachs staff in 1998, offers alternative as well as traditional strategies.
The Connecticut-based asset manager had $153.6bn (£117bn, €139bn) in assets under management as of March, of which $7bn is from Asia.