Fund Manager: David Baran
Company: Symphony Financial Partners Co., Ltd.
Symphony is an Asia-based asset manager with offices in Tokyo and Singapore. The firm was founded in 2000 by David Baran and Kazuhiko Shibata, both veteran finance professionals with decades of experience in Asian markets. The firm launched its Japan fund (the SFP Value Realization Master Fund) in 2003 and its pan-Asia fund (Sinfonietta) in 2008.
Senior management members:
David Baran (Co-CEO): former senior Japanese equities/equity derivative proprietary trader at Lehman, Goldman Sachs and Barclays in Tokyo; University of California, Berkeley (B.A.), Columbia University (M.A.) Kazuhiko Shibata (Co-CEO): former principal investment, M&A and real estate banker at Nomura Securities in New York and Tokyo; Hitotsubashi University (B.A.), Harvard Law School (LL.M.) Jason Schwartz (Managing Director): former M&A, strategic advisory and capital markets banker at Goldman Sachs and Lehman in New York and Tokyo; U. Penn ? Wharton School (B.S.), U. of Tokyo (M.A.), Columbia Law School (J.D.)
Our strategy focuses on investing in underpriced, high-quality Japanese companies and working cooperatively with management to improve valuation. This is a superior strategy for creating long-term profits in Japan because of the potential upside and because it does not solely rely on the vagaries of the overall market’s performance.
It is our fundamental contention that the Japanese market does not work in the same way as markets in other advanced economies because there is no market for corporate control. Inefficiencies persist due to a lack of catalysts forcing change in the status quo.
We take this basic premise and identify high-quality companies that are trading at substantial discounts to intrinsic value. We then analyze companies from the perspective of the potential upside we could catalyze as a hands-on shareholder, including changes in financial and strategic areas. We work in a friendly and cooperative manner with management, consistently bringing them real and actionable ideas for positive change. When we have done this successfully over a period of time, we can then gain the trust of senior management. Once we have gained their trust, we are then able to most effectively impact real company decision making and catalyze value-enhancing change.