Development Finance Asia

Development Finance Asia (DFA) is a Hong Kong-based investment firm with a presence in Vietnam, Mongolia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and the Philippines.

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Summary

Development Finance Asia (DFA) is an investment firm based in Hong Kong that operates in various emerging markets including Vietnam, Mongolia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and the Philippines. With a focus on long-term growth potential, DFA employs a strategic approach to identify investment opportunities that offer downside protection and strong upside potential. Leveraging their extensive on-the-ground experience and proprietary deal-sourcing network, DFA partners with local entrepreneurs to provide liquidity and support business expansion. They have a track record of delivering annualized returns exceeding 20% on over $340 million of Asian private investments.

As a specialist investment consulting platform, DFA offers a wide range of services across the investment process and capital structure. Their team of experienced investment professionals utilizes their extensive network in the region to excel in sourcing, due diligence, structuring, and management of investments. 

DFA has actively invested in Vietnam since 2014 and has been involved in various pioneering deals, such as greenfield developments, equitization of state-owned enterprises, and credit facility restructuring. They prioritize interest alignment, forming strong partnerships with asset managers and entrepreneurs, and remain actively engaged in investments.

Additionally, DFA is actively involved in sustainable finance initiatives and provides innovative financing solutions focused on productivity gains in the Global South. They participate in organizations such as the Hong Kong Green Finance Association and work on building platforms for energy efficiency and nature-based solutions in Southeast Asia. DFA's commitment to sustainability is evident through their involvement in projects related to sustainability consulting, nature-based solutions, financial inclusion platforms, logistics firms, and impact funds targeting carbon footprint reduction.


History

Tom Holland established Development Finance Asia in 2014 along with Alexis de Mecquenem and Jenny Li Gyn Lee in Hong Kong with a vision to unlock the potential of untapped markets and provide innovative financial solutions to fuel development.

With a focus on long-term growth potential and a deep understanding of the region's dynamics, DFA started investing in Vietnam, paving the way for its expansion into other countries.

DFA has been actively investing in Vietnam since 2007. The team has led several pioneering deals, as a majority equity owner in several greenfield developments in HCMC, as a strategic investor driving a State-Owned enterprise equitization, identifying dislocations before structuring or restructuring credit facilities to number of companies and assets. 

As DFA established its presence in Vietnam, it built a strong network of local entrepreneurs and developed partnerships that would later become the foundation of its success. Leveraging their on-the-ground experience and proprietary deal-sourcing capabilities, DFA provided liquidity to support the growth and expansion of businesses in emerging Asian markets.

Over the years, DFA expanded its reach beyond Vietnam, venturing into Mongolia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and the Philippines. This expansion was driven by the firm's commitment to identifying liquidity dislocations, employing innovative structuring techniques, and focusing on investments with strong upside potential and downside protection.

DFA's investment portfolio grew to encompass a diverse range of sectors, including insurance, logistics, technology, real estate, and renewable energy. The firm's investments were not only aimed at generating financial returns but also making a measurable impact in the communities they operated in.

With a track record of successful investments and a commitment to sustainable finance, DFA became recognized as a specialist investment consulting platform. Its team of experienced professionals excelled in sourcing, due diligence, structuring, and managing investments, delivering consistent returns to their clients.


Mission

The mission of Development Finance Asia (DFA) is to identify and invest in emerging markets with solid long-term growth potential, primarily in Asia. DFA seeks to leverage its on-the-ground experience and proprietary deal-sourcing network to partner with local entrepreneurs and provide liquidity that facilitates business expansion and growth. Their mission is to make a difference in the regions they operate in by strategically deploying capital and fostering economic development.

DFA's mission also encompasses delivering strong investment returns while generating a measurable impact. They aim to outperform market returns by employing innovative structuring techniques, focusing on investments with downside protection and strong upside potential. DFA places a significant emphasis on interest alignment, forming partnerships with asset managers and entrepreneurs who share their vision and values. Through their sustainable finance initiatives, DFA aims to contribute to productivity gains in the Global South and promote sustainability in areas such as green finance, energy efficiency, and nature-based solutions.


Vision

The vision of Development Finance Asia (DFA) is to be a leading investment firm in Asia, recognized for its expertise in identifying investment opportunities and delivering superior financial performance. DFA envisions itself as a trusted partner for local entrepreneurs, asset managers, and institutional investors, providing them with innovative investment solutions and value-added services across the investment process and capital structure.

At the core of DFA's vision is a commitment to sustainability and making a positive impact on the communities and environments in which they operate. DFA seeks to contribute to the development and growth of emerging markets by channeling capital towards productive sectors, promoting sustainable finance practices, and driving positive social and environmental outcomes. By leveraging their extensive network, experience, and expertise, DFA aims to create lasting value for its stakeholders while advancing the principles of responsible investing and sustainable development.


Key Team

Jenny Li Gyn Lee (Chairwoman)

Tom Holland (Chief Investment Officer & CEO)

Alexis DeMecquenem (Managing Partner, Real Estate)

Sharon Mok (CFO & Compliance Head)

Jenian Tai (Director, Public Markets)

Piers Lakin (Portfolio Manager, Impact Investing)

Thuy Dao (Portfolio Manager)

Xan Wood (Portfolio Manager, PE & Restructuring)

Enkhtur Lkhagvajav (Analyst)

Henry Nguyen (Analyst, PE & Restructuring)

Isa Eguia (Associate)


Recognition and Awards
Development Finance Asia (DFA) has a diverse portfolio of investments across different countries, spanning sectors such as insurance, logistics, reforestation, hospitality, renewable energy, finance, and more. Here is a breakdown of DFA's portfolio: Mongolia: DFA is a founding shareholder of Mandal Life Insurance, a leading insurance platform in Mongolia. They also restructured and invested in Terra Express, a prominent copper ore logistics provider. Bangladesh: DFA provided growth capital to Truck Lagbe, a technology platform optimizing the logistics sector in Bangladesh, in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Southeast Asia: DFA founded Vana, a nature-based solutions platform focused on community reforestation projects in Southeast Asia. They are committed to environmental initiatives and sustainable practices. Vietnam: DFA developed and manages Bloq, a lifestyle food and beverage park in Ho Chi Minh City, using recycled shipping containers. They also provided structured finance to Green Vision, a Myanmar-based developer of service apartments targeting professionals bringing foreign investment and embassy staff. Myanmar: DFA co-founded R2O, the largest rural mobility financing platform in Myanmar. They have also funded a mixed-use project aimed at expanding opportunities for SME businesses and adding green space to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital. Indonesia: DFA invested in Energy Efficiency Solutions (EES), which focuses on reducing carbon intensity in the hotel industry. They also invested in Koltiva, a technology-enabled service company combining agriculture, finance, education, and climate-focused solutions. Cambodia: DFA played a role in iCare Benefits, a platform providing finance to workers in the manufacturing sector. DFA structured a growth round and achieved a successful exit.

Products and Services

Investment Consulting: DFA specializes in investment consulting, offering services such as due diligence, valuation, and structuring recommendations. They provide expertise and support to institutional investors, asset managers, and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) across various sectors and geographies. DFA's extensive network and experience enable them to assist clients in identifying and evaluating investment opportunities while mitigating risks.

Deal Sourcing and Structuring: DFA leverages its proprietary deal-sourcing network and on-the-ground experience to identify investment opportunities with attractive risk-return profiles. They excel in sourcing, due diligence, and structuring investments across emerging Asian markets. DFA focuses on liquidity dislocations and employs innovative structuring to maximize upside potential while ensuring downside protection.

Impact Investing: DFA places significant value on generating measurable impact alongside financial returns. They actively seek investment opportunities that align with sustainable finance principles and contribute to positive social and environmental outcomes. DFA aims to drive productivity gains in the Global South, promote green finance, and support initiatives in areas such as energy efficiency, nature-based solutions, and financial inclusion.

Strategic Partnerships: DFA builds strategic partnerships with local entrepreneurs, asset managers, and institutional investors. Through these partnerships, they provide liquidity to facilitate business growth and expansion, leveraging their network and expertise to support entrepreneurs in emerging Asian economies.


References
Development Finance Asia
Leadership team

Jenny Li Gyn Lee (Chairwoman)

Tom Holland (Chief Investment Officer & CEO)

Alexis DeMecquenem (Managing Partner, Real Estate)

Sharon Mok (CFO & Compliance Head)

Jenian Tai (Director, Public Markets)

Products/ Services
Impact investing, private debt, real estate, climate finance, sustainable urban development
Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
Hong Kong, 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central
Established
2014
Social Media
Sun Mar 03 2024
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