Wednesday, September 24, 2014

CEO Asia Q&A: Rare Whisky Fund Expands Capital: CEO Rickesh Kishnani

TMJ Partners welcomes you to our first CEO Asia Q&A interview series with top executives in finance. We will interview CEO executives across Asia & Japan, on their expanding business and future returns, twice a month. Our goal is to introduce new Asia Pacific products & services. It is aimed at those looking for something different, a true information edge. Enjoy!

Today we interview Rickesh Kishnani, the CEO of Platinum Wines in Hong Kong. He has raised US$4MM in capital for the world's first Whisky Fund with private equity style returns. It is focused on rare old whisky stock, and is expanding.

1) When did you start your fund? How big is your fund now? and where is the fund's maximum capacity in the future? 
The fund began capital raising in March 2014.  We raised US$4MM in the first round which closed on June 30th 2014.  We have now begun the 2nd round of capital raising at the beginning of September 2014, and are looking to raise an additional US$6MM in capital to bring the total fund size to US$10MM.  That will be the maximum limit for this fund.

2) What kind of returns are you expecting in the short or longer term? How many years will this run for over time?
The expected returns for investors is 15-20% annually (net of fees) over the term of the fund which is 7 years. Final exit prices in auctions or private sales may increase these returns over the life of the fund.

3) How do investors exit or benefit from returns? Do you pay with cash dividends only? or other ways?
We will be paying dividends annually and investors will have a choice to take their dividend in 100% cash or 90% cash and 10% in the equivalent value of rare whisky bottles. Most of the asset inventory is stored in a professional bonded warehouse in Scotland.

4) Why is a whisky fund different from wine funds? Why not just buy top Bordeaux wines instead?
The fundamentals of wine and whisky are based on supply and demand economics.  What is unique about whisky is that creating whiskies aged over 18 years is a long process as all the aging happens only in the barrel. Demand is already outstripping supply, especially in Asia, and there is finite stock available because back in the 1980s and 1990s very little whisky was put aside for long term aging. Growing demand makes rare whisky a compelling collectible investment. Another advantage is that once whiskey is in the bottle, it is much easier to care for long term. It is not nearly as sensitive to the 15-20 C temperatures often needed for storing wine.

5) Why are you so driven to make this fund do well? What investment opportunity was so compelling? Why should investors consider your fund compared to other opportunities? 
This is the world’s first and only PE whisky fund and the investment opportunity is only available for the next 10-15 years while there is a gap in the market for rare and aged single malt whiskies.  The fund’s CIO (David Robertson) is a former master distiller at The Macallan and former rare whisky director at The Dalmore.  We have access and have already purchased amazing stock of rare whiskies at below market prices through private collectors in Europe, typically HNWI backgrounds.  We also have several exit strategies already in place including selling to auction houses, a large database of 3000+ private clients across Asia, and partnerships with large hotels/casinos across Asia & Europe.

6) Any extra benefits that are worth sharing at this time?
In addition to the returns, investors will also have access to several unique whisky experiences:
o   Opportunity to buy whisky from the fund’s holdings (at the latest valuation)
o   Exclusive whisky tastings hosted by brand ambassadors and the Asia fund CIO
o   Access to limited edition whisky releases for direct purchase
o   Chance to visit Scotland and the distilleries through organized tours
o   VIP access to premium whisky events in Las Vegas and Macau

7) Are you only going to invest in single malt whisky bottles from Scotland or are there others worth investing into? How hot is the market for rare whisky now? 
The majority of the fund will be whisky from Scotland but also we collect Japanese whiskies such as rare Yamazaki, Hibiki, and Karuizawa. Prices are really rising so our returns may turn out to be much higher. A recent bottle of 64 year old Glenfiddich from 1937 sold in London, UK for over GBP100,000 for a single bottle. It was 1 of only 60 bottled that year.

For more information about this new opportunity, please contact Rickesh Kishnani directly via email at 

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