Asset management, broadly defined, refers to any system that monitors and maintains things of value to an entity or group. It may apply to both tangible assets such as buildings and to intangible assets such as human capital, intellectual property, and goodwill and financial assets. Asset management is a systematic process of deploying, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets cost-effectively.
The term is most commonly used in the financial world to describe people and companies that manage investments on behalf of others. These include, for example, investment managers that manage the assets of a pension fund.
Alternative views of asset management in the engineering environment are: the practice of managing assets to achieve the greatest return (particularly useful for productive assets such as plant and equipment), and the process of monitoring and maintaining facilities systems, with the objective of providing the best possible service to users (appropriate for public infrastructure assets).
The reference to offshore, in the classic case, usually means a traditional offshore jurisdiction such as the Cayman Islands, Jersey or the British Virgin Islands. However, the term is also frequently used to include other corporate domiciles popular for cross border investment structuring, such as Delaware and Luxembourg. In the widest sense, offshore is sometimes used to include any type of cross border collective investment scheme, and popular fund domiciles such as Ireland may be included within the definition of offshore, notwithstanding their substantial size as a country.
Similarly, although the reference to fund can be taken to include any sort of collective investment, within offshore jurisdictions themselves, the term offshore fund is often limited to purely open-ended investment funds (i.e. a fund where the investor can redeem his investment during the life of the fund) where the investment is by way of equity (rather than by debt). This is often because closed-ended investment funds (where the investor cannot redeem out), and funds where the investment is structured by way of debt, are not normally subject to the usual regulatory requirements for investments funds, and so are not treated as funds in the stricter sense of that word.