The formation of Dalton Investments in 1999 stemmed from the opportunities that arose out of the Asian financial crisis. In November 1998, James Rosenwald, who at the time was managing a Japanese long only account for a large US pension fund, recruited Steve Persky to manage an Asian distressed debt portfolio for a corporate client. Mr. Rosenwald also took the opportunity to seed Gifford Combs to manage a global long/short equity fund which was almost entirely invested in Asia. In 1999, the group decided to formally bring their collective skills together with the establishment of Dalton Investments. Prior to 1998 the managers had collaborated and invested informally together for nearly two decades. Mr. Combs and Mr. Persky were classmates at Harvard College and Mr. Persky and Mr. Rosenwald met in 1970 as classmates at the Dalton School, from which the firm derives its name.
In 2001, the partners established shared office space in Los Angeles and began building an in-house operational, compliance and marketing infrastructure. Belita Ong joined Dalton as the fourth senior member of the firm. Originally responsible for business development and client service, Ms. Ong now serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Dalton Investments. Today, Dalton Investments and its subsidiary employ 38 professionals and manage approximately $3.3 billion (31 July 2015) within four strategies, namely global equities, Asian equities, distressed debt and distressed mortgages.