Martin Currie, the Edinburgh-based specialist investment manager with USD 1 billion in hedge fund assets, is to launch its seventh hedge fund on 2 September.

The new fund is called the Martin Currie Daijiro - Absolute Return Fund. The company intends to 'soft close' the fund at USD 100 million with a 'hard close' at USD 150 million.

Martin Currie Daijiro Fund's target is to return 20% pa, with volatility of 12% pa. This aggressive target is in response to what investors have told Martin Currie they want, and pre-marketing has met with strong interest.

Keith Donaldson, John-Paul Temperley and Kevin Troup will co-manage the new fund. Its Japanese name Daijiro - 'vibrant second son' - reflects the fund's status as complementing Martin Currie's first, and more conservative, Japan hedge fund. That has returned 39% to 30 April 2004 since launch on 1 July 2000, compared with a fall of 28% in the Japanese stockmarket over the same period, and in order to optimise returns is closed to new investors.

Martin Currie's hedge fund business is growing quickly. It now manages over USD 1 billion in equity long/short funds investing in Japan, the UK, Europe, Asia, China and Global Resources.

Allan MacLeod, Martin Currie's director of hedge funds said: "The addition of a second Japan fund is a natural extension to our existing range, and is in response to clients' wishes. This new fund will continue our growth in the hedge fund business. It will bring proven talent to an area where investors' demand is large."

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