Fund of hedge funds manager Infiniti Capital has extended its reach into the relatively untapped Australasian market with the acquisition of Martini Capital.


Zurich-based Infiniti, best known for its performance fee-only investment service, has bought a majority shareholding in the alternative fund specialist, a move described by Infiniti's chief operating officer Kenji Steven as an "exciting development" in the company's growth plans for Australasia.


Steven said: "This will add to our asset management, product structuring and distribution capabilities. It is rare indeed to find such an outstanding group of high calibre, high integrity individuals in one firm and we felt that their strong quantitative focus complemented and was a natural fit with our more qualitative manager selection processes".


Steven and Anric Blatt, CEO of Infiniti Capital, will join Mark Phillips and Iain Hamilton on the board of directors of Martini Capital. Martini will benefit from being part of a larger, well-resourced global group, allowing it to provide its clients with significantly increased levels of product, operations and client service.


Phillips and Hamilton will also take an active role at Infiniti Advantage Australasia, a recently established firm which holds the exclusive distribution rights for Infiniti products in Australasia.


"This is a region which cannot be ignored," said Blatt. "Extremely attractive and uncorrelated returns are being delivered by Asian and Australian managers and Infiniti has recently witnessed a surge in demand from Australian and New Zealand institutional investors. We already have a regional office in Hong Kong with allocations to around 20 Asian emerging managers. Our investment in Martini Capital re-affirms our commitment to this region."


Background notes: Martini Capital is a privately owned Investment Management group, incorporated in 2000, which manages offshore and on-shore based portfolios of alternative investments. Its approach is based on an independent dynamic quantitative and qualitative screening process, with a strong focus on identifying and managing the risk in hedge fund portfolios. It has a proven track record with average compound returns of 13 per cent p.a. and extremely low volatility, an average of just 3.7 per cent.


Martini Capital provides management, product solutions and advisory services to a wide range of private and institutional investors through a variety of structures including managed accounts, open ended funds, structured notes and collateralized fund obligations (CFOs).


Infiniti Capital is a part of the Infiniti Group, an independent financial services firm headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland with offices and distributors representing all major financial centres. The group specialises in the international alternative investment industry through three main divisions: funds of hedge funds, structured products and private equity/venture capital, advising on over USD 1.7 billion in client assets.


Infiniti specialises in the area of emerging managers which, it states, "generates better, less correlated returns than the established managers with higher gain than loss deviation, providing Infiniti with an important source of alpha".


In order to further improve access to these newer, emerging managers, Infiniti has recently opened a London office to be headed by Richard Neill (ex CIO and main Board Director at Legg Mason Investors). This is to be followed up with a New York office set to open later this year.


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