Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM) is further extending its cash fund range with the launch of the Merrill Lynch Atlas Optimum Libor+Fund.


Joanna Cound, Head of MLIM EMEA's Institutional Cash Management Distribution said: "MLIM is one of the first investment houses to combine the stability and liquidity of a money market fund with the enhanced returns of a diversified portfolio of hedge funds. A pooled product with Atlas Capital will help provide our clients with a target return in excess of traditional money market funds, but with the added benefit of weekly liquidity and significantly lower volatility than equity and bond investments."


The new Euro-denominated fund combines a money market fund with funds-of-hedge funds and is aimed at those investors seeking enhanced returns from their strategic cash balances (6 to 12 months+ duration) while also seeking to preserve capital and maintain liquidity. 


The aim is to achieve a return of 1.00 per cent over seven-day Euro LIBID net of fees by investing 50 per cent in the Merrill Lynch Institutional Euro Liquidity Fund and 50 per cent in Atlas Capital's Optimum Alternative. The fund is priced weekly and will offer weekly liquidity.


MLIM worldwide is a leading provider of institutional cash funds with over USD 80bn under management across its range, which comprises funds suitable for short, medium and longer-term investment horizons.


MLIM has chosen Atlas Capital as its partner for the Optimum Libor+ Fund because of the highly diversified nature of the Optimum Alternative Fund across investment strategies, asset classes, geographical regions and hedge fund managers.


Hervé Javice of Atlas Capital said: "Atlas has the resources, capability and capacity to deliver the returns and volatility required by this product. Our funds-of-hedge-funds have demonstrated strong performance with above average returns and below average risk going back over more than fifteen years."


Background notes: Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading financial management and advisory companies, with offices in 36 countries and total client assets of approximately USD 1.6 trillion. As an investment bank, it is a leading global underwriter of debt and equity securities and strategic advisor to corporations, governments, institutions and individuals worldwide. Through Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, the company is one of the world's largest managers of financial assets. Firmwide, assets under management total USD 501 billion as at 31 December 2004.


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