HSBC's Alternative Fund Services has received Bank of Italy approval to open a custody operation for alternative investment funds in Milan.


Paolo Lippolis has been appointed Manager for HSBC's Alternative Fund Services and will be based in Milan overseeing the development of the office, which includes acting as custodian for local hedge funds and funds of hedge funds with immediate effect, and recruiting a team of accounting specialists to offer fund administration outsourcing services from early next year.


HSBC globally has over 40 years' knowledge and expertise in alternative fund administration. It will use this global reach to support and encourage the hedge fund market in Italy, which grew by 180 per cent last year.


Paul Smith, Global Head of Alternative Fund Services, said: "We're delighted to have Paolo Lippolis join our team as he is a prominent figure in the industry locally and will be the best representative to drive our business in Milan. Italian hedge funds have a lot of potential for further growth and the opening of the office means we're well placed to apply our expertise and knowledge to help the local industry develop and mature."


Lippolis added: "New Bank of Italy regulations, issued in April 2005, allow managers to outsource the calculation of the net asset value of their funds to their custodian. This is an important step for the Italian funds industry and will encourage growth in outsourced fund administration."


HSBC's Alternative Fund Services provides fund administration for hedge funds, fund of funds, multi manager, private equity funds, emerging markets funds and real estate funds from 12 key financial locations globally.  As at 31 April 2005, it has USD178 billion in assets under administration and services 1,829 funds.  HSBC's Alternative Fund Services previously formed part of Bank of Bermuda's Global Fund Services.  The Bank of Bermuda Limited was acquired by HSBC in February 2004.


HSBC's Milan subsidiary will leverage the expertise of the Luxembourg operation, which has been servicing alternative funds for 18 years and will act as a core-processing centre for Italian funds providing sub-custody and net asset value services.


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