Baring Asset Management is launching its third long/short equity hedge fund,  the Baring EMEA Absolute Return Fund.


The fund will be available to institutional investors and HNWIs from 1 November 2005, subject to regulatory approval. It aims to deliver returns in excess of 20% p.a. with volatility of around 15%. The fund will be managed by Marina Akopian, who joined Baring Asset Management in December 2004.


Akopian said: "The intrinsic volatility of the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)
markets provide an ideal match for our absolute return strategy. A long/short equity approach allows us to use our superior stock selection in the region, whilst providing a degree of downside protection.


"The long term investment case for the region is very strong, so we will have a natural long bias. However we will also selectively short securities when there are distinct opportunities to profit from declining share prices. We will not generally employ futures edging strategies, but short single stocks to generate alpha when appropriate ".


Ian Pascal, Marketing Director at Baring Asset Management, said:  "We have a long history of investing in Eastern Europe, and have delivered strong and consistent performance to investors in the region. This fund is a natural extension of the skills of the team, in an area which holds considerable investment promise. I believe our history and experience in the region gives us a key competitive edge in these markets."


"We are one of the largest investors in the EMEA region, managing almost US$2 =billion in a range of Eastern European equity funds, with US$1.4 billion* in our flagship  Baring Eastern Europe Fund alone. We expect the level of interest in the Baring EMEA Absolute Return Fund to be extremely high, and have set a cap for the fund at US$250 million to preserve performance"


The fund is the third long/short equity fund, following the launches in July this year of the Baring Japan Absolute Return Fund, and July last year of the Baring China Absolute Return Fund.


Prior to joining Baring Asset Management, Akopian was an investment manager at Rexiter
Capital Management, a specialist emerging markets subsidiary of State Street Global Advisors, responsible for stock picking in Russia and Eastern Europe.  At Rexiter she was also actively involved in an emerging markets hedge fund product.  Akopian previously spent five years at Pictet where she specialized in Russian and Eastern European debt and equity.  Marina has an MA in Economics from the Russian Economic Academy.


Whilst it is intended that the Baring EMEA Absolute Return Fund plc be authorised in Ireland as a designated investment company pursuant to the Companies Act, 1990, Part
XIII (as amended), it has not yet been so authorised.



 


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