Fortune launches South African hedge fund of funds for international investors

Fortune is making the Mayibentsha Opportunities Fund available to overseas investors through a Cayman Islands-registered entity, Fortune Funds Ltd.

The hedge fund of funds, which was launched in April 2003 for South African investors only, will be available internationally from March 2006, offering three different classes - USD Series, Euro Series and GBP Series. Exposure to the Rand is hedged out on a monthly basis, while Rand exposure classes are also available in all three currencies. The initial minimum subscription is USD 50,000.

The move is a result of Fortune's on-going joint-venture with South Africa's Novare Investments, a leading investment advisor and investment manager, part owned by South Africa's largest black-owned quoted company, Mvelaphanda Holdings, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Novare currently manages approximately USD 1 billion of assets including the Mayibentsha Fund, the largest multi-strategy portfolio of hedge funds investing exclusively in South Africa with USD 138 million under management.

Fortune and Novare have been working together for the last 18 months to build a joint platform for the development of investment solutions and their collaboration has already encompassed personnel exchanges and cross marketing initiatives.

Since 1 April 2003 to 31 December 2005 the Mayibentsha Fund GBP series would have returned 15.24% per annum with volatility of 3.77% per annum. Over this period the maximum drawdown was 1.15%.

The South African market recorded a bumper year in 2005 with the FTSE/JSE All Share Index gaining 47%. The local economy was supported by historically low interest rates and inflation, which surprised on the down side. GDP grew by 5% in 2005 and government is targeting growth of over 6% by 2010.

The robust South African economy has already led to significant direct investments by foreign players like Barclays and Vodafone. Foreign investors invested more than RAND 50 billion in South African equities during 2005.

Committed investments by government of over USD 60 billion over the next three years on infrastructure will support growth in years to come, while the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa will further enhance economic growth. The Rand has also been a lot more stable in recent times due to macro economic conditions.

'We believe Mayibentsha provides international investors the opportunity to gain exposure to South Africa through a well managed portfolio exposed to the best hedge funds in South Africa,' says Derrick Roper, CIO of Novare.

Simon Hopkins, CEO of Fortune, adds: 'South Africa is a developed financial market within a burgeoning new economy. The financial community is highly sophisticated with many local participants having held senior roles overseas before returning home. We have been impressed with Novare's ability to deliver exceptional returns over the last 33 months with far less volatility than the local stock market.'

Background notes: Fortune is a London-based alternative asset management firm, with offices in Geneva and New York. Since 1996, Fortune and its sister company, Global Fund Analysis, have been pre-eminent names in manager selection and fund evaluation in the alternatives arena. Using the resources of GFA, Fortune manages one of the top performing hedge fund of funds, The Market Wizards Fund and a family of strategy specific and multi-manager hedge funds on a proprietary as well as an advisory basis for leading institutional clients. Fortune is authorised by the Securities and Futures Authority in the United Kingdom. Today the firm overseas over USD 1 billion of hedge fund investments. The firm is staffed with seasoned investment professionals including Nancy Curtin, former head of investments, Schroders and Jack D Schwager, an industry veteran, whose prolific knowledge of hedge funds strategies has been illustrated in his Market Wizards books as well as Schwager on Futures. A team of in-house analysts led by Richard Tarvin brings a wealth of experience and expertise

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