HSBC launches new hedge fund with USD 50 million seed capital

HSBC Halbis Partners launched its latest hedge fund, the HSBC Distressed Opportunities Fund, on 1 March 2006 with USD 50 million in seed capital.

The fund, which aims to generate absolute returns with low volatility, will be managed by Kim Golden CFA, manager of the distressed debt portion of the firm's multi-strategy arbitrage fund. He will be assisted by Noel Hebert CFA, who was recently hired from Palisades Capital.

The new fund will manage a diverse portfolio, which balances true distressed debt with more liquid high yield securities - a strategy that mirrors that employed by the existing distressed debt portion of the multi-strategy fund.

'The default rate in the distressed market troughed in 2005 and in December alone we saw a USD 9 billion spike in new supply,' says Kim Golden, managing director. 'Through the remainder of 2006 the default rate should continue to trend up and we are ready to be opportunistic.'

Prior to joining HSBC in 2004, Golden, a former officer at the US Treasury in the office of International Monetary Affairs, was the Managing Director of the T Rowe Price Recovery Funds. He honed his valuation skills at Chemical Bank (Now JP Morgan) before joining HSBC from Velo capital where he was Assistant Portfolio Manager, having formerly served as a telecoms, media and technology analyst for credit rating agency Moody's Investor Service.

The HSBC Distressed Opportunities Fund is the sixth fund offered by the Alternative Investments team of HSBC Halbis Partners, HSBC's specialist fundamental active investment business, which was created in May 2005.

'We have a top notch team of fixed income talent on a global scale,' says Gregg Dilberto, CEO of HSBC Halbis Partners, USA. 'Kim and Noel clearly exemplify these strengths; their unique portfolio which affords investors monthly liquidity is evidence of our investment in innovative products.'

The fund was backed at launch by USD 50m of HSBC investment capital. 'This marks HSBC's largest commitment to our hedge fund platform to date - further evidence of the firm's confidence in our ability to deliver,' says Chris Cheetham, CEO of Halbis Partners. 'We are very excited by this timely launch.'

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