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Cumulus appoints director of meteorology and climate research

PCE Investors has appointed Dr Warwick Norton as director of meteorology and climate research to work on the Cumulus Weather and Cumulus Energy funds, which apply weather derivatives expertise to equity and commodity markets.

Norton joins the Cumulus team from the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology, a world-leading centre of excellence in the atmospheric sciences, having previously conducted research at both Oxford and Cambridge universities as well as at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

Says Cumulus chief investment officer Peter Brewer: 'Thanks to excellent performance, the Cumulus Funds are growing very rapidly and we've expanded the team accordingly.' The two Cumulus Funds have approximately USD77m in total assets under management, with the Cumulus Energy Fund doubling in size in each of the last three months.

Both funds are near the top of their respective league tables (event-driven and commodity trading) with net returns of 14 per cent so far this year for the Cumulus Weather fund and 22 per cent for the Cumulus Energy fund.

'Warwick brings 18 years experience of atmospheric physics, meteorology and climate research,' Brewer says. 'We first started working with him four years ago on a consulting basis and are delighted to have such an eminent scientist joining us full-time.

'Several fund management groups are seeking to take advantage of climate change investment opportunities, but none have our blend of investment track record, scientific credentials or practical experience advising over 150 leading international companies on weather risk management.'

Says Norton: 'Cumulus is recognised as the leader in its field and I'm delighted to be joining the team at this exciting stage of its development.' The Cumulus analysis team has also expanded with Dr Phillip Anderson now working alongside Dr John Mortimer and Dr Brendan McCarthy, who joined founders Peter Brewer, James Hulse and Dr Joaquin Narro over the last year.

The multi-strategy Cumulus Weather Fund, launched in October 2005, applies weather derivatives expertise to equity and commodity markets, opening positions only when weather and fundamental signals are aligned. The fund targets a 20 per cent return with 12 per cent annualised volatility and low correlation to equity markets.

The Cumulus Energy Fund replicates the energy trading strategy of the Weather Fund, focusing on European downstream commodities, such as electricity and carbon emissions. The fund trades commodity futures, swaps and options, targeting high returns with low correlation to commodity market indices and other energy funds.

PCE Investors, which is authorised by the UK's Financial Services Authority and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US, is an investment management business that seeks to provide a hedge fund infrastructure, giving managers the financial and administrative freedom to implement investment strategies by allowing them to focus on portfolio management rather than administration, significantly reducing funds' costs, and facilitating fund raising and investor relations.

At the beginning of May assets managed on the PCE Investors platform totalled more than USD915m in strategies including weather-related event-driven (Cumulus Weather Fund 1 and Cumulus Energy); green technology and emissions trading (Carbon Trading Fund); global utilities long/short (Utilities and Visibility Fund); private equity natural resources (CD Capital); European utilities long/short (Medea Pan-European Fund); European equity small and mid-cap long/short (Celeste European Small & Mid Cap Fund); European equity small cap long/short (Gugner Long/Short Fund); European financials long/short (Abaco Financials Fund); global macro (Cadwyn Global and Global Essential Fund) and Japanese equity long/short (Akamatsu Fund).

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