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Bramdean to list diversified fund of alternative funds

Bramdean Asset Management, the multi-manager investment business headed by Nicola Horlick, has announced plans for a new stock market-listed fund of funds that will offer a globally diversified range of alternative investments including hedge funds, private equity and specialty asset classes such as infrastructure, real estate, natural resources and structured finance funds.

Bramdean Alternatives, a Guernsey-domiciled closed-ended investment company incorporated on January 5, is planning a full London Stock Exchange listing early next month through an international placing and UK offer, which close on June 29. Dealings in shares are scheduled to begin on July 9. Cenkos Securities is the corporate finance adviser and global bookrunner to the company and Simmons & Simmons is its legal adviser.

The company's board consists of five non-executive and independent directors: former 3i Group chief executive Brian Larcombe; Ceasar Anquillare, chairman and chief executive of private investment bank Winchester Capital; Peter Barton, a former corporate lawyer, head of European financial institutions at Lehman Brothers and chief operating officer for investment banking at Robert Fleming; former Allied Irish Bank chief executive Michael Buckley; and Nicholas Moss, a founding member of Virtus Trust in Guernsey.

Bramdean was established in 2004 by Horlick, who is chief executive, after high-profile spells as a managing director of Deutsche Bank-owned Morgan Grenfell Investment Management and as chief executive of SG Asset Management.

According to Bramdean, the launch of the fund has been prompted by growing investor interest in allocations to alternative investments. Although the fund is aimed at institutional and sophisticated individual investors, it is likely to attract interest from retail investors who can gain access to alternative asset classes through products that are actively traded on an exchange.

Bramdean says the innovative features of the fund, which will be managed by Horlick personally, include exposure to a range of different alternative investments within the same fund and to managers with a track record of impressive returns, along with low correlation between the portfolio's assets and to traditional asset classes, and the fact that the fund will offer daily trading.

Ahead of the fund's launch, Bramdean Alternatives has a portfolio of commitments to closed funds. Its existing commitments to private equity funds include Terra Firma Capital Partners III, Thomas H. Lee Equity Fund VI and Coller International Partners V, and the firm says investments in speciality funds have also been made or are in the process of being finalised.

The portion of the fund allocated to hedge fund investment will be managed by the Nassau, Bahamas branch of RMF Investment Management, part of the listed UK hedge fund manager Man Group.

Bramdean says the fund is also seeking to address the dilution of returns caused by holding amounts of capital that have been committed to private equity but not yet drawn down by the underlying funds. The firm has identified transitional investments with similar characteristics to private equity as well as others designed to preserve the committed capital.

Says Horlick, 'The time is right for alternative investments to be moiré readily available to investors beyond very wealthy and institutional clients. For some time it has been clear that there is increasing investment demand for alternative assets, and the performance of pension funds that have embraced this asset class demonstrates why alternatives deserve serious consideration.

'Our fund is managed by highly-qualified investment professionals with considerable expertise and knowledge. The structure we have created will remove many of the obstacles that investors have found in trying to access these asset classes in the past.'

The fund will also be available to investors through an offshore bond wrapper offered by Axa Isle of Man. Clients of financial advisers and other intermediaries will be able to invest in the fund through an Axa life fund that can be held with the insurer's range of offshore bonds.

Says Axa Isle of Man managing director Kevin Dean: 'We are very excited to be able to offer our offshore bond investors exclusive access to this highly innovative and unique investment opportunity. The launch of this fund is in response to increased demand from our clients to provide access to the alternatives arena.'

According to Dean, the minimum investment of GBP1,000 removes a barrier to investment and enables a wider range of investors to access high quality funds and fund managers across the alternatives sector worldwide.

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