Nara Capital launches 'new alternatives' drive with asset-based lending strategy

Geneva-based Nara Capital, established last October to offer institutional investors access to so-called 'new alternative' hedge fund strategies, has announced the seeding by a group of European-based family offices of a first product focusing on asset-based lending strategies.

Headed by managing partners Dominique Grandchamp and Louis Zanolin, the firm plans to launch a series of funds of hedge funds exploiting emerging and under-researched investment themes such as trade finance, asset-based lending and investing, physical commodities trading, shipping and weather derivatives, and insurance-linked and risk-transfer strategies.

Before founding Nara Capital, Grandchamp was co-manager of a large fund of hedge funds broadly invested in asset-based lending strategies for Peak Partners, a Swiss-based fund of hedge funds manager formerly known as Harcourt Partners, while Zanolin was the firm's managing partner, senior hedge fund advisor and member of the investment committee.

'Regulatory changes coupled with the current situation in the credit market will force companies to look for alternative type of financing such as asset-based lending, which will increasingly be provided by hedge funds rather than banks,' Grandchamp says.

'We strongly believe that the emergence of new alternatives is only at its beginning and that the trend will continue for many years to come. Nara is a specialised boutique fully committed to this space.'

Adds Zanolin: 'We are very pleased with the support we received from the group of family offices, which have seeded our first fund and are fully committed to new alternatives and to supporting us along our growth path.

'This allows us to concentrate on managing the portfolios and consolidate our infrastructure. It is our intention to gradually open the fund to selected institutional investors as the portfolio reaches its mature size.'

Nara Capital boasts a team of seasoned professionals with significant research and investment experience, and manages a range of portfolios and customised mandates for institutional investors that seek exposure to new alternatives but lack the expertise to do so internally.

According to Grandchamp and Zanolin, new alternatives are less crowded investment themes that offer higher alpha generation potential than most conventional investment styles while exhibiting low, if any, correlation to traditional asset classes.

At Peak Partners, which is also based in Geneva, Grandchamp managed the firm's allocation to asset-based lending, asset-based investing and insurance-linked strategies, and was a member of the executive committee of several of the company's funds.

Having begun his career as an auditor and financial consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, he subsequently headed the quantitative analysis department for Harcourt Investment Consulting between 2002 and 2007.

Zanolin started his career as co-founder of an investment advisory firm that launched a fund of hedge funds specialising in CTA managers between 19098 and 2001, and then became head of hedge fund research with Agora Capital in Geneva. At Peak Partners he was a member of the investment committee and was also in charge of client advisory.

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