Martin Asset Management launches alternative energy fund

Tarzana, California-based Martin Asset Management has announced plans to launch the Ilios Alternative Energy Fund, a long-biased investment with between USD10m and USD15m in assets, and is sub-advising an ETF-specific strategy, the Integris Global Index Plus Fund, to be launched at the end of March.

Ilios will invest in a range of public companies involved in wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass energy, and will hedge certain exposures using inversely correlated ETFs. 'We don't use leverage, derivatives or futures because they're added risks to the portfolio,' says founder Francisco Martin. 'We use a lot of PowerShares's ETFs to get downside protection when we deem it necessary.'

Martin says the fund is investing in companies such as First Solar, a product manufacturer for solar power plants, because of the performance of its stock and the fact that it 'probably has the best track record of all the solar energy companies out there.'

He also says investors are looking for more alternative energy funds as oil prices top the USD100 a barrel mark. 'We're seeing USD115 to USD120 per barrel, which will make alternative energy more feasible.'

The fund charges a 2 per cent annual management fee and a 20 per cent incentive fee with a USD500,000 minimum investment.

Martin is also sub-advising on the upcoming Integris Global Index Plus Fund, to be launched at the end of March with USD10m in proprietary capital. Martin says the fund will seek to replicate the performance and risk levels of the HFRI Index by going long and shorting certain ETFs.

Thirty per cent of the fund will be a global, macro opportunistic strategy that will 'add alpha to the beta', he says. The Integris fund charges a 1 per cent annual management fee and a 15 per cent performance fee.

Francisco Martin, who launched Martin Asset Management in February last year, was a co-founder of MAM Wealth Management in Los Angeles, which currently manages USD124m in separately managed accounts.

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