London-based hedge fund manager Polar Capital has appointed Alastair Smith, who was until recently head of European and Middle East hedge fund sales at Société Générale Asset Management, to its sales team to lead the development of US and Swiss business.

Smith, who has more than 15 years of experience in hedge fund sales, previously spent five years at Aspect Capital as a director and head of sales and investor relations. Earlier he was business development manager at GAM and head of intermediary sales at Man Group.

'We are delighted to welcome Alastair to our sales team,' says Polar Capital chief executive Mark Kary. 'He has a great deal of experience in hedge fund sales internationally that will prove invaluable in driving the overseas growth of our business. We are now fully resourced to deal with the significant asset-raising in the pipeline for 2008 and the expansion of our geographical presence.'

Polar Capital describes itself as a research-driven investment management firm that offers an entrepreneurial environment for portfolio managers. Its objective is to achieve strong, sustainable earnings and dividend growth through a diversified family of long-only, long-bias, equity long/short and other fundamentally-driven hedge fund strategies.

The firm has a staff of 62, including 35 investment professionals, at offices in the UK, Singapore, Tokyo, Moscow and Jersey. Polar Capital manages 16 funds, one managed account and two advisory relationships with combined assets under management of USD3.6bn at the end of last year for institutional and professional investors.

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