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First Avenue Partners raises capital for Brazil fund of hedge funds

First Avenue Partners has launched fundraising for Arsenal Fund, a multistrategy fund of hedge funds with a USD300m target capacity that is managed by São Paulo-based Arsenal Investimentos and focuses on Brazilian managers.

The Arsenal Fund provides investors with access to offshore and onshore Brazilian hedge fund managers active in the trading of Brazilian financial instruments, with strategies including discretionary macro, equity hedge, discretionary trading, special situations, fixed income, equity arbitrage and long/short equity. The fund is targeting annualised returns net of fees exceeding 15 per cent, with expected volatility of between 8 and 10 per cent.

Since inception, Arsenal Fund has achieved a 23.30 per cent return, equivalent to 13.5 per cent on an annualised basis. Arsenal Investimentos, which with its affiliates advise on USD1.7bn in assets, has also developed a hedge fund index tracking the independent Brazilian hedge fund industry.

According to Arsenal, there are currently 350 managers of single hedge funds in Brazil, with the number increasing steadily, while the industry's assets under management are estimated to total USD155bn.

'The team at Arsenal are highly experienced individuals with proven technical expertise and have produced consistent performance as is demonstrated by their returns,' says First Avenue partner Lorenzo Rodriguez. 'This, and the geographic opportunity, has created a compelling combination for investors.'

Roger Wright, founder and chief executive of Arsenal Investimentos and a former partner and head of sales and trading at Banco Garantia/Credit Suisse, adds: 'Brazil is among those emerging markets showing strong economic growth, controlled inflation, increased access to credit and projected continuing economic expansion.

'In addition, it is acknowledged that the hedge fund industry is small compared with the size of the total market, and therefore Brazil should be one of the most attention-grabbing areas for investors interested in emerging markets.'

The Arsenal Fund carries a minimum initial investment of USD500,000, with monthly redemptions subject to a USD100,000 minimum. Management fees are 1.5 per cent per annum and the performance fee is 10 per cent of net realised gains above six-month USD Libor with a high water mark.

Arsenal Investimentos is active in capital advisory in Brazil and offshore as well as corporate finance. It is part of a group of companies taken over by Wright in March 2006 after the Brazilian and North American businesses of Bassini Playfair Wright were separated. BPW launched in Brazil in 2002.

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