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Blacksquare Capital launches commodity fund of hedge funds

London-based alternative asset manager Blacksquare Capital has launched the Blacksquare Capital Commodity Fund, a concentrated long/short fund of funds that allocates its assets to between 10 and 15 commodity and natural resource hedge fund managers.

The new fund is Blacksquare's third investment product, following the Access Fund, a Caxton-only fund of funds launched in March 2006, and the Global Macro Fund of Funds, launched in January this year.

According to Blacksquare, the Capital Commodity Fund allocates its assets to some of the most experienced and best-performing commodity and natural resource managers, many of whom are otherwise closed to investment.

They pursue directional and relative value trading strategies within the world's commodity markets, primarily utilising futures and options but also include stocks, bonds and currencies.

Risk management at the fund and underlying manager level is focused on capital preservation and the portfolio is allocated to optimise returns, risk and low correlation among managers.

'We see great opportunities in the commodity and natural resource sectors,' says Blacksquare chairman Madilean Coen. 'The Capital Commodity Fund will allow investors to diversify their investment portfolio into an asset class that historically has demonstrated a low correlation to stocks and bonds as well as providing an effective inflation hedge.'

'We believe that the meteoric growth of emerging economies such as China, India and the Middle East and their resultant demand for energy, food, and base metals are combining to create a long-term, sustainable commodity super-cycle that may last well into the next decade.

'The commodity universe is currently producing many attractive investment opportunities by comparison with other assets classes that have typically underperformed in an inflationary environment.'

The Blacksquare Capital Commodity Fund is available in US dollar, euro and sterling share classes, and targets a 15 per cent compounded return. It offers monthly subscription and redemptions at 90 days' notice, and charges 1 per cent and 5 per cent incentive fees. Blacksquare provides investors with full portfolio manager transparency and weekly NAV estimates.

The firm specialises in sector-specific multi-manager investment products with managers who have demonstrated superior risk-adjusted returns throughout a variety of market conditions, and serves primarily institutional clients such as private banks, wealth management firms and family offices.

The US dollar class of the Blacksquare Capital Access Fund, which invests in four Caxton funds, returned an estimated 0.91 per cent net of all fees in May, following finalised performance of 0.82 per cent the previous month, bringing performance for the year so far to 1.38 per cent. The share class returned 3.21 per cent last year and 5.94 per cent over 10 months of 2006.

Although in May the Access Fund underperformed the HFRI Fund of Funds Composite Index and the Eurekahedge Fund of Funds Index, which reported returns of 1.76 and 1.75 per cent respectively, it has outperformed both indices over the first five months of 2008 by around 2.5 per cent.

Blacksquare has also announced the recruitment of Richard Sherwin as a director and portfolio manager from JP Morgan Private Bank, where he spent two years as head of fixed income, commodities and foreign exchange for Europe, Middle East and Africa, responsible for strategy, product origination, fund management and trading.

He was previously a Japanese, European and US fixed-income specialist with Citigroup, responsible for the marketing and execution of debt-related trading strategies with hedge funds based throughout the world. He began his career working for Japanese securities brokerages before joining Salomon Brothers as a fixed-income specialist in 1994.

'Richard has a wealth of experience within fund management,' says Blacksquare chief executive Christopher Peel. 'His expertise in global fixed income and strong contacts within the market complement the skills of the partners and will be instrumental in our strategy to continue building innovative, sector-specific multi-manager investment products.'

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