Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company, an Irvine, California-based fund of hedge funds manager with USD9bn in assets has announced the recruitment of the investment team of KBC Alpha Asset Management, a USD700 million Asia-focused fund of hedge funds manager.

KBC Alpha was established in 2001 by chief investment officer Neale Safaty as the fund of hedge funds division of KBC Alternative Investment Management. The fund investment team will be integrated into Paamco's global portfolio management team and will initially operate as a separate division within the firm known as Pan Asia Alpha Strategies.

'Despite the recent turmoil in the financial markets, we continue to take a long-term, strategic view,' says Paamco chief executive Jane Buchan. 'The integration of Pan Asia Alpha Strategies into Paamco's global operations gives us the ability to tap into a team of experienced and talented individuals with extensive experience across Asia, and to enhance further our clients' exposure to hedge funds in this important and developing region.

'We welcome Neale and his team and are very pleased that the clients of KBC Alpha, which include some of the world's largest pension plans, have shown their confidence in Paamco by endorsing the transition of their portfolios to our institutional platform.'

Safaty says: 'We believe that we have found an ideal match with Paamco. Our experience, expertise and strong client base complement each other well. We feel it is the right fit for our clients and the team, and will help us to continue to develop the business.'

The move of the KBC Alpha's transfer to Paamco follows the decision of Belgian parent company Kredietbank Cera earlier this year to focus on its core business. KBC Alpha, which has offices in London, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore, manages multistrategy funds of hedge funds that invest throughout Asia for Japanese, European and North American clients.

Five people including Marc Towers, who heads operational due diligence, and David Walter, head of research, will join the offices of Paamco Asia in Singapore and will report to director and sector specialist Kemmy Koh. The remaining four members of the KBC team, including Safaty, will join Paamco's London office reporting to office head and managing director Stephen Oxley. Pacific Alternative Asset Management Company has a global staff of 120, including around 30 investment professionals.


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