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Comment: Oz funds fight back

The latest hedge fund performance update notes that Australian hedge funds climbed for a second consecutive month in January, according to the Australian Fund Monitors Index - despite the local regulator's unexpected decision last month to maintain its ban on the short-selling of financial stocks.

The index, which tracks the performance of 201 hedge funds managed within Australia, gained 0.7 per cent last month, compared with a 4.9 per cent slide by the nation's benchmark stock index, according Australian Fund Monitors. The index rose by 0.1 per cent in December, although Australian hedge funds dropped 18 per cent over last year as a whole.

Do hedge fund managers in the Asia-Pacific region have an edge over the their colleagues elsewhere in the world in terms of performance? Back in mid-2007 - just before the credit crunch erupted - Melvyn Teo, director at the BNP Paribas Hedge Fund Centre at the Singapore Management University wrote that funds managed from Asia outperformed those managed from the US and the UK.

"A local informational advantage manifests in Asia and this translates to differences in risk-adjusted returns between nearby and distant fund portfolios of around 2 per cent and 4 per cent per year," Teo wrote.

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