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James Williams, news editor, Hedgeweek

TOBAM and Value Partners launch new funds, Matrix shuts its New European Ucits fund, May performance figures down 1.36 per cent

TOBAM, the Paris-based asset management firm established by Yves Choueifaty and colleagues in 2006 as the Quantitative Asset Management Group within Lehman Brothers Asset Management Europe, and later bought by the employees in 2008, announced this week the launch of its latest UCITS IV fund: the Anti-Benchmark Pacific ex-Japan Equity fund. The fund has been launched with seed capital from Seven Investment Management and seeks to maximise diversification across the investment universe, as represented by the MSCI Pacific ex-Japan Index, by applying TOBAM’s patented maximum diversification approach. The aim is deliver the full equity risk premium to investors and outperform the MSCI Pacific ex-Japan equity cap-weighted benchmark by 4-6 per cent per annum at lower volatility.

Peter Sleep, portfolio manager at London-based Seven Investment Management said the firm was excited to be extending its relationship with TOBAM: “The Anti-Benchmark approach and its risk/return profile are particularly attractive and relevant for our clients, who will now have the ability to access it in the Pacific ex-Japan geography.” Choueifaty, president at TOBAM, said that whilst foreign investors look to markets such Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong as a source of diversification, the market-cap weighted index in the region “is strongly biased” with hefty concentrations in a small number of sectors. “By applying the Anti-Benchmark method to this investment universe, TOBAM offers clients exposure that is both diversifying and diversified.”  

Hong Kong-based Value Partners are another firm to have announced the launch of a new fund. The Value Partners Absolute Greater China Classic fund is a Ucits-compliant version of its flagship Greater China hedge fund. Cheah Cheng-Hye and Louis So, both co-CIOs in the firm, will manage the new fund. The Dublin-domiciled vehicle gives European investors the opportunity to invest in Value Partners’ expertise of the Chinese equity markets and will follow the same investment strategy as its flagship Value Partners Classic Fund; a Cayman fund with a 19-year track record. Commenting on the launch, Timothy Tse, CEO of Value Partners, said: “Under the current eurozone debt crisis and slow global growth environment, investors are keen to explore fund products that have an Asian focus and exposure. This new Ucits fund provides investors with an opportunity to access the strong growth potential in Greater China at a relatively attractive valuation through a well-recognized, regulated vehicle.” 

Looking at performance figures for last month, both hedge funds and their onshore UCITS equivalents ended May in the red: global hedge funds pared back 1.6 per cent to leave them up 2.5 per cent YTD according to Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research. By comparison, regulated strategies were down 1.36 per cent to leave them down 0.10 per cent for the year according to Alix Capital’s UCITS Alternative Index Global. Unsurprisingly, market dislocations emanating out of Greece last month saw volatility strategies perform best: up 1.05 per cent. CTAs and FX strategies also posted positive returns of 0.66 per cent and 0.79 per cent respectively. Strategies that were the hardest hit amid the macro headwinds were Commodities and Emerging Markets: down 3 per cent and 3.69 per cent respectively. That means that this year’s best performing strategy is volatility – up 1.76 per cent – whilst the biggest laggard is commodities: down 1.82 per cent.

Finally, to book end a couple of new launches, FT Adviser this week reported that London-based Matrix Asset Management was shutting its New Europe Ucits fund following the departure of manager David Thornton. Thornton, who has more than 28 years’ investment experience, left in March. He ran the group’s New Europe hedge fund from December 2005. Matrix decided to launch a regulated version of the fund last year to comply with the EU’s Ucits funds directive but it hasn’t built momentum the way the firm would have liked. It has duly contacted the Irish Stock Exchange to delist the fund. A spokesperson said: “The New Europe fund did not reach critical mass but there will be developments in the retail business later in the year.” Already this year Matrix has seen the departure of chief executive Angus Woolhouse and chief operating officer Paul Bramley. Matrix now has three Ucits funds available to investors.    


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