South Korea-based Truston Asset Management is preparing to launch a pan-Asia long/short equity fund from its Singapore office reported AsianInvestor this week. Hwang Sung-taek, co-founder and CIO of the USD5.5billion asset manager said he felt it was the right time to launch what will be the firm’s second hedge fund: its first, the Dynamic Korea Fund, a Korean LSE fund, was launched in 2009. Hwang was referring not to the market but more to the firm’s confidence in managing such a product “and that we have the risk management skills required for a long/short fund”. The new fund will be called the Falcon Asia Fund. Truston has hired Edward Choi as portfolio manager from Elmwood Advisors, a Singapore-based asset manger where he worked as a Korean equities analyst. Hwang said the new hedge fund would play a small but important role in building Truston’s overseas presence. The firm aims to grow its AUM by USD2billion in 2012. The portfolio will use market neutral strategies and have an average net long exposure of 10 per cent across approximately 40 positions. The reason for not choosing Korea from which to manage the fund is because Truston expects the initial wave of investors to be foreign said Hwang, who clearly considers Singapore a better option. He said that Korean institutions aren’t yet ready to accommodate 2/20 hedge fund fees although he does expect them to eventually become clients.