Man Group Plc this week launched the Man Commodities Fund, offering institutional investors exposure to global commodity markets in a UCITS format. Man Systematic Strategies, an investment division established last year, has developed the underlying investment strategy. According to Barclays Capital Commodities Research, commodity investments in 2012 could rise to USD30-40billion on the back of strong investor interest. The new fund, launched with USD50million of seed money, will be actively traded and aim to outperform passive indices whilst also limiting downside risk. This will be achieved by taking long-only positions in the Man Systematic Commodity Index, a proprietary index composed of 25 liquid futures contracts in precious metals, industrial metals, energy and agriculture. Sandy Rattray (pictured), CIO of Man Systematic Strategies, said that more investors want to add commodities to their portfolios but there were relatively few options for them in a UCITS format. “Passive investment products like exchange-traded funds and index-linked swaps are generally poor at dealing with severe drawdowns and heightened volatility in commodity bear markets, so we think that an actively-managed, systematic approach is a better solution,” said Rattray. This is Man’s first single-manager commodities-focused fund. Scott Kerson, Man Systematic Strategies’ new head of commodities, will manage the new fund. Kerson has 17 years’ experience in commodities and systematic trading.