The first few weeks of 2005 have seen a number of significant launches of hedge funds focused on Asia.
* Gartmore has launched an Asia-Pacific quantitative hedge fund that targets market-neutral long-short equities, excluding Japan. Managed by Luke Smith, the AlphaGen Crucis fund is aimed at fund of hedge funds, private banks, family offices and institutional investors. The new launch by Gartmore is expected to be the first of several this year.
* The asset management arm of China Everbright has launched its first hedge fund product. The Dragon Fund, a greater China multi-strategy fund, was launched in early January with USD 40 million of seed capital invested by China Everbright. The fund is managed by Frank Ren, who was most recently a manager at RHG Capital, and will have a bias towards the long/short equity strategy but the portfolio will include other instruments such as fixed income and currencies.
* John Li Huaizhong, one of the pioneers in China's fixed income market, has launched a multi-strategy hedge fund targeting the full range of China-related securities. The company, Qinhan Capital Management, is domiciled in Delaware and headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey, but has recently opened its Shanghai branch office. The Qinhan China fund seeks absolute returns via long/short strategies in convertible bonds, equities, fixed income, closed-end funds and overseas-listed securities of Chinese companies.
* ABS Investment Management LLC has launched a new equity long/short product focused on low-risk, low-volatility equity investment. ABS Alpha Limited is the second new product launched by the hedge fund of funds in the last two months. It launched ABS Offshore Limited, a portfolio dedicated to Asian equity long/short funds, at the beginning of January.
According to fund administrators and prime brokers, 2005 will see a significant number of Asian hedge fund launches by local investment houses, start-up managers, and overseas investment managers extending their product ranges to include Asia.