Baring Asset Management (BAM) has launched the Baring EMEA Absolute Return Fund, its third long/short equity hedge fund.
The fund, managed by Marina Akopian, is specifically designed for institutional investors to make use of BAM's proven investment skills in the region and will aim to add alpha from both sides of the book while providing a degree of downside protection.
BAM believes that the transitional stage of development in which the EMEA economies find themselves, characterised by political disturbances, regulatory difficulties and company specific discrepancies, are contributing to investor sentiment and present opportunities to go short for those investors with the most appropriate and robust in-house research capabilities.
"The EMEA markets are among the fastest growing economies in the world with GDP growth rates estimated to be around 4.5 per cent per annum for the next ten years, compared with an expected average of 2 per cent per annum for the EU15 countries," says Marina Akopian, fund manager of the EMEA Absolute Return Fund. "This part of the world is undergoing a transformation towards market reforms, social and political development, and also provides a significant opportunity to take advantage of available resources, both natural and human.
"Based on these opportunities we have adopted a strategy which allows us to short selected securities so we are able to add alpha for our investors by taking strategic positions on certain stocks within a concentrated portfolio. Another great advantage of the EMEA markets is their low correlation to the US, European and Asian markets. Investing in this EMEA region through a long/short strategy can add value in addition to providing diversification," she adds. "Similarly, investors should not view the EMEA region as uniform as correlations within the portfolio is also low."
BAM has one of the most experienced EMEA teams in the market with a cumulative experience in excess of 40 years, The company manages over USD 2 billion in assets in dedicated Emerging European mandates and has five EMEA specialists with an average of nine years' investment experience. The team will be providing both long and short ideas for the fund with the ultimate decisions resting with Marina Akopian as manager of the fund.
Prior to joining Baring Asset Management, Akopian was an investment manager at Rexiter Capital Management, a specialist emerging markets subsidiary of State Street Global Advisors, where she was responsible for stock picking in Russia and Eastern Europe. She was also actively involved in an emerging markets hedge fund product. Prior to that, Akopian spent five years at Pictet where she specialized in Russian and Eastern European debt and equity. She has an MA in Economics from the Russian Economic Academy.
Background notes: The Baring EMEA (Emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa) Absolute Return Fund plc is an Open-ended investment company authorised in Ireland as a designated investment company pursuant to the Companies Act, 1990, Part XIII.
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