Swiss-based Salus Alpha, one of the world’s leading UCITS investment managers, is gearing up to launch an Asian Equity L/S UCITS fund in the New Year. Targeted for Q1 2011, the fund is expected to have an Asia ex-Japan mandate, although no details regarding fund size are known at this stage. Speaking to Hedgeweek, Salus Alpha CEO & CIO, Oliver Prock, confirmed that the fund would not launch until 2011 as they were still looking for a suitable Asian distributor. As is typical of all Salus Alpha funds, the Equity L/S newcits will use a concentrated portfolio of 30 to 40 stocks, and will, given liquidity restrictions, only look to invest in mid-large cap companies. “All market sectors will be considered although I’m a little bit scared of real estate so we will look to exclude real estate-related companies from the portfolio,” said Prock, adding that the fund’s team would consist of one colleague in Hong Kong and two in Lichtenstein. Unlike the majority of UCITS funds that choose Dublin or Luxembourg to domicile, the fund will be domiciled along with the rest of Salus Alpha’s funds in Austria. UCITS are beginning to gain traction in Asia and Prock suggests why: “In terms of business, Asia is built on reliability. My sentiment is that Asian investors accept UCITS because of the liquidity and reliability inherent in its structure.” In Prock’s opinion, Asian fund managers and investors are already well educated about UCITS. “I very much expect to see more Asian UCITS next year, there’s a lot of interest across all strategies from Asian fund managers. Hong Kong seems to be developing a core UCITS market,” added Prock.