The Isle of Man has succeeded in attracting Bridge Asset Management, a specialist in emerging markets, to establish operations on the island as part of a strategy led by Isle of Man Finance, the government's promotional organisation for the industry.
Bridge Asset Management will base operations including its middle and back office and trading execution in the Isle of Man, while the fund adviser will be based in Bridge's head office in London's Mayfair.
The Isle of Man is encouraging fund managers to move a least part of their operations to the island in tandem with its relaunch of the jurisdiction's regulatory regime for alternative funds, which is due to come into force next month. Isle of Man Finance says that in moving its operations to the Isle of Man, Bridge can take advantage of the strong regulation, robust infrastructure and cost-effective base that the island offers businesses.
Partners Nick Corby, Gary Cressman, Aelita Arampova and Mark Slater established Bridge Asset Management in August. The firm's first fund, Bridge Global Opportunities Fund was launched earlier this month.
The event-driven fund, which is set up as part of a Cayman Islands segregated portfolio company, will concentrate on special opportunities within emerging markets. Over time, Bridge plans to increase the size of its operations on the Isle of Man as other fund strategies are added.
'We are delighted to welcome Bridge Asset Management,' says Brian Donegan, director of foreign direct investment at Isle of Man Finance. 'The establishment of this high-calibre organisation is a testament to our new dynamic funds regime and a further indication of the success of the model developed from our recent strategic review of the sector.
'There is tremendous scope for the international hedge fund manager community to base a substantial part of their operations in the Isle of Man. We anticipate that our new funds initiative will accelerate growth in the number of hedge fund managers coming to the island. We are confident of reaching our target of USD50bn funds under management and USD100bn of funds under administration by 2010.'
Slater, Bridge's general counsel, adds: 'When we formed the business we were presented with a number of choices in the decision of where to base our management services. In the end the choice was simple.
'The Isle of Man authorities were eager to assist us in the establishment of operations and the process of gaining the requisite licenses was extremely efficient and prompt. The prevailing 'can do' attitude and professionalism is impressive.'
Bridge's establishment in the island's capital, Douglas, follows the announcement last week that another new hedge fund manager, Pelham Capital Management, will split its operations between London and the Isle of Man.
Pelham, headed by Ross Turner and Hadyn Cunningham, opened an office in London in July and is launching a long/short European equity hedge fund on November 1, with a target of raising USD500m million from institutional investors.
'The Isle of Man offers an investment grade location for hedge fund managers, and the dual attraction of experienced staff and a competitive cost base make the it a perfect location for our growing business,' Turner says. 'Further attractions for us are the island's tax neutral environment, strong regulatory reputation and its close proximity to our London office, within the same European time zone.'
Isle of Man Finance is the promotional division of the Treasury Department of the Isle of Man government, responsible for assisting new financial services businesses to establish themselves on the island, international media relations, international marketing and supporting existing Isle of Man financial services business.