Martin Currie to Launch European Hedge Fund with F

EDINBURGH, Scotland (HedgeWorld.com)--In June, Martin Currie will launch its fifth long/short equity hedge fund with the help of Mike Nicol, a portfolio manager who joined from SVM.

The Martin Currie European Absolute Return Fund will focus on continental Europe using an investment strategy similar to that of the Highlander European long/short equity fund, which Mr. Nicol managed from its launch in 1999 through late December 2002. The only difference is that the new fund will focus exclusively on continental Europe.

Mr. Nicol joined SVM in 1998 as a portfolio manager and has almost 20 years experience managing European equities. Colin McLean, founder of Edinburgh-based SVM, managing director and chief investment officer, has taken over the pan-European portfolio after Mr. Nicol's departure last year. After joining Martin Currie from Societe Generale, Dino Fuschillo will be the new fund's co-manager.

Martin Currie officials plan to expand the firm's hedge fund business through the European fund, according to an announcement. The firm already has four equity long/short funds investing in Japan, the United Kingdom, Asia and China totaling US$300 million in assets and 8.5 billion euros (US$9.2 billion) in total assets under management.

As part of the hedge fund asset gathering effort, Martin Currie has signed a private placement and seeding agreement with Fortune Asset Management, London. In the past, Fortune has signed similar agreements with funds such as Lazard European Opportunities and SVM's Highlander.

Fortune is providing US$20 million in seed capital from investors and co-seeders. Co-seeders have the added incentive of getting 100% of the return of the fund in addition to a pro-rated portion of half of the revenues of the Martin Currie hedge fund.

As part of the agreement, Fortune will assist in finding investors around the world for the Bermuda-domiciled fund, which will also be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The Martin Currie European Absolute Return Fund will be marketed to institutional investors, funds of funds and private banks, said Simon Hopkins, managing director of Fortune.

SBarreto@HedgeWorld.com

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