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Thames River Capital

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LONDON (–Thames River Capital, a US$1.5 billion hedge fund manager, hired Rod Birkett to lead a team that will launch a Japanese long/short vehicle before the end of the 2002.

Mr. Birkett, previously head of J.P. Morgan Fleming Asset Management’s investment trust division, is slated to start full-time at Thames River in September. Prior to J.P. Morgan Fleming, Mr. Birkett covered Japanese markets for UBS Warburg.

“We had been looking to do something in Japan but found it challenging because there is surprisingly something of a shortage of available people with sufficient experience in investing in Japan,” said Edward Morse, a director at Thames River. “Rod is highly experienced, and we liked that his track record on the long-only side showed strong performance even in declining markets, showing good downside protection,” he said.

Mr. Birkett’s immediate task will be to help recruit other members of the Japan team at Thames River, according to Mr. Morse.

In addition to the long/short strategy, a long-only Japan fund is also being considered.

Meanwhile, the firm also is planning an emerging markets fund that will focus on investments in Turkey. That fund is expected to be operational in a matter of months.

“On the emerging markets side, up until now, there has been an emphasis on Eastern Europe at Thames River. But our goal is to extend our capabilities in other markets, which might be achieved by bringing in new managers or finding new teams,” Mr. Morse said.


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