EDINBURGH, Scotland (HedgeWorld.com)–Martin Currie Investment Management Ltd. plans to launch a new China-based hedge fund, the Jayhawk China Fund, under the umbrella of the Martin Currie Absolute Return Funds, a spokesman said.

Chris Ruffle, who studied Chinese at Oxford and Japanese at Sheffield, will manage the Jayhawk fund, according to Ross Leckie, director of communications for the firm’s headquarters in Scotland.

Mr. Leckie also said that Martin Currie has been doing “enormously well” this year. The fiscal year that ended Monday saw Martin Currie bring in “a billion pounds sterling in new business,” much of which is in the far east but, “its all over, it depends on the account, the mandate.” Martin Currie, he said is having “a great year, we’re hiring people–not letting people go.”

Martin Currie’s first hedge fund, a Japan long/short equity fund launched in July 2001, closed to new investors this July, with close to US$200 million under management. It will continue to accept new money from current investors up to an assets under management ceiling of US$300 million.

Martin Currie believes that successful money management requires experience in the relevant region, and Mr. Ruffle (assisted by a team of four analysts) has plenty of that. He has worked in the Far East since 1983. He joined Warburg Securities in 1987 as an analyst in their Tokyo office, then headed their Taiwan operation in the early 1990s. He joined Martin Currie in 1995.

Martin Currie Absolute Return Funds is listed in Dublin and domiciled in Bermuda, Mr. Leckie said.