LONDON (HedgeWorld.com)–Philippe Huber, Alex de Korodi and Daniel Del?chat will launch a new Japanese equity market-neutral fund for HSBC Alternative Investments Ltd.

The team will be lead by Mr. Huber and will be based in London. All three join HSBC from Mizuho Bank, Zurich, Switzerland, where they ran a Japanese equity proprietary portfolio.

The Japanese Market Neutral Fund is the second of a planned rollout of several new funds in 2003, which began with the HSBC Continental European Market Neutral Fund in January. The European fund opened with US$10 million in seed capital with plans to reach a target size of US$400 million. Portfolio managers Vincent Borgeois and Michael O’Mara were hired in 2002 in advance of the launch.

Bill Maldonado, chief executive of HSBC Alternative Investments Ltd., described the latest hires in a statement: “The mixture of skills in this new team and the extensive track record and experience of the individuals will enable us to deliver a high quality product to our customers.”

Mr. Huber has more than 15 years of experience in Japanese equities. He joined Fuji Bank in 1998 and was later promoted to head of Japanese equity capital markets for Mizuho Financial Group. Mr. de Korodi brings strong analysis skills to HSBC from Mizuho where he worked with Mr. Huber as an equity analyst since last year. Mr. Del?chat complements the team with strong trading skills. He joined Mizuho from UBS Private Bank in Geneva where he specialized in Japanese equities and derivatives, international convertible bonds, and structured products.

The Japanese Market Neutral Fund is the fifth hedge fund launch for the HSBC Alternative group. The firm’s European market-neutral fund, along with merger arbitrage, U.K. market neutral, and global asset allocation funds, have more than US$500 million in assets.

HSBC’s hedge fund effort was formalized under Mr. Maldonado last year and gained regulatory approval from the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority in December. The firm caters to clients in the United States, Asia, the United Kingdom and Europe.

SBarreto@HedgeWorld.com