NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)–Bear Stearns Cos. Inc. is participating in a Liberty Ermitage group vehicle designed to seed primarily Europe-based hedge funds.

The Strategic Partners Fund will launch with initial capital of around US$110 million and is expected to close with US$500 million in assets under management over the next year. Besides providing startup capital, Strategic Partners will assist fund managers with various aspects of their business, including risk management, service provider selection and marketing.

“We are extremely enthusiastic about entering this partnership. It enables us to form relationships with early stage hedge fund managers in the rapidly growing European hedge fund marketplace, and it further solidifies our position as one of the leading prime brokers globally,” commented Richard Lindsey, president of Bear, Stearns Securities Corp., in a statement.

“This investment demonstrates our continued commitment to the European hedge fund industry and our desire to continue to grow our global prime brokerage franchise,” he added.

Liberty Ermitage manages more than US$2.4 billion, including approximately US$1 billion in various hedge funds, and has operations in London, Bermuda, Jersey and Luxembourg. It is 100% owned by the Liberty Group, a life insurance company in South Africa and part of the Standard Bank group, South Africa’s leading bank Previous HedgeWorld Story.

CKurdas@HedgeWorld.com