NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)-Optima Group Managing Director and Director of Research Allen Cheng plans to leave the firm, and Hal McMath, senior vice president, has been promoted to managing director.

Citing firm policy, Mr. Cheng declined comment on his future plans. Neither Mr. McMath nor Optima’s founder and managing partner, D. Dixon Boardman, could be reached for comment on the personnel changes. An outside spokeswoman for Optima said Mr. Cheng’s resignation and Mr. McMath’s promotion were unrelated events. She said she was unaware of what Mr. Cheng was going to do after leaving Optima.

In a company statement announcing the shifts, Mr. Boardman said that Mr. McMath has made “a tremendous contribution” to the firm’s asset allocation and manager selection process. “He also has been instrumental in building up our team of analysts, as well as creating a cutting-edge institutional-quality research process,” he said.

“Our research department has the depth and breadth of skills and experience necessary to grow the business,” Mr. Boardman said.

Regarding Mr. Cheng, he said, “We wish him success in the future.” Mr. Cheng joined Optima in 2000.

Optima manages US$2.5 billion in multi-manager funds, single-manager funds and custom institutional programs.

Late last year, the firm announced plans to launch a new long/short equity hedge fund focusing on the technology, media and telecommunications sector, The Perennial Growth Fund LP, and its Bermuda-registered counterpart, the Perennial Growth Fund Ltd. The manager of both is Wayne Wilkey, co-founder of Ampere Capital Management LP, New York

PBarr@HedgeWorld.com