SYDNEY (HedgeWorld.com)–ABN AMRO has bought a 50% stake in Absolute Capital Group Ltd.

Absolute Capital, which spun off from AM Corp. Ltd. in June 2001 (see Previous HedgeWorld Story), specializes in alternative investments, including funds of funds. The firm has about A$250 million (US$221 million) in assets from institutional, wholesale and retail investors in Australia and New Zealand.

As part of its investment, ABN AMRO appointed Col McKeith, head of Australian financial markets for ABN AMRO, and Gary Simon, director of new business initiatives, to the Absolute Capital board of directors. The bank also plans to name a non-executive director soon.

In a statement, Absolute Capital Managing Director Deon Joubert said ABN AMRO’s investment would help his company grow.

“ABN AMRO’s contribution from a product and governance perspective will allow us to plan our growth strategy with added confidence,” Mr. Joubert said. “We will work together to enhance the efficiency of existing products and develop new structured debt products.”

For its part, ABN AMRO officials said the stake in Absolute Capital fits with a desire to support development of the structured credit products market.

“We were impressed by what Absolute Capital has achieved in the relatively short period since its establishment,” Mr. Simon said. “This partnership combines Absolute Capital’s investment and structuring expertise with the full range of products and services offered by ABN AMRO. …”

CClair@HedgeWorld.com