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Monks, Higgins Planning Long/Short Equity Fund

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PORTLAND, Maine (–Attorney, businessman, author and shareholder activist Robert A.G. Monks is teaming up with his nephew and Ram Trust Services Inc. president and director, John Higgins, to start a long/short equity hedge fund.

Mr. Higgins said he and his uncle began incubating the fund with their own money about 10 months ago. The portfolio includes 10 long and 10 short positions, which he said should capture a market neutral rate of return.

Since the two men began incubating the fund with less than US$1 million, it has earned about 10%. Mr. Higgins said he and Mr. Monks also have been pleased with what they see as the return’s lack of correlation with traditional markets and with the fund’s volatility.

If things continue to go well, the two may launch the as-yet unnamed fund within the next six months or a year. They likely will offer it to select clients first and later include outside clients and institutional investors, Mr. Higgins said. The eventual size of the fund will depend on the capitalization size of the companies in its portfolio.

“It’s all going to be determined by how comfortable we are with what we’re doing,” Mr. Higgins said.

The fund seeks to identify companies that outperform for its long investments and companies that underperform in which to take short positions. To find these, Messrs. Monks and Higgins run various bits of information through their own set of investment parameters.

When the fund launches, Mr. Higgins will manage it while Mr. Monks will advise.

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