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New Firm Forms from Consultancy Partnership

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LONDON (–io Alternative Strategies has partnered with sister company PSolve Asset Solutions to create PSolve Alternative Investments, which will manage io Investors’ funds of hedge funds.

According to a statement, PSolve, a U.K. investment consultant group, saw greater demand for hedge funds and anticipated that a greater portion of returns from the hedge fund sector will come from strategy allocation, which is io’s specialty.

The move coincides with the departure of former io Chief Investment Officer for alternative strategies Chris Jones, who will leave on Jan. 1, 2005, to become chief investment officer at Key Asset Management.

At Key, Mr. Jones will work with other io staffers who are making the transition to Key in coming months (see ).

Mr. Jones decided to seek a pure investment role rather than one with management responsibilities, io officials said in a news release.

Mr. Jones’ duties will be assumed by Soondra Appavoo, who is now managing director of PSolve Alternative Investments. Mr. Appavoo is the only member of the core io Investors alternative investment strategies team that has stayed. He joined io Investors in 2003 to focus on alternative asset product development.

“The hedge fund investment expertise of io and the implementation skills of PSolve will be a unique combination,” Mr. Appavoo said in a statement. “As part of PSolve, this new division will allow both institutional and retail clients to access the hedge fund asset class in a dynamic fashion and in a way that recognizes their investment needs.”

PSolve will manage two existing hedge funds of funds: the io Low Volatility Fund and the io Defensive Equity Fund. The Dublin-listed funds total US$220 million in assets. The low volatility fund focuses on market independent and arbitrage hedge fund strategies, while the defensive equity fund invests in equity long/short hedge funds.

Gavin Orpin, currently a principal at PSolve Asset Solutions and head of bond and hedge fund research, will join PSolve Alternative Investments as investment director.

Also as part of the transition, Scott Gibb of London-based Hichens Investment Management will join the team as a senior analyst. Hichens, like PSolve, is a division of PSigma Investments Ltd. PSolve officials expect further senior appointments as the firm increases its resources dedicated to alternative investments.

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Contact Bob Keane with questions or comments at: [email protected].