Maso, Red Cliff among start-ups launching in November

November 01, 2012  

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Several new Asian hedge fund start-ups are launching either in November or in early December, buoyed by improving sentiment and expectations of clearer market direction once the US presidential elections are over.

These include Maso Capital’s event-driven convertible bond arbitrage fund; Tristar Capital’s multi-strat vehicle; Arena Capital’s Japan focused long/short fund; and Red Cliff Asset Management’s macro fund.

Hong Kong-based Maso is spearheaded by two former managing directors at Och-Ziff Capital Management, Manoj Jain and Sohit Khurana.

The group is understood to be launching with at least $100 million in early December, but aims to raise as much as $250 million by year-end. Sources say the team, which numbers around seven to eight people, has been hiring from other event-driven funds recently.

Red Cliff Capital, which is spearheaded by former JPMorgan Hong Kong traders William Lee Kei-leung and Ju Min Chul, is understood to be launching with around $15 million, according to sources.

Both Lee and Ju worked together at JPMorgan before establishing Red Cliff which received its asset management license from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission in August this year. Lee confirmed that the launch will take place on 1 November, but declined to give any details about the fund.

Lee used to run the Asia-Pacific equity derivatives team at JPMorgan while Ju specialises in fixed-income and had previously worked at Lehman Brothers.

One allocator described Red Cliff’s strategy as similar to that of Singapore-based RV Capital which is run by a former Morgan Stanley trader, but with a greater focus on volatility.

Other funds that AsiaHedge earlier reported as launching in August include Arena Capital, which is spearheaded by Toby Bartlett – who, before establishing his own hedge fund, worked at Highbridge Capital managing the Japanese equity portfolio for Carl Huttenlocher’s highly successful multi-strategy fund.

One of the most awaited funds this year is the multi-strategy vehicle of Tristar Capital, founded by two Hong Kong-based former Citadel executives, David Noh and Adwait Masurkar.

Prime brokers and fund administrators say the environment for start-ups is improving from the difficult conditions of the last few months, with managers becoming increasingly optimistic about their ability to raise capital for new ventures.

In August and September, a number of start-ups opted for soft approach for their fund launches and often relied on their own capital to start trading. One leading prime broker says that his firm is anticipating more robust allocations from investors after the US elections, but does not expect a significant pick-up in activity until the early part of next year.

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