Asian macro hedge fund winds up

One of Asia''s most successful start-ups returns money to investors amid rumours its founders are joining hedge fund giant Tudor Investments.

Investors in Pagoda Advisors, a Singapore-based Asian macro fund, say the fund is in the process of winding up and returning capital to its investors. A number believe its two founders, Ian Emmett and Julian Reiss, have been recruited by US-based Tudor Investments, although neither man was prepared to comment at this stage.

Since its launch less than a year ago, Pagoda has been viewed as a rising star of an industry traditionally dominated by equity long/short managers. The young hedge fund has seen steady returns and raised significant assets over the last year, recently hitting the $150 million mark.

The move has consequently come as a surprise to some industry participants, who thought Pagoda was set for a promising future. Its macro fund had quickly reached enough critical mass to allow managers to make significant profits - a process that can take up to two years for the average start up.

"An international hedge fund like Tudor must have offered the Pagoda managers a proposal that was too good to refuse," says one investor.

Market speculation suggests the international hedge fund involved is US-based Tudor Investments. Founded by Paul Tudor Jones II in 1980, the fund currently manages over $9 billion.

Industry participants say Tudor has been actively looking at expanding its operations into Asia and has been scouting the market for fund managers with a prop trading background. Prior to setting up Pagoda, Emmett was head of CSFB's prop trading desk in Singapore, and Reis worked on the Asian relative value prop desk at Deutsche.

"Global funds are increasingly looking at expanding into Asia as markets are less mature here and can offer greater opportunities to generate alpha," says one industry consultant. "Picking up a fully functioning, experienced team with a proven track record of generating returns would seem like an easy way to ensure a smooth expansion into the region."