Ex-Solly execs market new hedge fund

Two former Salomon Smith Barney executives set up a hedge fund management company in Singapore.

Two former SSB officials, Mayur Ghelani and Rahul Kumar, have established Aman Capital Management in Singapore. Marketing and fund raising for the firm's forthcoming global macro fund began last week.

Aman will be investment manager for the Global Macro Fund, which Ghelani says they hope to launch in the fourth quarter. "Kumar and I will be spending the next three months marketing," Ghelani says. "We've made a decision not to launch till we have raised an amount we're comfortable with in starting operations."

The firm is looking to hire a risk manager. "We strongly believe in the distinction between risk measurement versus risk management," he adds. "The former is a mainly a quant exercise and the latter a qualitative exercise of looking across our investment opportunities, incorporating sound risk discipline based on judgement and experience."

Aman is also looking for a quantitative analyst.

As founding partners Ghelani says a substantial amount of Kumar's and his own net worth will be invested in the fund. On a recent trip to London Ghelani says both partners met with many of the top hedge funds and also learnt how important the first six months of performance will be to the fund's future.

"Marketing has started after setting up the office and its operations in June and we look forward to confirming our first two investors in the next two weeks," he says. "We've had many calls from potential investors and will be following up with a formal pitch and an extensive marketing trip through Asia, including Australia, plus Europe and the US."

Aman will employ a global macro strategy with some regional focus in Asia. The fund will focus on global currencies, G7 rates and Asian fixed income.

Two other employees now handle the middle office and financial controls. All worked together at Salomon in Asia and Ghelani says he has personally known all of them for 10 years and worked with them for at least five of his 13 or so years at Salomon, where he worked in both fixed income and foreign exchange.

He has spent the last four years at UBS in fixed income in various senior management positions. Kumar was formerly with Salomon Brothers Asset Management and in 1995 moved to Singapore as head of foreign exchange options in Asia, working with Ghelani. Most recently, he was with Barclays in London.

The office was set up in June, after Ghelani left UBS at the beginning of the same month. Aman is now finalising agreements with service providers.

Ghelani says that UBS will most likely be the prime broker. Their fund administrator will be GlobeOp, a London-based company run by former colleagues and friends of Ghelani.

Lead legal counsel will be ASG Law in Singapore, with Maples and Calder representing the firm in London and Shearman and Sterling doing the job in the US.

Ghelani is a great believer in having as many friends around as possible at a time like this. He says that all the people the firm recruits will have worked with either himself or Kumar.

The very name of the firm is important to Ghelani. Aman, an ancient Urdu word, has many meanings but the one Ghelani likes is 'aspiration', meaning 'to long to be something'.

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