Here come investible Asian hedge fund indices

Eurekahedge and Maxam are creating an alternative to Asian funds of hedge funds.

Eurekahedge Advisors, the Singapore-based independent hedge fund research firm, has teamed up with the founder and former chairman of Tremont Capital Management in order to launch a series of investible hedge fund indices.

Sandra Manzke, who founded Tremont in 1984, pioneered funds of funds and, in a joint venture with CSFB, the first asset-weighted index of hedge funds in the United States. She left Tremont early this year to found Maxam Capital Management, a registered investment advisor in Darien, Connecticut with $1.3 billion of committed assets under management.

The MaxEureka series will provide the first regional indices alongside established global products such as the CSFB Tremont. The partners are launching three indices covering Asia (including Japan, Australia and New Zealand), Japan and emerging markets.

Each will take the top-50 hedge funds based on assets under management, using Eurekahedge's database of 9,500 funds globally.

Alexander Mearns, managing director of products at Eurekahedge in Singapore, says this is based on the firm's conclusion that outside of the US and Europe, larger hedge funds have outperformed small ones. It is also easier for hedge funds in Asia, Japan and emerging markets to create managed accounts and handle larger inflows of capital in markets where capacity constraints can be larger.

Maxam will handle marketing the products. Eurekahedge preferred to work with someone with deep hedge fund experience like Manzke, rather than an investment bank with big distribution but less industry knowledge. Eurekahedge had been looking for partners a year before it decided to team up with Manzke.

The indices are primarily targeted at American and European investors who like the Asia or emerging market story but would like a structure that is stable - without the higher fees of a fund of funds. They formally launch in January.

Given the Eurekahedge Asian hedge fund index has returned an annualized 11% since it launched in 1999, versus an average annualized return of 3.5% for the firm's Asian fund-of-hedge-funds index, the partners believe that their indices will offer a compelling alternative to the current funds of funds - which until now have been the global investor's only way to obtain a diverse exposure to Asian hedge funds without having to research the individual managers.

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