Macquarie advances on alternative investment fronts

It closes a real estate fund and begins a hedge fund incubator programme.

Macquarie Bank has expanded its alternative investment products on two separate fronts, launching both an Asia-heavy real estate fund as well as starting a global hedge fund incubator programme in Australia.

Macquarie Global Property Advisors, a $3.1 billion, Bermuda-based private equity group owned by senior management and Macquarie Bank's property investment banking division, closed the Macquarie Global Property Fund II after raising an additional $1.3 billion, well in excess of its $750 million target. The new fund will have over $5 billion in buying power and has already closed on two investments in Tokyo worth $219 million.

The fund has both an Asian and a European component, both seeking value-added and opportunistic real estate assets in office, retail, residential, industrial and logistics sectors, says MGPA CEO James Quille.

Meanwhile in Sydney, Macquarie Bank is fostering the next generation of Australian hedge fund managers with a new incubator programme. The bank already offers funds of hedge funds. Now it has taken a minority stake in two local hedge funds, providing infrastructure, marketing and other support, says Jonathan Hall, division director in the bank's equity markets group.

The two managers are Argus Capital Management, a diversified global futures trader, and Caravel Asset Management, a quantitative global equity markets manager. Argus, run by Steven Biggs, has a nine-year track record operating three strategies trading over 70 futures markets, and has produced a compound annual return of 20.9% since October 1996. Caravel is led by Mathew Jeremy, a Brisbane-based veteran institutional asset manager.

Jonathan Hall adds these agreements will help ensure the bank's funds of hedge funds has sufficient ongoing capacity to offer investors a broad range of products.

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