Segantii soft closes Asia hedge fund at $620 mln, hires 8

HONG KONG, June 26 Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:26am EDT

HONG KONG, June 26 (Reuters) - Segantii Capital has soft closed its Asian hedge fund, one of the best performers in the region, and hired at least eight staff in 2012 to help manage expanding assets.

The Hong Kong-based firm is turning away new investors, a practice known as soft close in the industry, after tripling assets to $620 million in the last one year, Chief Executive Kurt Ersoy confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday.

Only about 5 percent of Asia-focused hedge funds manage $500 million or more. The milestone is keenly watched by the relatively small regional industry because it is considered a reflection of the ability of money managers to attract institutional investors.

Hedge funds close doors to investors for fear that running bigger assets would harm returns.

Investor interest in Segantii's fund, launched in 2007 by the former head of Asian equity trading for HSBC Securities Simon Sadler, has surged following a 41 percent gain last year and a 3.1 percent increase in 2012 through the end of May.

Peers as measured by the Eurekahedge Asian index fell 8.2 percent last year and have gained 1.3 percent so far in 2012.

HIRING SPREE

Segantii had earlier closed the fund to external investors between September 2009 to the end of 2010.

The latest soft close comes as the hedge fund builds out its team to handle increasing assets.

The eight staff hired this year includes Factorial Management executive Lewis Fellas, Ersoy said.

Factorial, a hedge fund launched in January by former DKR Oasis bookrunner Barun Agarwal, has replaced Fellas with Irina Heumez, who earlier worked at Barclays Plc.

Segantii hired former Credit Suisse executive Kirtes Bharti as head of financing in April.

Wei Huang, who earlier worked for Barclays Plc, joined in May.

Other hires this year include former Bank of America Corp executive Daniel Ho, Kisalaya Singh, who previously worked at Frontpoint, and former Mizuho Securities executive Maximillian von Etzdorf.

Kong Yu, who had worked for Daiwa Capital Markets, and Martin Goulet, a former senior analyst at Caliburn Capital Partners, have also joined Segantii.

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