Gougenheim eyes $250 mln for Glasnost hedge fund

LONDON, July 13 Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:43am EDT

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LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) - Hedge fund veteran Philippe Gougenheim has raised $80 million for a new fund launch and says investors are poised to commit more money if initial returns are good, in a sign some start-up managers can still attract cash in a nervy market.

The former head of hedge funds at Swiss fund firm Unigestion told Reuters the fund could roughly triple in size within six months if performance gets off to a strong start after its planned September launch.

"We'll have $80 million on day one. We have a very strong pipeline, and if we do what we've said we're doing for the first two or three months, then after six months I think we'll be closer to $250 million," he said.

"We don't have any real track record, so some people would like to see us managing money for real. They're very pleased with the paper (or pre-launch trial) trading."

The fundraising comes as many start-up hedge funds struggle to attract investors, who often prefer the perceived safety of bigger, better-known names.

Many commentators put the critical asset level for a hedge fund firm at around $100 million - a level at which they are likely to be profitable and also have a better chance of attracting big, institutional investors.

According to Hedge Fund Research, 304 new funds were launched in the first quarter, while 232 were liquidated.

Swiss-based Gougenheim first told Reuters in January of his plans to launch a highly liquid global macro hedge fund.

The Glasnost fund, named after the former USSR's 1980s policy of openness and transparency, would be "everything that hedge funds are not - liquid, transparent, with a focus on capital protection", he said at the time.

Gougenheim previously managed Societe Generale's proprietary trading team and chaired the investment committee at Man Investments, part of Man Group Plc.

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