| HONG KONG
HONG KONG Top hedge funds Moore Capital, Maverick Capital, Viking Global Investors and Stark Investments are planning to open offices in Asia over the next few months to meet investor appetite for a slice of Asia's growth, bankers said.
Louis Bacon's Moore Capital, which manages $14.6 billion, is the biggest among the new arrivals. Maverick Capital run by Lee Ainslie reportedly has about $10 billion in assets, while Viking Global had $9.6 billion in early 2009.
Milwaukee-based Stark Investments saw its Asia team in Hong Kong and Singapore break away to found Orchard Capital Partners in October 2009.
Stark's founders Brian Stark and Mike Roth are assembling a new team in Asia to focus on liquid strategies, one banker told Reuters on condition of anonymity because of potential business ties with the hedge funds.
The moves come after hedge funds focused on Asia excluding Japan gained 37.4 percent in 2009, outstripping a 23.5 percent increase recorded by their North American counterparts.
Executives at Moore and Stark were not immediately available for comment, while Maverick and Viking could not be reached.
SOROS,GLG LEAD PACK
Moore and Maverick join other high-profile names that have set their sights on Asia.
Soros Fund Management, billionaire investor George Soros' investment firm, wants to open an office in Hong Kong, sources told Reuters in November.
The firm is reported to be moving James Chang, who was hired from Tiger Asia in New York, and Dai Jixin to Hong Kong to open the office by the end of March.
GLG Partners GLG.N, one of Europe's biggest hedge fund firms, said in January it was opening a research office in Hong Kong, where fund manager Anuj Mutreja was moving, and a representative office in Beijing.
While most of these funds are looking to fill research positions in Hong Kong or Singapore, there are other large U.S. and London-based funds that have decided to allot big money to Asia over the next six months, one of the bankers said.
"From an investment point of view there are a lot of opportunities in Asia. The region is much ahead of the curve in the recovery process," said Peter Douglas, principal of GFIA, a hedge fund consultant in Singapore.
"Even from a strategic point of view there may be advantages in establishing a beachhead in Asia while there is a lot of regulatory scrutiny on hedge funds in the U.S. and Europe." (Editing by Jan Dahinten)