British hedge fund Man Group lifted by net inflows

LONDON (Reuters) - Man Group EMG.L, the world's largest listed hedge fund, reported a 3 percent rise in total assets in the first-quarter after net inflows of $4.8 billion (£3.3 billion) more than offset performance losses.

Shares in the British hedge fund rose 6.2 percent by 0830 GMT after analysts said the inflows could be the start of sustained demand for Man Group’s diverse strategies, including equity, fund-of-funds and computer-driven trading.

Total assets under management reached $112.7 billion by the end of March, up from $109.1 billion at Dec. 31, the group said on Thursday.

Chief Executive Luke Ellis cited continued client demand for Man Group’s alternative risk strategies, with flows returning to its European long-short strategy betting on both rising and falling prices.

Assets rose modestly compared with a year ago, when Man Group registered a 10 percent first-quarter increase.

The group’s strategies lost $1.8 billion in the first three months of 2018, with the biggest losses in quantitative and Japan-focused plays. The Japan Core Alpha Equity Fund lost 7 percent.

CEO Ellis had said in February that recent market moves had affected the group’s investment performance in some areas, particularly for momentum strategies.

However, some long-only and long-short plays generated returns. The GLG European Long Short Fund, for example, made a gain of 3.8 percent.

After a pullback in the company’s shares after full-year results, analysts described the net inflows reported on Thursday were exceptionally strong.

“Today’s update reaffirms the strength and diversification of the group’s investment and distribution franchise and should, we think, prove a catalyst for a more constructive approach,” Credit Suisse said in a note.

Assets rose mainly in “alternative risk premia”, an automated investment style, but also thanks to the launch of a $400 million European credit product and modest flows into computer-driven and discretionary long-only funds.

Man Group also announced its intention to buy back up to $100 million of shares and said it continues to review potential acquisition opportunities.

Reporting by Maiya Keidan; Editing by Susan Fenton and David Goodman