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New Star opens hedge fund horizons

New Star Asset Management has opened the New Star Japan hedge fund to high-net-worth retail investors and institutional investors.

The fund is a Bermuda-based long and short equity fund that offers investors a choice of two currencies, dollar or yen. It aims to produce growth for investors in all market conditions and will focus mainly on Japanese mid-caps. It has been managed using seed money since April 2002, but now it has built up a short track record, New Star is opening it up to a wider client base.

The fund is managed by Michelle Sanders and Alastair MacGregor, who currently manage the Japanese portfolio of New Star&#39s pan Asian hedge fund. Sanders has more than 14 years experience of Japanese equities and has also worked as Kleinwort Benson Investment Management. MacGregor has five years experience of Japanese equities, including two years managing Japanese hedge funds.

Japan&#39s corporate restructuring is seen by New Star as the ideal platform for a long and short equity fund. The Japanese market is complicated, since Government reforms have not materialised, but growth in export business and increased consumer spending has helped stave off a recession.

Hedge funds can exploit these factors through going short, although this may represent high risks for investors if the wrong stocks are chosen at the wrong time. As a single hedge fund concentrating on around 80 stocks, it also lacks the diversity of a hedge fund of funds. It is likely to be of interest mainly to institutional investors who require an adventurous addition to a large well-diversified portfolio.

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