Ex-Citadel Asia Event-Driven Chief To Launch Hedge Fund

May 26 2010 | 11:50am ET

The former head of Citadel Investment Group’s Asia event-driven team is launching a hedge fund of his own, also an Asian event-driven vehicle.

Simon Leversha’s Imperia Investment Group will launch its maiden fund this week. Imperia Asia Offshore Fund will hold between 30 and 40 Asia-Pacific “core investments” affected by corporate events over a three-to-six month period.

“You have 12, 13 different markets with different events going on, such as Australia’s resources tax, Thailand’s political instability, and antagonist behavior by North Korea,” Leversha told Bloomberg News. “Spreads have widened significantly in the last two weeks because of market volatility. And there has been indiscriminate selling, yet a lot of the deals are uncorrelated with each other.”

The fund will launch with less than US$10 million, all of its from partners of the Melbourne, Australia-based firm. Among those partners are former Blackstone A.M.N. Advisors managing director Amy Zhang, who will head Imperia’s China portfolio, former Ellerston Capital chief operating officer Vernon van Eck, who will have the same role at Imperia, and Citadel and Magnetar Capital veteran Hector Colon, who will run trading and technology at the new firm.

Imperia hopes to catch the growing wave of interest in event-driven funds—as does Colon’s former employer, Magnetar, which is planning an event-driven fund of its own. Such hedge funds attracted half of new investment in the industry in the fourth quarter, with a whopping 42% of investors telling Deutsche Bank in January that they planned to invest in the strategy.

Leversha spent nine years at Citadel before leaving the Chicago-based hedge fund giant four years ago. He worked in both Chicago and Tokyo, establishing and managing its Asian event-driven operations.

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