Polar Assets Keep Rising, Firm Plans Expansion

Jun 23 2010 | 7:10pm ET

Polar Capital’s assets rose by two-thirds during the year-ended March 31, as the London-based hedge fund beat analysts’ profit forecasts. The firm also announced ambitious expansion plans, despite warning of a “challenging” year ahead.

Polar’s assets soared to US$2.5 billion from US$1.5 billion at the end of last March. The firm, which managed as much as US$4 billion at the end of 2007, saw its assets under management rise 15% during the first quarter, thanks to client inflows. Those inflows have kept its assets steady, despite performance losses of US$150 million in April and May.

The firm also managed to top profit expectations. Still, its £3.1 million in pre-tax earnings was 75% less than its profit a year ago.

Meanwhile, Polar CEO Tim Woolley said that the firm wants to double the number of strategies it manages over the next three years, and is looking for possible hires—or acquisitions. Woolley said the firm hopes to add one or two teams per year.

Polar currently has six strategies in its stable, and wants to increase that to between 10 and 12.

The big plans were tempered by the somewhat gloomy forecast the firm offered in its earnings statement.

"There remain substantial economic and political issues for the markets to deal with and further weakness in markets cannot be ruled out," it said. "We would expect the external environment to remain challenging during much of fiscal 2011."

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