Firm Looks To Japanese Pensions With New Fund Of Funds

Nov 1 2010 | 12:35pm ET

New York-based AIFAM Inc. has launched a fund of hedge funds targeting Japanese pension funds.

The long/short equity strategy isn't new to the US$600 million firm—it has run managed accounts using it since 2006, earning between 2% and 3% annually. Now the firm, which is based in New York but boasts Tokio Marine Holdings as a major minority investor, is hoping to ramp up both the strategy and its performance.

The AIFAM Hedged Equity Fund is targeting returns of about 6% per year, founder Takuma Aoyama told Bloomberg News. The fund, which debuted with US$17 million in proprietary capital yesterday, hopes to raise US$50 million by the end of the first quarter and US$150 million in its first year.

"Japanese pension funds are faced with serious problems," Aoyama said. "We're not making any promises that we're going to offer a fund that will not be affected by the market moves at all, but instead, we're going to offer a fund that will allow investors to shrink their losses with the same capital they may invest in other asset classes."

The new fund has a capacity of about US$1 billion and invests in between 12 and 15 underlying global long/short managers, including some sector-specific managers. It will steer clear of emerging managers and those with long lockups, with a goal of being able to liquidate the entire portfolio in a month.

The fund will charge no performance fees, to avoid incentivizing its management team to take greater risks.

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