New Hedge Fund, Unscathed By Earthquake, Begins Fundraising Push

Apr 26 2011 | 12:15pm ET

A Japanese hedge fund launched late last year more than weathered last month's massive earthquake and tsunami as it seeks to attract millions of dollars in new investments.

Sherp Alternative Advisors' Developed Asia Gamma Strategy Fund returned 5% last month, Bloomberg News reports, even as Japanese stocks tumbled in the wake of the earthquake and ensuing nuclear crisis.

The fund credited its big gains last month to its investments in Nikkei 225 Index options.

"We are in an interesting time where we have to expect the unexpected as we saw with the disaster in Japan," managing director and co-founder Ken Fukui told Bloomberg. "The investments to buy downside protections before the earthquake contributed to the return in March."

The Gamma Strategy fund launched in September with "a few million dollars." Sherpa, which has held discussions with Japanese financial institutions about selling the fund, hopes to raise about ¥10 billion by the end of the year.

"The fund aims to win a place where investors will see it as a good protection for downside risks," Fukui said.

Fukui set up Sherp last year with Go Horiuchi, a former derivatives trader at Nomura Holdings. Fukui's resume boasts time as chief investment officer at GCI Asset Management and a fund manager at Sparx Group, Asia's largest hedge fund manager.


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