Outgoing Unigestion Hedge Exec. Readies Liquid Fund For Launch

Jan 26 2012 | 1:27am ET

Unigestion hedge fund chief and former Man Investment senior portfolio manager Philippe Gougenheim plans to launch his new firm’s first hedge fund this summer.

Gougenheim hopes to raise at least US$50 million for the Glasnost fund. The Cayman Islands-domiciled vehicle will focus on liquidity—investors will be able to redeem their money weekly with three days’ notice. It will invest in futures and options, targeting 10% to 12% returns.

“My idea is to be everything that hedge funds are not: liquid, transparent, with a focus on capital protection,” Gougenheim told Reuters.

“I hate losing money and am always very quick in taking my losses,” he continued. “My culture, my DNA, is really in capital protection.” The Glasnost fund, expected to debut in June, will aim for a maximum 12-month peak-to-trough loss of 2%.

The liquidity has a further benefit: It will allow Gougenheim to steer clear of politically-driven market swings. “If there is a big meeting” of European political leaders, “I can liquidate all the positions just before the meeting,” he said.

“I suspect we’ll have an environment similar to what we’ve had last year,” Gougenheim told Reuters of the fund’s prospects. “I think I’ll add a lot of value by being very reactive in terms of risk management. In this type of environment, there will be lots of opportunities with big macro trends over the medium to long term and a lot of short-term events.”

Gougenheim will formally leave Unigestion at the end of the month. Prior to joining the firm, he worked at Man and Millennium Capital Management, as well as at Société Générale and JPMorgan Chase.

To run the new fund, Gougenheim Investments will field a team including a portfolio manager, chief operating officer and a marketing professional. All are currently at other jobs until their bonus checks clear, Gougenheim said.

Once Glasnost is up and running, the Swiss-based firm plans to launch a Luxembourg-domiciled version of the strategy for European institutional investors. That fund is expected within the next 12 months.

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