Ex-JPMorgan Asia Derivatives Chief Plans Hedge Fund

May 2 2012 | 9:29am ET

JPMorgan Chase's former Asian equity derivatives chief will launch his own hedge fund as soon as later this year.

William Lee, who left JPMorgan in February after 17 years with the bank, plans to roll out an Asia-focused relative value fund. The fund will invest in China, Australia, Japan, Korea, its Hong Kong home base, India, Singapore and Malaysia, as well as in the U.S., to hedge risk. The vehicle could debut as soon as November, and will target returns of between 12% and 18% annually.

As befits the man who helped set up JPMorgan's equity derivatives business in the region 12 years ago, the new fund will invest in stocks and derivatives, as well as currencies and bonds.

"It will be very similar to my trading background," he told Reuters.

"A lot of retail investors who buy structured products only care about whether the markets go up or go down," Lee told Bloomberg News. "It creates a value for us to get in."

Lee said his strategy could manage up to US$2 billion, although he did not say how much he hopes to raise. His new firm will have at least five staffers at launch, and he told Bloomberg that he's in talks with some former JPMorgan colleagues about joining his venture.

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