'Goldfinger' Firm Mulls Metals Hedge Fund

May 17 2012 | 1:23pm ET

ASA Gold and Precious Metals may get into the hedge fund business, more than 50 years after it started to trade gold-linked securities.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company has run a closed-end fund listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 1958, but may branch out into hedge funds. CEO David Christensen told Hedge Funds Review that the firm is mulling the launch of a flexible long/short hedge fund that would invest in metals and mining stocks, derivatives and physical markets.

"We would look to hedge the fund's exposure to the price of gold and other precious metals and participate in idiosyncratic stories in the mining, exploration and refining companies," he said.

ASA already boasts hedge fund managers Philip Goldstein of Bulldog Investors and Andrew Pegge of Laxey Partners on its five-member board. The firm, which manages $600 million, is also considering other new product launches.

The firm was founded in 1958 by metals and mining magnate Charles Engelhard, said to be Ian Fleming's inspiration for the James Bond villain Goldfinger. ASA is an internally-managed fund, meaning that its investment adviser is part of the closed-end fund; if it were to launch a hedge fund, fee income would go to the closed-end fund and, through it, to the closed-end fund's investors.


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