Maltese Hedge Fund Industry Growing

Dec 19 2012 | 10:26am ET

A tiny Mediterranean island is becoming an increasingly popular hedge fund center.

Malta saw the number of hedge funds domiciled there grow by almost 30% last year, with further growth seen this year. All told, at the end of last year, 700 funds with €8 billion in assets under management called the island, about 50 miles south of Sicily, home.

That isn't much, but the Malta Financial Services Authority said that the island has attracted companies from the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Luxembourg. And Malta, a European Union member, has been attracting hedge fund back-office operations at an even greater pace, with at least a dozen major U.K. hedge funds setting up shop.

BlueGold Capital Management, Clive Capital, Comac Capital and Liongate Capital Management are all serviced in part from Malta. One Maltese lawyer, James Farrugia of Ganado & Associates, told Bloomberg that if such firms' funds were domiciled in Malta, the island would be home to as much as €80 billion in hedge fund assets, about half the total currently residing in Luxembourg.

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