U.K. Firm Launches MENA Hedge Fund

May 7 2008 | 8:57am ET

London-based Insparo Asset Management this month is unveiling its maiden hedge fund, an Africa & Middle East offering. The fund will launch with US$125 million and is being seeded by Michael Spencer, founder of inter-dealer broker ICAP Plc, and an unnamed U.S. financial consultant.

The Insparo Africa and Middle East Fund is a multi-strategy vehicle investing in various sectors including infrastructure, agriculture, metals and mining. It will also invest in listed and unlisted equities, hard currency denominated loans and bonds, and local currency denominated loans and bonds.

The fund is managed by the firm’s principals, Mohammed Hanif, who was previously responsible for emerging market distressed debt and special situations at Bluebay Asset Management, and Francis Beddington, the former head of research at Standard Bank. It is expected to raise in excess of US$300 million from funds of hedge funds, private banks, family offices, individuals and pension funds.

“The Middle East and Africa offers strong potential returns with low correlations to both developed and other emerging markets,” said Beddington. “It is growing faster than any region except Asia yet most global emerging markets funds are still significantly underweight. Opportunities in Africa are huge. Not investing in Africa is like ignoring emerging markets in the 1990s, Southeast Asia in the 1970s or Japan in the 1950s. It is the last frontier.”

The fund has a management fee of 2% and a performance fee of 20%.  It is domiciled in the Cayman Islands and has a minimum investment of US$1 million.

 


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