Ex-Bear Stearns Exec. Preps India Multi-Strat FoHF

May 29 2008 | 2:00am ET

A Bear Stearns product manager is readying an India-focused multi-strategy fund of hedge funds for launch in July with between $10 million and $20 million in initial assets.

Ridaa Murad, who has built India-focused synthetic swaps, corporate finance and equities products for Bear Stearns since 2003, has set up New York-based Veda Asset Management with Bradford Matthews, who owns a broker/dealer in India.

The Veda Multi-Strategy India Fund will initially include seven managers, eventually increasing its stable to about a dozen. Most of the managers are based in India, Singapore or Hong Kong, with a few based in the U.S.

“Our strategy is to try and be as cycle- and asset class-agnostic as possible, so we’re not just equities and not just single directional,” said Murad. “We have direct lending, debt lending, convertible arbitrage and distressed-debt managers. We also have managers in the futures and options arbitrage space, private equity and real estate, as well as long/short and long-biased managers. Given the market in India, we think the opportunities are not just in one part of the market cycle and the trick to investing in India is buying the sell-off.”

The fund charges a 1% management fee and a 10% incentive fee with a $500,000 minimum investment requirement. It has a one-year lockup with quarterly liquidity thereafter. Up to one-fifth of the fund can be invested in non-liquid assets.

Murad is technically still employed by Bear to help with the transition triggered by JPMorgan Chase’s takeover. Before its demise, the pair was in talks with Bear and other banks to seed the vehicle, according to Murad, but no deal was ever completed because the fund was still in its infancy. Murad said he’s not actively looking for seed investors but will talk to endowments and family offices with distribution capabilities.

“It’s not just the money because there are enough people who would put up money for equity,” he said. “So the money has to be smart money or bring other things to the table.”

Murad and Matthews will begin marketing the fund after June 2.

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