Sparx Says ¥5 Trillion Target A Pipe Dream

Jan 26 2009 | 2:06am ET

Asia-focused hedge funds have suffered disproportionately amidst the economic crisis even compared to battered hedge funds around the globe. The grim reality of the situation has forced the continent’s largest hedge fund manager to begin thinking smaller.

Sparx Group acknowledged that it will not achieve its goal of having ¥5 trillion (US$56.4 billion) in assets under management by March 2011. The Tokyo-based firm has been wracked by investor redemptions and poor performance in recent years, leaving it with just ¥753 billion (US$8.5 billion) at the end of last year, down from its peak of ¥2 trillion (US$22.5 billion) in August 2006.

“Realitstically, it’s going to be extremely tough” to get to ¥5 trillion, CEO Shuhei Abe admitted to Bloomberg News last week. “Redemptions have peaked, but it doesn’t change the fact we still face very difficult times.

The firm has been slashing costs and cutting jobs. It closed its London-based unit and has cut back on its U.S. operations, and Abe said it might offer additional voluntary retirement packages, on top of the 20 announced in October.

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