Battered But Unbeaten, Sparx Offers Two New Funds

Jun 30 2009 | 2:17am ET

In recent months, the news from the Sparx Group was all about cutbacks. But Asia’s largest hedge fund firm is also growing, in certain areas.

The embattled firm, which posted a ¥23.3 billion (US$224.3 million) loss in the year ended March 31 and has announced a series of layoffs and retrenchments, has launched a new fund and is planning a second new offering, its first-ever global macro fund.

The Tokyo-based firm plans to market the global macro fund to institutional investors over the next few months, Bloomberg News reports. Firm president Shuhei Abe, who in recent months has shuttered Sparx’s U.S. business and London office, said the size of the new fund is still being worked out.

“We’ve been dependent on my past experiences in the equities market, but after the struggle we’ve gone through last year, we’re starting to utilize other expertise to expand the scope of our products,” Abe told Bloomberg.

Some of that new expertise comes from a pair of proprietary traders Sparx added last year from an unidentified firm.

Sparx isn’t completely abandoning its traditional long-biased strategy. The firm yesterday launched the third so-called “baby” hedge fund based on its Sparx Japanese Stocks Long Short Strategy Mother Fund. The new fund, which raised about ¥250 million from institutional investors, is Sparx’s first new offering in six years. About 80% of the fund’s assets will track the mother fund, with the rest invested in index futures and other securities.

Sparx said it hopes to increase the fund’s size to ¥2.5 billion within five years.

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