Martin Currie buys Sofaer Capital hedge fund assets

BOUTIQUE fund manager Martin Currie has bought the European assets of hedge fund manager Sofaer Capital for an undisclosed sum.

The deal adds approximately $280 million (191m) of assets under management to Edinburgh-based Martin Currie, boosting its "long/short" hedge fund assets under management by a third to 1.2 billion.

The two principals who manage the fund, Michael Browne and Steve Frost, will join Martin Currie in July 2010. Charlotte Dagg, the investment analyst working on the fund, is expected to join later in the year.

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Martin Currie has been running hedge funds since about 2000. Allan MacLeod, managing director of Martin Currie, said the acquisition was strategic and added a European product to the firm's existing China and Japan funds.

He said: "The chance to bring on board a very strong team was attractive.

"On top of that by buying the business we have critical mass which will allow us to build more quickly than simply bringing on people."

MacLeod brushed away concerns the firm's expanded European operations would be hampered by new legislation, the Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers, currently making its way through the European parliament.

"We will have to embrace and adapt rather than fight against it," he added. Sofaer, which was founded in 1986 by Michael Sofaer in Hong Kong, said the firm would be "withdrawing from European fund management".

David Helm, chief executive of Sofaer Global Research (UK), said: "We have been giving consideration to the scaling down of our operations from the UK for some time and this transaction effectively delivers that."