Martin Currie boosts hedge fund activities

Image caption, Willie Watt said it would boost Martin Currie's European expertise

One of Scotland's leading investment houses has expanded its hedge fund activities by acquiring a business with £190m under management.

Edinburgh-based Martin Currie Investment Management said it had taken over equity trade specialists Sofaer Capital European.

The new money under management is split between Sofaer Capital's European Hedge Fund and another two separate accounts.

It adds to Martin Currie's existing hedge fund of £820m.

The principal investment managers behind the Sofaer fund, Michael Brown and Steve Frost, are to join Martin Currie in July, while the investment analyst working on the fund, Charlotte Dagg, is due to join later this year.

While the hedge fund set up by Michael Sofaer in 1983 returns to its Hong Kong roots, the acquisition of its European business follows staff expansion by Martin Currie in recent weeks.

In 2009, it made a pre-tax profit of £21m, and by April this year, it had £11.64bn under management for clients including financial institutions, charities, foundations and pension funds.

Chief executive Willie Watt said the Sofaer acquisition reflected a business culture that is attractive to employees.

He said: "We view the market dislocation as an opportunity to attract the world's best talent.

"This acquisition enables us to further strengthen our expertise in European equities, fill an obvious gap in our long/short equity business and add substantial assets under management to our hedge fund business."

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