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Pioneer to expand in hedge funds with $110m purchase

09 May 2002

Pioneer Investments, the asset management arm of UniCredito Italiano, this week acquired hedge fund manager Momentum Group for $110m.

The combined entity will have over Eu2bn of assets under management and will be one of the top 15 hedge funds globally. Pioneer's acquisition signals UniCredito Italiano's intention to aggressively expand into the fast growing hedge fund industry.

Pioneer already has Eu113bn of assets under management, but its focus on hedge funds has been limited to single manager/strategy funds. Momentum, on the other hand, is a leader in the fast growing fund of hedge funds sector.

Multi-managing, where for a fee fund managers distribute clients' investments into specialist funds, is becoming increasingly popular as a risk-averse way of investing in hedge funds.

"The synergies between our two companies are excellent," said Dario Frigerio, chief executive of Pioneer. "Momentum is one of the founders of the funds of hedge funds industry, having been incorporated in 1987, just as Pioneer is a founder of the US mutual fund industry, having been founded in 1928."

The new alternative investments division of Pioneer will be headed up by Alberto La Rocca. He will work with Michael Goldman, chief executive of Momentum and Matteo Perruccio, head of international distribution at Pioneer. Peter Cripwell will continue as the head of investments for the single strategy business.

Momentum is based in Bermuda, with offices in Australia, Hong Kong, Israel, London and New York.

* Axa Investment Managers has launched an Asian hedge fund, the first long/short product to be launched by the fund manager. The fund is co-managed by Axa's Hong Kong team of Lawrence Yip, Andrew Alexander and Cecilia Mak.

The fund, which has been test running for the last six months, will aim to take advantage of inefficiencies in the Asian market. It is targetting returns of 15%-20% in the course of a market cycle, with a minimum investment horizon of three years.

09 May 2002