UK’s Polar Capital sees return of hedge fund investors

Polar Capital, a London-based investment manager, has weathered difficult market conditions and booked $374m of net subscriptions over three months to end of June.

As at 30 June 2012 the Group’s AUM were $5.081bn, which is 31% up on the $3.87bn a year ago. Shares in the AIM-listed Polar Capital rose 4% on the announcement.

In its regular quarterly update, Polar said it was encouraged by a small positive net inflow into its hedge funds, indicating a return of hedge fund investors. The group, whose main funds focus on Japan, Europe, the UK and the financials and technology sectors, saw net inflows for the year of more than $1bn.

Of this total, $4,365m is in long-only funds and $718m in hedge funds, with net subscriptions of $366m and $8m respectively. Performance and currency losses of $376m meant the overall losses were marginal.

Pre-tax profit for the year to end-March rose 5% to £9.6m ($14.9m).

Tim Woolley, chief executive, said: “The group has continued to make good progress in the face of challenging market conditions. Investment performance has been strong with seven out of eight long-only funds in the top quartile for the year, and four out of our six hedge funds ending the year in positive territory.”

Last month, Polar hired Andy MacKirdy from Lansdowne Partners and Christophe Williams from Liberties Investments, ahead of the launch of its first global equity fund later this year. They will work alongside Andrew Holliman, who joined from Threadneedle last year. MacKirdy, Williams and Holliman previously worked together at Baillie Gifford.

Polar described the launch of the global equity fund as “an important strategic move”, which represents a departure from its current sector- or region-specific funds range. Its funds range includes the Japan fund, the UK Absolute Return fund, the Global Technology fund and the North American fund. 

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