BlackRock launches Asian equity L/S fund

BlackRock has launched the Asia Pacific Absolute Return Fund, designed for investors who are looking to boost their returns above traditional equity and bond exposures.

The fund is a liquid equity long/short Ucits strategy targeting positive absolute returns regardless of market movements. The fund will typically comprise approximately 40-60 long and 40-60 short positions, including the use of equity swaps, contracts for difference, index futures or exchange-traded funds, and the selective use of equity options.

It will be co-managed by Oisin Crawley, portfolio manager and co-head of Research for the Asian Equities team and Andrew Swan, head of Asian Equities at BlackRock. Together they will be supported by a local Hong Kong and Taiwan-based team of 21 investment professionals.

Slowing Chinese growth, US dollar strength and commodity price fluctuations are among the factors that tend to cause investor nervousness around Asia, the asset manager said. However, Asian markets should not be overlooked as an investment opportunity, it said.

The Asia Pacific region has undergone profound structural reform and economic transition and the investment universe spans 14 markets, numerous currencies and more than 2,000 companies, covered by fewer analysts than in the US or Europe. The BSF Asia Pacific Absolute Return Fund will look to exploit the under-appreciated areas of strength, while benefitting on the short side from internal and external pressures on companies, BlackRock said.

“In an uncertain, increasingly volatile world where there are valuation headwinds for traditional exposures to both equities and fixed income, investors want new, steady sources of positive absolute return. The BSF Asia Pacific Absolute Return Fund is for investors who are keen to explore what the region has to offer and want to diversify their portfolio, without taking on excessive market risk,” said Alex Hoctor-Duncan, head of EMEA Retail at BlackRock.

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