Colonial First State loses head of hedge funds

Damien Hatfield, head of hedge funds at Australia’s Colonial First State, one of the country’s leading investment managers, has left the firm to set up a joint venture company.

Hatfield plans to launch a hedge fund "incubation fund" that will seed start-up hedge fund managers in Australia, in partnership with an unnamed group of Australian businessmen. The fund, which Hatfield hopes to launch in September, will initially invest in five start-up funds - predominantly long/short equity and macro/managed futures funds.

“We think we will probably raise about 70% of our incubation funds from offshore, and we think that high-net-worth individuals will hopefully contribute about 30% onshore here,” said Hatfield.

The firm is also keen to invest in fixed-income funds, but the lack of depth of the country's bond markets makes it difficult to extract returns from this asset class, he added.

Hatfield left Colonial First State last week after two and a half years at the company, during which time he set up the hedge fund business. Prior to this, he spent eight years at Deutsche Bank in Australia and Hong Kong and has a total of 15 years experience in the hedge fund sector.

Hatfield is also the founder and chairman of the Australian Chapter of the Alternative Investment Management Association, a hedge fund trade association.

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