San Paolo plans to launch first Italian single-manager hedge fund

Obiettivo, which applied for its license from the Italian regulator Banca Italia in January, is likely to be the first of a rash of hedge funds to open in Italy following the regulator’s ambitious ‘Fondi Speculativi’ Law passed in May 1999.

Leonardo Bloch, chief executive of Obiettivo, said he expects the fund to gain full approval in around two weeks and launch later this month. Initially Obviettivo will launch two funds – a fixed income fund and a long/short equity fund. The firm hopes to raise an initial €150 from institutional investors in total for the two funds. He declined to comment on the split.

“The first stages will be difficult,” said Bloch. “It will take a few years to see a lot of business. Investors want to see a track record before they invest,” he added.

Obiettivo’s move into the hedge fund market comes at a critical time for Italian hedge funds. The ‘Fondi Speculativi’ law allowing hedge funds to be set up onshore was introduced on mid-1999. But problems in defining the role of the prime broker have so far delayed the launch of single-manager hedge funds in the country.

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