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Polar Capital announces plans to launch UK Absolute Return Fund

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Polar Capital has announced plans to launch the UK Absolute Return Fund, which will invest predominantly in equities of UK companies and to a much smaller degree European and global equiti

Polar Capital has announced plans to launch the UK Absolute Return Fund, which will invest predominantly in equities of UK companies and to a much smaller degree European and global equities.

Subject to approval by the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority, the UK Absolute Return Fund is scheduled for launched on June 3. An Irish-domiciled vehicle listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, the fund aims to deliver positive absolute returns regardless of UK stock market conditions by using the wider investment powers permitted under the European Union’s Ucits III regime.

Following registration with the Financial Services Authority, the fund will be available to onshore UK investors, providing the opportunity to invest in an authorised product that can hold both long and synthetic short positions with daily liquidity.

The fund is a sub-fund of Polar Capital Funds, an open-ended umbrella investment company with segregated liability between sub-funds. It has sterling as its bass currency and additional euro and US dollar share classes in classes, and carries an annual management fee of 1.5 per cent and performance fee of 20 per cent subject to hurdle rate and high water mark.

The fund will be run by Philip Hardy who founded the UK team at Polar Capital and launched a UK long/short hedge fund in November 2001. This fund has delivered an annualised return of 9.5 per cent compared with 5.7 per cent for the FTSE All-Share Index, with half the annualised volatility.

Hardy previously spent 13 years at Schroders Asset Management where he was a founding member of the specialist UK equity team, managed the Schroder UK Equity Fund and ran proprietary money. He will be assisted by Nick Shenton who joined Polar Capital in 2007 and has more than four years’ experience as an analyst and assistant fund manager on UK and European equities.

‘This gives investors a unique opportunity to access, through a regulated fund, Philip’s proven six-year track record in long/short investing on the UK market,’ says Polar Capital chief executive Mark Kary. ‘It comes at a time when investment market conditions suggest that increased allocations to sensible low-volatility absolute return strategies are appropriate.’

Says Hardy: ‘Global equity markets are at an inflection point and volatility in the UK equity market has increased significantly and is likely to remain high. With the outlook now less predictable and risks skewed to the downside, the ability to establish short positions and identify secular trends and pricing anomalies is becoming increasingly important.’

Polar Capital is a research-driven investment management company that says it provides a highly entrepreneurial environment for portfolio managers within a structure offering marketing, administrative and operational support for a diversified family of long-only, long-bias, equity long/short and other fundamentally-driven hedge fund strategies.

Polar Capital has a staff of 63 including 35 investment professionals at offices in London, Singapore, Tokyo and Kiev. The firm manages 14 funds, one managed account and two advisory relationships for institutional and professional investors with combined assets under management of USD3.1bn at the end of March.

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