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Half of Top Performing Hedge Funds Are "Asian"


Date: Friday, November 30, 2007
Author: Hedge Fund Hotel- Hawaii

With little under 6 weeks to go to the end of calendar year 2007 the latest statistics of global hedge fund managers according to the Banque Syz list of approximately 300 hedge fund managers have 9 out of the top 20 performers having a strong Asian influence - except for Japan of course.

If you include emerging markets in the mix (with China) then they comprised close to 66% of the top 20 funds! By the way, the list has the "lowest performance" of 55.74% in the Top Twenty.

Through 11.16.2007, the top performer was Golden China Fund up 102.78%. Run by George Jiang of Greenwoods Asset Management and with an AUM of approximately US$680 million the fund has clearly benefited from the powerful directional "beta" provided by the Chinese stock markets throughout the year.

For example, through the same period the Shenzen A-share Index returned 152.64%, the Shanghai A-share Index 98.27% and the Hang Seng Index 38.32%. In fact, investing in one of the seven China equity specialist names on the Banque Syz list would have offered you a range of positive YTD returns from 20.45% to 102.78%.

Not too shabby and probably much greater than the broader (lower) returns offer by a global stock-picking manager sitting in his comfortable "developed-country" environs of Manhattan or Greenwich, CT.

Incidentally, the above compares favorably to Japan's Nikkei 225 Index which has returned minus 12.02% YTD. Yikes!

Not just China. Of note too, is that in the Top Twenty there are a number of Indian hedge funds. Karma Offshore Fund Ltd - A, run by Nandita Parker Agarwal, was the best of the group and returned 67.17% through mid-November. Other notables included, Kotak Indian Mid Cap Fund (up 57.62%) and the long-biased India Capital Fund - A2 run by long time India specialist, Dr. Jon Thorn.

Japan Blues Continue. For that once proud and expansive hedge fund epicenter, Tokyo, the performance news continues to sour. A full 22 out of 39 hedge funds with a Japan concentration have so far put up negative YTD returns that extend as far as minus 30.44% for Michael Hill's Blue Sky Japan Inc. as of end October data. Incidentally, his AUM as reportedly at US$438 million, while performance of the fund in 2006 was minus 27.74% and an incredible positive 142.93% in 2005.

There remain a few postive performers in Japan - David Snoddy's Speedwell Advisors Limited with their Nezu Cayman Fund Ltd USD Class returned 69.12% on US$467 million in AUM through the end of September 2007 on a YTD basis.

Out of Singapore, UMJ's Dhia Bitar and Claudiu Lamba have their UMJ Vitrix Traders International Fund Ltd up 25.93%, although on a modest US$107 million in AUM as of end September 2007. In a few cases, these "positive" performers have had a wider geographical investment mandate that extends beyond simply Japan.