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MSCI Barra to launch Asia-Pacific investible hedge fund index

Date: Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Author: Hedgeweek.com

MSCI Barra, a New York-based provider of investment support tools including indices and portfolio risk and performance analytics, has announced plans to launch the MSCI Asia-Pacific Hedge Fund Optix Index, a new investible hedge fund index that aims to reflect the overall structure and composition of the Asia-Pacific hedge fund universe.

The index has been licensed to Natixis Alternative Investments to form the basis of index-linked products and its constituents will be selected from the Natixis hedge fund platform, where day to day investment management of the funds is performed by external hedge fund managers.

The index will comprise only funds open to new subscriptions. Natixis Alternative Investments, working with Sparx International (Hong Kong), will be responsible for selecting and conducting due diligence on the hedge fund managers, and will also monitor the investment mandate of each fund.

'The forthcoming launch of the MSCI Asia-Pacific Hedge Fund Optix Index responds to investor demand for a liquid and representative investible hedge fund index that reflects the overall Asia-Pacific hedge fund opportunity set,' says MSCI Barra chairman and chief executive Henry Fernandez.

'The index is designed to serve as the basis of index-linked financial products, such as funds, derivatives, and structured products. In developing this index, we are pleased to have worked with Natixis Alternative Investments and Sparx, leading industry participants in the region.'

Sophie Souliac Deschamps, chief executive of Natixis Alternative Investments, says: 'The expansion of investible hedge fund indices to cover the Asia-Pacific marketplace is a natural evolution that investors are seeking. The pedigree and reputation of MSCI Barra for calculating quality indices provide the robust framework investors desire.'

Shuhei Abe, president and chief executive of the Japan-based Sparx Group, says: 'We are enthusiastic about the prospect of leveraging our local knowledge and expertise to secure the representative constituent funds needed to construct the index and to deliver the quality product that the clients of our respective firms have come to expect.'

The index will comprise a diverse sample of hedge fund strategies focused on the Asia-Pacific region and contain funds that have at least monthly liquidity. Calculation of the index, which is expected to launch with around 20 constituent funds, is set to begin next month. The index will be constructed and maintained by MSCI Barra according to its investible hedge fund index methodology.

MSCI Barra products, which are used in managing equity, fixed income and multi-asset class portfolios, include the MSCI International Equity Indices, which are estimated to have more than USD3trn benchmarked to them, and the Barra risk models and portfolio analytics, which cover 56 equity and 46 fixed income markets.