Britain's largest listed hedge fundMan Group is to launch a new fund of hedge funds business pledging to offer transparent access to hedge funds forprivate investors.

The announcement comes as the group announces that its profit has almost halved over the past year but remains at a robust $1.2 billion (812 million). It nonetheles showed that assets under management have remained robust through the financial crisis and currently stand at $47.7 compared to the $53.3 billion it stood at last year. The dividend remains unchanged.

The new business will use a platform of managed accounts to offer investors access to both its own and external hedge funds. Man's chief executibe Peter Clarke has pledged the new service will offer private investors preferential rates to access the best hedge funds in the world.

Manager selection in the new business will fall to John Rowsell, the chief investment officer at Man's Glenwood division.

Clarke said the new business is a recognition of the fact that the events of last year have made investors demand more transparency from hedge funds. 'As markets have changed, so have investor requirements for hedge fund investing. Performance remains an absolute requirement, but transparency, governance and risk management are now at the top of investors' agendas.

'They are looking for providers with the scale, expertise and systems to deliver the enhanced transparency, institutional quality governance and stronger controls over invested capital they require. With over $1.5 billion in excess capital, one of the industry's deepest pools of investment talent, and extensive infrastructure and systems, Man is uniquely positioned to provide a market-leading solution.'