British hedge fund gets an Aussie accent

Date: Thursday, March 25, 2010
Author: WSJ Online

THE Australian chief executive of British hedge fund CQS, Michael Hintze, has set up an office in Sydney to help grow its business in the region.

CQS yesterday announced it had enlisted former Coalition communications minister Richard Alston and former GMO Australia executive director Paul Chadwick to sit on the board of its Australian company, which is in the process of applying for a licence from the corporate regulator.

CQS has $US6.6 billion ($7.2bn) under management and runs offices in London and Hong Kong. Its focus on the Australian market represents new competition for local hedge funds, including the National Australia Bank-backed Pengana Capital and James Packer's Ellerston Capital.

CQS is among the 20 largest hedge fund managers in Europe. Mr Hintze manages two funds and serves as the company's senior investment officer.

"It has always been our intention to establish a presence in Sydney once we had sufficient investments from Australian wholesale investors," he said.

"I am pleased to be able to say we have reached a critical mass and that it makes sense for us to

be able to service our investors locally."

A former army officer, Mr Hintze was described by The Sunday Times last April as the richest Australian living in Britain, with a personal fortune of pound stg. 210 million ($343m). His net worth is likely to have risen since then because of a recovery in global markets.

Mr Hintze is well known in London for his philanthropic and political donations.

Mr Hintze is in Sydney this week, and last night gave a speech at his alma mater, the University of Sydney, where he funds a chair in international security.