March 14, 2013 6:08 pm

Ex-GLG pair to launch EM-focused fund

Two emerging markets traders formerly from Man Group have begun raising money for a new venture, APQ Partners, in what is likely to be one of the largest European hedge fund launches of 2013.

Bart Turtelboom and Karim Abdel-Motaal left Man division GLG, where they were co-heads of emerging markets, at the end of January.

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The pair had run the group’s highly regarded $1.5bn emerging markets fund since 2008, when they took over from Greg Coffey. A one-time “superstar” trader, Mr Coffey left GLG and an eye-watering $200m retention package to join rival Moore Capital and subsequently bowed out of the industry altogether last October.

APQ’s first fund is called Alexandria, said people familiar with the firm’s plans, and will focus on emerging markets.

The fund will soft-launch in the second quarter with between $100m and $200m of money from friends, family and early investors. It is expected to launch formally later in the year with in excess of $500m, or possibly “significantly more”, said one broker.

Mohamed Abdel-Hadi, who is listed on the Financial Services Authority register as the chief executive of APQ, did not respond to a request for comment.

APQ has already poached several former colleagues of the Belgian-born Mr Turtelboom and Swiss-Eqyptian Mr Abdel-Motaal from GLG, and is also expected to lure clients.

Mr Coffey’s departure from GLG five years ago triggered $4bn of outflows and a slump in the then independently listed firm’s share price – though no similarly disastrous redemptions are expected for Man this time. Man declined to comment.

On average, Mr Turtelboom and Mr Abdel-Motaal returned just over 9 per cent annually while running the GLG EM fund, compared to an industry-wide return of just over 7 per cent in the same period.

The pair suffered a steep drawdown in the summer of 2012, which led to some investor redemptions and was one of the reasons for their departure from GLG, said one person familiar with the company.

The pace of new hedge fund launches has slowed in recent months after a spate of high-profile start-ups – mostly spinouts from investment banking proprietary trading operations – in 2010 and 2011.

The highest number of hedge fund liquidations since 2009 was last year as managers struggled to recover from poor performance in 2011. Among funds that closed was Edoma Partners, one of the highest-profile post-2008 hedge fund start-ups.

The firm span out of Goldman Sachs in 2010 and its assets quickly swelled to more than $2bn. Choppy, difficult markets and regulatory and investor-related pressures led the fund to announce it was closing in November last year, however, pointing to the difficulties facing most start-up managers.

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