January 17, 2012 10:55 pm

Altana to exploit global market ‘dislocations’

Altana Funds, the hedge fund manager set up by the outspoken former Trafalgar Asset Managers founder Lee Robinson, is launching a second fund aimed at profiting from turmoil in western markets.

The Altana Inflation Trends Fund has been seeded with $10m of Mr Robinson’s own money and is shortly to begin fundraising from external investors – according to a person familiar with the company – having already appointed a portfolio manager, Alex Krainer.

It will aim to make money by trading around “large scale dislocations” in commodity and financial markets “most likely to be affected by inflation/deflation events”, including interest rates, energy, metals, agriculture and equities, background notes for the launch say. The Monaco-based company’s first fund – Altana Sovereign Diversity – began raising external money last year, and is intended to “profit from the global secular wealth shift from debtor to saver nations”.

Mr Robinson, whose unabashed pessimism about the West’s economic prospects has sometimes set him at odds with his peers in the hedge fund industry, established Altana last year after stepping back from his former hedge fund firm, Trafalgar.

While at Trafalgar, Mr Robinson earned a reputation for consistent returns and profiting during down times. The firm’s flagship fund, Catalyst, was one of the few funds to successfully navigate the financial crisis in 2008, when it made investors 4.8 per cent, compared with an industry average loss of 20 per cent.

Catalyst was liquidated by its directors after receiving significant redemption requests from investors in April last year, however.

Investors have yet to receive all of their money. A small portion of the fund remains tied up in illiquid assets that will take “longer than six months” to crystallise value.

Trafalgar, which was one-fifth owned by Goldman Sachs and at its peak managed assets of more than $3bn, has passed over the management of its two remaining funds to a successor fund manager called CapeView, established by Mr Robinson’s former partner, Theo Phanos.

Altana was initially conceived by Mr Robinson to run his own personal wealth, but now aims to raise money from other family offices and is targeting its fundraising efforts primarily at the super wealthy.

The current climate is “the most dangerous period in finance for decades”, Mr Robinson says in sales materials.

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