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8 Dec 2006

Hedge Fund Breaks Asset Record

MW Tops, an Amsterdam hedge fund, has outperformed in a variety of market conditions, breaking the world record for a listed hedge fund float after successfully raising €1.5 billion. Capital was first allocated to the Tops strategy in 2002 by Marshall Wace Asset Management Limited, a London hedge fund manager.

The amount is well over three times as much as the previous record holder, an offering from the Anglo-French hedge fund group Boussard & Gavaudan, which raised €440 million, according to the Times Online.

MW Tops is chaired by the former Bank of England deputy governor Sir Andrew Large. Marshall Wace Asset Management was established in 1997 by Paul Marshall and Ian Wace and transferred its business in 2003 to Marshall Wace LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales.

According to Marshall Wace, the greatest interest in new hedge fund managers is being shown by rich individuals or family offices, private fund management operations devoted to managing wealth.

New investors include institutions precluded from conventional investment in illiquid, unlisted hedge funds, including some pension funds and insurance companies, as well as wealthy individuals. Investors are also attracted by the liquidity and visibility of a listed stock, where a price is also quoted. Traditional hedge funds are highly illiquid, with investors paying big penalties for sudden redemptions.

The minimum investment was set at €75,000 for the initial offering, but small investors will from today have access to MW Tops for the price of a €10 share in the secondary market.

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