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2 Mar 2007

Citigroup Exec Quits to Launch Hong Kong Hedge Fund

Ajay Kapur, a top Citigroup executive is leaving the firm to found his own hedge fund, according to reports.

Kapur is returning to Hong Kong, where he has residency rights, to set up a hedge fund called First Horse Capital with Niall MacLeod and two other members of Kapur's team that also left Citigroup. Kapur's new fund will invest in equities globally.

Kapur said the results of investment models that he and his team had devised were "pretty good." and that, "I just thought that one should eat one's own cooking,"Kapur said from London. The fund is based in Hong Kong in order to get information from China, India, Japan, "you need to be closer and on the ground." he said.

Asian hedge funds returned 16.1% last year, compared to the 11.5% gains of their counterparts in North America and 11.35% in Europe, according to indexes run by Eurekahedge, a company in Singapore that tracks the industry.

Kapur has followed a well-worn path from investment banking to hedge funds, other Wall Street advisers have also joined Asia-based hedge funds and buyout firms. In January, the chairman of J.P. Morgan Asia Pacific, Ralph Parks, joinedOaktree Capital Management, a Los Angeles hedge fund with more than $33 billion in assets.

First Horse Capital, named for the Indian cavalry regiment Kapur's father served in, will invest in stocks worldwide. Kapur declined to say how much money he's raised for First Horse Capital.

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