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10 Dec 2008

Africa Roundtable Hedge Fund Update

The Opalesque South Africa Roundtable was held November 10th 2008 in their Cape Town Office. There, the participants also discussed the particularities of investing in Africa (ex-South Africa).

South Africa's equity and fixed income markets displayed exemplary robustness during 2008. Many global allocators may not be aware that the South African financial market infrastructure matches or exceeds its "first world" counterparts in many respects.

The equity and fixed income markets demonstrated exemplary robustness throughout the turbulences of 2008: no short-selling ban, no trading halt and no failed trades. Offshore investors can benefit from efficient and proven ways to get pure South African alpha without taking currency risk.

During the Roundtable, portfolio managers explained new ways to construct hedges, and informed on new and upcoming products. How global investors can benefit from the "Africa story", which is probably the largest opportunity set in the new investment paradigm called "frontier investing"? How do you deal with restricted liquidity, and is Africa really uncorrelated?

The following experts participated in the Opalesque South Africa Roundtable: James Gubb, Founding Partner of Clear Horizon Capital St. John Bungey, Partner, Praesidium Capital Management James Addo, Portfolio Manager, Finch Asset Management Simone Lowe, Portfolio Manager, Thames River Capital Andy Pfaff, Founding Partner of Trendline Funds Ian Hamilton, Founder, IDS Group Ryan Proudfoot, Co-Head RMB Prime Broking Warren Chapman, Head of Peregrine Prime Broking Kevin Ewer, Portfolio Manager, Blue Ink Investments.

South African hedge fund managers and hedge fund investors share surprising insights. For example, - South African single strategy hedge funds offer transparency "far superior to anything anywhere else", according to investors - South African hedge funds suffered their first - and only until that point - net redemptions in October 2008, but only 2.5% of total assets - South Africa is the first country in the world that actually distinguishes between normal fund managers and hedge fund managers, with higher criteria required for hedge fund managers.

Neuberger Berman to buy Lehman Holdings

Due to their recent share decrease, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. has agreed to sell majority interest to asset manager Neuberger Berman. The transaction will create a new, independent investment management company to be called Neuberger Investment Management, managing approximately $160 billion of assets as of 30 November 2008.

Lehman Brothers Private Equity Partners Limited (LBPE) and certain of its affiliates will be a part of this transaction. The sale is subject to final Bankruptcy Court approval, and closing is expected in the first quarter of 2009.

LBPE's Board of Directors believes this transaction will significantly benefit the Company by providing the management team of the Investment Manager a strong platform from which to continue managing LBPE's high quality private equity portfolio and support the long term success of the Company.

LBPE will also host a conference call later this week for investors and analysts to discuss the Investment Manager update and the Company's performance. An updated investor presentation will be published on the Company's Web site prior to the conference call on 12 December 2008.

Are Managed Forex Accounts Suitable for Short-term Hedge Fund Investors?

In an interview with Geneva based Forex trader and currency specialist Robert Paulson, he said; "Trading the Forex market is for serious investors seeking alternative investment opportunities."

Clients pulling out of hedge funds due to the current state of affairs has raised questions about short term options and the possibility that investors may find a managed account more suitable.

"Understanding the dynamics of diversification and proper asset allocation is an easy formula to understand. To some investors currency trading is considered a “must” and a “cannot do with out” investment class. In Forex there are no “bull markets” or “bear markets”, having the mobility to trade virtually anywhere in the world is essential when it comes to proper investing.”

Currently operating a managed account program in Geneva, Paulson said he is looking to Dubai and the UAE for the next wave of investors, "The dynamics of the current investment environment offers opportunity for those with a realistic appetite for risk. The Foreign Exchange (Forex) markets have been an asset class most enjoyed by the informed. With over a trillion dollars being traded each day opportunity is mentioned often. In the current financial environment we hear about stock markets falling, commodities selling off and real estate prices dropping. What we don’t hear much about is where serious money is being made."

Making money has never been easy and respectable returns are often taken for granted. To achieve consistency one must thoroughly analyze, track, and monitor economic conditions around the globe.

Paulson also warned, "There is an enormous amount of time needed to ensure intelligent representation in a fast moving environment. One should understand that where there is a loss there is also a profit, zero-sum is not a game but a way of life. It is also a breeding ground for those who understand."

Ronaldo Hermoso Appointed Director of Hedge Funds at OakRun

Hedge fund manager OakRun Capital announced the appointment of Rolando Hermoso as director of funds. Their newly launched Short Term High Yield Fund also delivered November annualized yield of 9.58%.

Hermoso has over 27 years in the investment banking industry at various senior executive levels specializes primarily in the structuring, marketing and the execution of structured finance products. With 10 years at the Bank of America he was also Head of the Investment Bank for Citicorp for Venezuela and the Antilles. He holds Masters degrees in Management and Operations Research from Stanford University and B.S. degrees in applied mathematics and physics.

The Cayman Islands exempted fund launched on October 1st and came in at 9.48% annualized in its first month. The fund's objective is to generate above average current income with a lower overall credit risk profile and maintain a stable NAV.

"We do not believe that simply managing for relative performance is satisfactory to our clients or ourselves." says Scott Rhodenizer, Founder, CEO, and Chief Investment Officer, "While we work to outperform the markets, we strive to do so without excessive risk."