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30 Jun 2009

UPDATE Bahamas/UK Hedge Funds Settle With SEC on Late Trading Scheme

Najy N. Nasser, Chief Investment Officer of the Bahamas/UK based hedge funds, Headstart Advisers Limited (HAL) and Headstart Fund, has agreed with the SEC to pay $17.8 million in a settlement regarding a 2003 alleged late trading scheme.

Without admitting or denying the allegations, the civil settlement includes payments of $17 million by the defunct Headstart Fund Ltd (domiciled in the Bahamas), $200,000 by Headstart Advisers Ltd and $600,000 by Mr Najy Nasser , the Chief Investment Officer. This settlement will conclude the case brought by the SEC against Headstart Fund Ltd, Headstart Advisers Ltd and Mr Najy Nasser arising from Headstart’s historic market-timing strategy.

The Commission's Complaint alleged that the Bahamas hedge fund, Headstart, acting through its United Kingdom investment adviser, HAL, engaged in fraudulent late trading and deceptive market timing of U.S. mutual funds through accounts at U.S. broker-dealers. Headstart has since September 2003 focused its business on other successful strategies.

Nasser said in response to the settlement, “Headstart is very pleased to have reached a settlement. We responded to US concerns about market timing and immediately ceased this element of Headstart’s business in September 2003. We have since worked hard to build up Headstart’s funds using different strategies. As we equalled or bettered our overall returns against our benchmark, we are especially pleased with what we have achieved.

"We have superb long-term performance against both the market and our peer group and have some interesting plans to grow Headstart’s investment business,” he concluded.

Hedge Funds Accepted To London Stock Exchange's Specialist Fund Market

European hedge fund manager, NB Private Equity Partners (NBPE), and a new fund launched by Altus, 'Altus Resource Capital,' have been accepted by The London Stock Exchange into the The Specialist Fund Market (SFM).

As an EU Regulated Market, SFM is designed to offer access for specialist investment vehicles targeting institutional, professional and highly knowledgeable investors. It's admission standards offer sufficient flexibility for single strategy hedge funds, private equity funds and other alternative strategies and structures. The market is open to both UK and international issuers.

"We are delighted to welcome two new funds to the Specialist Fund Market today. Altus Resource Capital demonstrates that despite the wider economic climate, London's investors continue to be responsive to new investment opportunities, (Altus recently raised GBP26 million ($43 million) for the launch)." Tracey Pierce, Head of Equity Primary Markets at London Stock Exchange Group, said, "NB Private Equity Partners' decision to join highlights some of the London markets' other key strengths: the enhanced liquidity and increased investor profile that they offer to issuers on an ongoing basis."

"We are very pleased to launch Altus Resource Capital (ARC) on the Specialist Fund Market today." Marc Gordon, partner at Nimrod Capital LLP, placing agents for Altus Resource Capital, commented, "This is our second successful fundraising within 12 months on the London market. The Specialist Fund Market has provided the flexibility to bring the new fund to the attention of leading asset managers and to attract interest even in these difficult times."

Since the start of 2008, a number of specialist funds have taken advantage of new opportunities to access London-based investors through the London Stock Exchange's Main Market and Specialist Fund Market, including: Boussard and Gauvaudan Holdings, BH Global, Castle Alternative Invest, FRM Diversified Alpha, Marwyn Value, and MW Tops. They benefit from the deepest liquidity available to publicly quoted alternative investment vehicles.