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23 Nov 2009

Asia Private Equity Hedge Funds To Recieve $200 Million From Texas Retirement Fund

New York ( – The seventh-largest U.S. public pension fund is reported to be investing $200 million in Asia private equity hedge funds.

Bloomberg reported this morning that the Teachers Retirement System of Texas fund has assigned $100 million each to hedge fund firms Squadron Capital and Morgan Creek Capital Management LLC to help it invest with private-equity firms that focus on emerging markets.

According to the Asian Venture Capital Journal, Asia private-equity investments in have reached $25 billion since July, overtaking the $22.4 billion total for the first half.

Alex Akesson
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Insparo Expands Africa Emerging Markets Fund

UK-based emerging markets hedge fund firm, Insparo Asset Management has expanded their Africa & Middle East Fund with the appointment of Jamie Allsopp.

Jamie has a strong background in fund management and African markets, garnered during eight years with New Star Asset Management. Jamie joined New Star in 2001 as an equity analyst. Over the next five years, Jamie served as portfolio manager to two of New Star’s high profile funds. Part of his responsibility in this role was marketing the fund to a cross-section of international investors.

In 2007, Jamie launched the New Star Heart of Africa Fund, which invested in Sub Saharan equities. As portfolio manager of the fund, Jamie developed a deep knowledge of African markets, as well as first-hand experience of the region through extensive trips to the Sub Saharan region. He was responsible for raising £90m of new investment into the fund through a global marketing campaign.

Jamie’s appointment is the latest step in Insparo’s efforts to ramp up the marketing of the fund. The firm recently announced plans to increase the scope of the fund’s marketing to target investors in the US, Europe, South Africa and the Middle East.

His appointment also represents the third hire made by Insparo in as many months, as the firm has looked to build on the success of its first year by increasing its investment, operational and marketing personnel. The Insparo Africa and Middle East Fund has now returned 31% YTD.

“Jamie is a very significant hire for the firm." Mohammed Hanif, Chief Investment Officer at Insparo, said ,"His experience of managing and capital raising for a major African-focussed fund positions him perfectly for the role we’re asking him to take on. By hiring a specialist of the calibre of Jamie, who also has hands on fund management experience, we believe we are able to provide our current and future investors with a superior and well rounded service that we feel is appropriate for a frontier market product.”

The Insparo Africa and Middle East Fund currently has US$160 million of assets under management. Investors include IPGL Limited, a private holding company in which Michael Spencer, CEO of ICAP plc, together with his wife and family trusts, are majority shareholders; and South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth’s Here Be Dragons. It targets traditional hedge fund and institutional investors such as funds of hedge funds, private banks, family offices, HNWIs and pension funds.

The success of the fund in its first year saw the firm awarded the Emerging Markets (excl Asia) Asset Manager of the Year Award at the recent Global Investor Awards.

Insparo Asset Management, founded in July 2007 is a UK-based limited liability company, whose investment team has collectively 40 years of emerging markets experience, focused on esoteric investments.