Astrum Capital Management (those with a classics education will recall it is the Latin for 'star') manages the Astrum Asia Absolute Return Master Fund. The fund lifted off from the launch pad in 2007. It is now planning on making the leap into hedge-fund hyperspace. Its assets currently stand at $13 million and the plan is to propel that up to $500 million by this autumn.

Astrum is an Asia-Pacific ex-Japan long/short fund, with a 50% bias to Hong Kong and China stocks. It runs a portfolio of 40-60 positions, with no more than 5% of the fund's net asset value in one stock. The portfolio turnover is estimated at 400% per year.

The portfolio manager is Richard Sung, who was director of global equities at Merrill Lynch where he did hedge fund sales, before then starting one of his own funds. The firm's CEO is Victor Chang who formerly worked at a family office and before then at Lippo Securities. Co-portfolio manager is Jackie Pan, CFO is KW Yeung and the compliance and risk chief is Bosco Cheung, who are all former Lippo Securities men.

Target returns are 20%-25% on low double-digit volatility. In 2007 the fund was up net 29.7% in eight months.

Gross exposure for the fund is up to 150% and net exposure can range between minus 30% net short, to plus 150% net long. The fund does not use leverage. Fees are 1.5% and 20% with a high-water mark.

Among the service providers, UBS is prime broker, Citi (initially via Bisys) is the fund administrator. Quality Risk Management and Operations are providing outside risk management services.