Former Ballingal Investment Advisors director Geoffrey Barker plans to launch a new Asia macro fund early next year, under a joint venture with UK-based City Financial Investment Company.

Barker has secured seed capital for the strategy, which is slated for launch in the first quarter, sources tell AsianInvestor.

A City Financial spokesman declined to comment on whether investors from Ballingal's BIA Pacific Macro Fund, which Barker had managed, would move their capital to his new fund. The spokesman also would not comment on the possiblity that Barker's former colleagues at Ballingal would join him at City Financial.

AsianInvestor in August reported on Barker's plans to leave Ballingal Investment, where he had  run the BIA Pacific Macro Fund for six years. The strategy had accounted for most of Ballingal's $200 million in AUM. It is understood that Ballingal founder Andrew Ballingal plans to continue running the strategy Barker had managed.

Barker's launch will mark City Financial's entrance into the Asia ex-Japan hedge fund sector. The asset manager, which oversees $1.3 billion, set up an office in Hong Kong earlier this year, which will be used in part to gain access to institutional investors in the region. This will help to diversify the firm's investor base, which is concentrated in the UK and North America.

City Financial also runs a Japan long/short equity fund, a European corporate debt hedge fund and a managed futures strategy, in addition to a series of long-only funds.

Its business model involves both in-house management and use of external fund managers, in a fashion similar to that of Millennium Management, which has 150 portfolio managers globally.

Barker, the one-time Asia-Pacific chief economist for HSBC, is currently City Financial's sole staff member in Hong Kong, but additional staff will be hired in the coming months. That includes investment and business development executives, but a spokesman declined to provide headcount targets or a timeline.