Hedge fund Tarascon hires new COO

Following a year of positive performance, the equity hedge manager hires long-only veteran Roger Lee to help build scale.

Roger Lee, the previous head of Nikko Asset Management's Singapore office, has joined Tarascon Capital, a Hong Kong-based hedge fund.

Tarascon was established in March 2007 by Jonathan Iu, its CIO, to manage an Asia-Pacific equity long/short strategy, with Morgan Stanley as its prime broker.

The fund was a rare success story in 2008, gaining 7% when most other long/short strategies in the region were losing money.

Tarascon now manages around $30 million on behalf of individuals and US-based funds of funds. Iu is keen to build on last year's success but realised the need to augment his small team of three, which includes a head of research and an operations and administration specialist.

Hence the decision to hire Lee as a managing partner. Lee will serve in Hong Kong as COO and run the business on a day-to-day basis, as well as handle client servicing and marketing.

"Investors are looking again at hedge funds," Iu says. "Capital raising is still difficult, but we want to approach more funds of funds and institutional investors. We felt we needed an experienced COO to enhance our appeal to such investors."

Iu says the firm is also bringing aboard a fifth person to handle investor relations, but she doesn't start until next month.

Lee has 16 years in the funds industry. Prior to Nikko AM, where he handled business development for Asia ex-Japan, he worked at a number of other investment firms. These include SBC Brinson/UBS Asset Management, Dresdner Private Banking, Allianz Asset Management and Columbia Management, the funds arm of Bank of America.

Following Lee's departure from Nikko Asset Management, the firm has appointed Ng Soo-nam to run the Singapore business.

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