The Japanese focused long/short fund Hedge Vision Japan has announced that it is winding down. The fund was based in Switzerland and traded Japanese equities.

The principals, Stefan Bohalder and Philippe Gilliard, hope that they can get going again with the backing of a new seed investor and a relaunch, on the rationale that they have all their operations and systems in place and a decent performance track record on 10% volatility. In 2007, their US dollar class returned 6.57%, making it a top quartile performer in Japan.

In January, things went haywire and the fund was down 14% as their directional strategy found itself on the wrong side and was carrying high gross exposure. The largest investor (British) in the $16 million fund shrieked and ran away. The others couldnÆt invest more to bring the fund back to critical mass and they bailed out too.

As AsianInvestor has been finding out in the past six months, Japanese hedge fund managers are becoming a rare species. CEO Philippe Gilliard points out: "The whole world is underweight in Japan and funds are throwing in the towel. Those who can stay in business may have big opportunities when it turns.ö

His words emulate nearly precisely those, from an investorÆs perspective, of RMFÆs Adrian Gmuer, who told us earlier this year. ôHedge fund investors have been throwing in the towel on their Japanese managers to chase other returns in attractive marketsö. Gmuer says his own Man Investments unit was not throwing in the towel on Japan.

Perhaps thereÆs a lesson to be learned. A fund shouldnÆt put all its eggs in one investorÆs basket. It also needs sticky investors, who donÆt redeem just because of a single month of poor performance. Perhaps Asia-based investors understand the rollercoasters of these markets better, unlike the Euro-continental-type investors who fly in twice a year.