JapanÆs Financial Services Agency has given its approval to Lyxor Asset Management, the structured asset management arm of Societe Generale, to operate in Japan and manage local funds, says Alain Dubois, the firm's chairman. Its initial focus will be on funds of hedge funds.

The firm will soon introduce its Lyxor Diversified Fund to investors such as high-net-worth individuals and private banks. This fund will be a Japanese-domiciled replicant of an existing fund of hedge funds managed in Paris.

ôI think that the Japanese prefer buying domestic funds rather than offshore funds, though we have sold a lot of Cayman-domiciled funds,ö says Dubois.

Lyxor Diversified Fund is a global fund of hedge funds and the Asia-specific hedge fund managers on the list of that fund of hedge funds comprise of Martin Currie, Prodigy, Sparx, Myojo, Gartmore Japan, Himeji, RP Japan and Rubicon. Year-to-date, the fund is up 8% and its fees are 1% and 10%.

Lyxor will operate a staff of ten in Tokyo, and the president of Lyxor Japan is Toshiro Kubozono who joined the firm in 2006. Previously he had been head of product development at Putnam Investments.

Lyxor operates several different strategies, including exchange-traded funds, index funds and alternative investments. In the latter arena, it manages $34 billion and says it is the worldÆs seventh largest fund-of-hedge-funds manager.