Bangkok-based SAV Management launched two Southeast Asia-focused funds in March. The BVI-incorporated products -- the Thai Icon Fund and Asean Icon Fund -- are managed by Shirrin Visetpukdi and run $6.5 million and $2 million, respectively.

Visetpukdi was previously chief investment officer at Unicapital (Thailand), part of the global Unifund group, where she managed a $500 million Thailand- and Asia-focused equity portfolio, with portions invested in commodities and derivatives. 

Before that, she was head of equity at Ayudhya JF Asset Management, a joint venture between Jardine Fleming Asset Management and Bank of Ayudhya.

Tuk Molruthai, chief financial officer at SAV Management, also used to work at Unicapital and, before that, in the financial supervisory division of the Bank of Thailand, the central bank.

Both funds charge a 1.25% management fee and 20% performance fee and will not use external borrowing. Target returns are 15% this year, but with a bullish outlook, SAV hopes to accomplish 20% returns in 2011.

The Thai Icon Fund has returned 4.75% since launch, compared to a 2.71% increase in the SET Index since March 19. Its first two months of operation were down months and then, in June, the SET Index rose by 6.54%, and the fund outperformed that benchmark with a 9.56% monthly return.

The Asean Icon Fund is up 0.25%, compared to a 0.5% increase in its benchmark, the Asean40 Index, since March. That fund was also propelled into the black by a good month in June, where it rose by 6.64%, compared to a 4.18% rise in the benchmark.

The funds are long-biased and so far have been long-only, but will use futures either to hedge on the short side (as well as to take long positions), and will also look at individual shorting, although Visetpukdi points out that stock borrowing is difficult for Thai stocks. She is optimistic that the Thai index will exceed 1,000 in the second half of 2011. (It stands today at 858 points.)

2011 should be an election year for Thailand, but she is not concerned about the chances of a possible switch in government from a Democrat-led coalition to a Pheua Thai administration, as long as any new government remains pro-business.