Aussie hedge fund manager Platypus Capital Management has launched the Platypus Asian Equities Fund with assets of $10 million and a target size of $1 billion.

It follows in the footsteps of the $42 million Australian long/short fund, which this year is flat in Australian dollar terms versus a 23% fall in the local index. That fund is net long only, but the new Asian fund will also take short positions.

Platypus Capital Management was founded by co-portfolio managers Derek Sicklen, Chris Talbot and Charles Magri. They are applying a systematic long/short strategy using computer-based algorithms to select stocks based on liquidity, volatility and momentum. However, it is not a classic æblack-boxÆ-style quant fund as it does not conduct ratio or fundamental analysis.

Completing this process is a qualitative overlay which establishes if there is, say, a corporate action or lack of availability which makes a trade too hard to accomplish, in which case a stock is stricken from the record. However, there is no provision for adding in stocks at that late stage that the computer model has not already unearthed.

Aiming at large-cap and liquid stocks, the Platypus Asian Equities Fund will confine itself to trading Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Australia. Exposure will be segregated per country, with a maximum gross exposure per country of 300% and maximum net exposure of 100%.

Target returns are high teens to low twenties, on volatility of 10%. Fees are 1.5 % management fee and 20% performance fee. There is no lock up and monthly redemptions require one month notice.

The fund will be split into different segregated multi-investor portions, each one with different hedging, gearing and currency characteristics, depending on investor preference. Initially, the fund has been seeded by a Swiss bank whose identity is being kept private.

Service providers are UBS as prime broker, Citco as administrator and PricewaterhouseCoopers as auditor.