Noble Asset Management is a new platform for supporting and seeding hedge funds in London that is now rolling out an event-driven strategy that will have a substantial exposure to Asia.

Noble is also looking to add an Asia ex-Japan and an Asian single-country strategy to its roster this year, says Shabir Chowdhary, managing director in London. He set up the company in response to demand among investors for new managers with strong performance. In the past he worked for Merrill LynchÆs prime broking desk in the United Kingdom.

The first strategy is the Stamford Global Event Driven Fund, managed by Kenneth Jeyaretnam. Noble hopes to raise $40-50 million for it. The fund will invest in merger arbitrage, valuation and spin-offs, and distressed debt or restructuring opportunities. The fund is global, including exposures to Europe and US cross-border deals, although it will not look for purely domestic America transactions, as the manager believes the market is crowded.

Chowdhary explains that Jeyaretnam, a Singaporean native, will leverage his regional contacts to source deals. He has already managed a similar strategy for UK-based Titanium Capital, and has a network of legal and corporate advisors that will work exclusively for him and not other investors.

About 35% of the Titanium fund, which launched in 2004, had exposure to Asia. It delivered a net return to investors of 18.5% for the year (19.45% annualised) with a Sharpe ratio of 2.93. Before managing the Titanium fund, he served as investment manager at Cross Asset Management, which ran a Europe-focused event-driven fund.

Jeyaretnam has also run an internal hedge fund for four years at Nomura Securities, concentrating on Asian equity volatility and event-driven deals.