Who are Asia's hedge fund hotties for 2010?

Investors at last week's Morgan Stanley capital-introductions conference in Shanghai tell us which new hedge fund managers are making them slobber.

There are a handful of new hedge fund managers that are causing excitement among Asia's alternative investors. Remember 2009's vintage, which included Nick Taylor's Senrigan Capital, Hari Kumar's LionRock Capital and Sanjiv Bhatia's Isometric Capital? Well, here are the new boys.

At a luncheon at Morgan Stanley's hedge fund investment forum, held last week in Shanghai, investors revealed which new hedge fund managers are arousing their interest.

The first is Benjamin Fuchs, who works at Nomura and whose multi-strategy fund is avidly awaited later this year. He is on the lookout for senior staff for the new vehicle, which is expected to be named after his department, Global Opportunities Group, so 'Gog' could be its handle.

Fuchs used to work as a proprietary trader in Tokyo at Lehman Brothers, which went bankrupt in September 2008. As it happens, Lehman's Tokyo prop desk has already generated a fund, in the form of another of 2009's most prestigious launches, Hong Kong-based Omnix Capital, founded by Stephen Cheng and Paul Penkett.

Also currently spurring investor interest are David Zezza and Joe Draper (Draper is formerly of Citi's distressed and special-situations team), who are launching a hedge fund named Pacific Advantage.

Elsewhere, Wu Huimin formerly made a big impact with the Dragon Billion Fund, which he managed from 2005 to 2008. That was one of the top-performing China hedge funds of that epoch. He is garnering fresh investor interest as he returns to launch Trivest China Focus Fund, a China long/short equity fund.

Hong Kong-based Trivest is due to kick off this month and will have a three-way Greater China strategy of core holdings: directional, long/short and event driven. Wu is joined by Lan Xue, who was head of China research at Citi from 2002 to 2010, and Lu Sun, who was a director of Indus Capital from 2007 to 2010.

However the biggest pachyderm in the parking lot so far this year is Davide Erro, who launched Turiya Capital in April. He made a fortune first as head of Goldman Sachs's equity arbitrage group, then running a long/short fund at Deutsche Bank and most recently as chief investment officer of Gandhara Capital, a $3.8 billion fund that was wound down in March 2009.

If you are a believer in hedge fund managers putting their money where their mouths are, Erro may well be the tub-thumper for 2010, as he is rumoured to be stumping up $100 million to $120 million from his own piggybank for Turiya.

Investors say one advantage of the fund is that it will be a more centralised operation than Gandhara Capital, which had offices all over the world (and presumably many late-night conference calls).

Turiya will have a global long/short equity strategy with a focus on Asia, running 20-25 long positions and a similar number of shorts. Management fees will be 1.75% and performance fees 20%. Redemptions are quarterly with 45 days' notice.

Among the Hong Kong headhunting community, Erro has a reputation for remunerating his staff generously, with junior analysts on $300,000 basic and secretaries on..... not far short of that. (We are far too gentlemanly at AsianInvestor to reveal a secretary's salary.)

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