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Duet launches MENA multi-strategy hedge fund

Barney Hatt
By Barney Hatt  13-May-2009

Alternative asset manager Duet Group has launched a multi-strategy hedge fund, designed to capitalise on opportunities in the MENA region.

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The Duet MENA Opportunities fund invests in both fixed income and equity income markets. The fund is co-managed by Rabih Sultani, CIO at Duet Mena which is a Dubai-based subsidiary of Duet Group, and Hedi Ben Mlouka, who is CEO at the firm.

In April, Duet Group bought  New Star's Heart of Africa fund from Henderson Global Investors. Rebranded the Duet Africa Opportunities Fund (DAOF) it will be managed by Dr Ayo Salami, who is also the chief investment officer for the Duet Victoire Africa Index Fund at the firm.

Sultani and Mlouka will use three key strategies: conviction, relative arbitrage and opportunistic trading to take advantage of price dislocations and valuation discrepancies created by capital flows and economic and political factors. The duo adapt allocation towards strategies in response to market movements.

Sultani views the region's fixed income markets as currently offering more risk-return opportunities, citing the development of a more liquid debt market and active CDS market over the past six to 12 months. He believes the fund can offer investors access to investments which are uncorrelated to the oil price.

Mlouka said: "The current unfolding crisis has created unprecedented opportunities in global markets. Such opportunities appear to be even more eye-catching in the MENA region."

He added: "Duet's commitment to the Middle East has led to the allocation of significant capital to the fund from existing shareholders and clients.”

Duet expands into Middle East and Asia

According to data on Trustnet Middle East, the nine hedge funds available in the MENA region have all returned negative returns over the last twelve months, ranging from -2.2 per cent for the best performing – the Global Umbrella Advanced Sciences fund – to -34.9 per cent for the worst performer – the NIC Al Tahawut Hedge fund.

Fund 1-yr
Global Umbrella Advanced Sciences -2.2
Global The Zenith -5.8
Global Umbrella US -11.9
Global Umbrella Europe -13.0
Global Umbrella Asia/Japan -14.8
Emirates Islamic Alternative Strategies Inst -16.5
Rasmala Hedge Strategies A -17.0
NBK Multi Strategy Hedge -19.3
NIC Al Tahawut Hedge -34.9

Source: Trustnet Middle East

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