US investment bank Morgan Stanley has appointed Greenwich-Van to perform due diligence and monitoring for a new ‘transparent hedge fund platform’ – one of the new-style products designed to win back market share from hedge funds of funds.

Thomas Whelan, Greenwich-Van chief executive, said yesterday that the Morgan Stanley fund would start with about 20 underlying hedge funds, which meet standards of age and funds under management which are pre-set by the investment bank. Greenwich-Van is a research firm and index provider which specialises in hedge funds. It also has investable funds which track its indices. Whelan was in Australia to speak at the Investment & Technology conference being held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney tomorrow. While Greenwich does not divulge its FUM figures, Australian representative Scott MacDonald of VanMac Group said that the firm had developed relationships with several Australian investors since setting up shop in 2002. Whelan said that the trend to hedge fund platforms was largely a reaction to hedge FoFs. Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs have ‘cloning’ products which invest in the asset classes which enable them to replicate hedge FoF performance. State Street Global Advisors announced yesterday that it was looking to offer a similar fund. These compete with the tracking funds offered by index providers such as Greenwich-Van and Credit Suisse Tremont Index. Whelan will be speaking about these and other trends in the US hedge fund industry at the conference, produced in association with the Australian Custodial Services Association. About 320 attendees are expected.

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