Two portfolio managers who left Rubicon Asset Management shortly after Allco bought the firm have launched an event-driven hedge fund seeded by Pengana Capital.

Antonio Meroni and Tony Wolfe have resurfaced as the portfolio managers behind the Pengana Asian Special Events Fund, a hedge fund targeting mergers and acquisitions, new issues and other ‘special events’ affecting listed companies in Asia-Pacific markets. The fund is being launched today. Meroni was senior portfolio manager with the Rubicon Asia Special Events Fund, which contributed to the Rubicon M&A Fund. Wolfe also worked on this fund. The duo crossed over to Pengana shortly after Rubicon was taken over by Allco Finance Group in the second half of 2007. Rubicon was unavailable for comment before I&T News went to press. The new fund is jointly-owned by the portfolio managers and Pengana on a rough 50/50 split and had been seeded “with several million dollars of Pengana money,” Pillemar said. While the fund will be marketed to domestic institutions, distribution efforts will focus on offshore institutional and high-net-worth individual investors in America, Europe and Asia, including pension and endowment funds, private banks and hedge fund-of-fund managers. “That’s the sweet spot of our investment universe. In Australia, the institutions are starting to embrace these strategies but this section of the market is not as developed,” Pillemar said. Since Meroni and Wolfe had run a similar event-driven strategy at Rubicon, the incubation process was not as exhaustive as those used for new strategies. “It’s different to early-stage incubation because you don’t need to incubate the strategy,” Pillemar said.

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