Man weathers difficult first half with record $7bn sales

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The Independent Online

The spectacular growth of the hedge fund industry shows no sign of abating as the world's biggest hedge fund management yester-day reported record sales of $7bn (£3.7bn), despite its funds enduring a difficult first half.

Such has been the growth of Man Group that those sales, in just six months, are greater than the amount of money the company had under management just five years ago.

Some $5.6bn of that money came from wealthy private investors, undeterred by the difficulties faced by the hedge fund sector in the first half. The company said the Asia-Pacific region had been a particularly happy hunting ground. Stanley Fink, the chief executive, said Man funds had lost around 2 per cent as a result of difficult markets. He also cautioned that sales were unlikely to be as buoyant in the second half.

"It would be hard to repeat that performance, we have had a very good half, but getting $10bn from private investors in a year is probably pushing it," he said.

The company reported a 33 per cent increase in first half profits to $766m for the six months to September 30. Funds under management grew by $6.8bn to $56.8bn.

Mr Fink defend the performance of Man's funds, saying: "In our sort of business, people tend to concentrate on short-term performance too much. If conventional funds at conventional managers such as Schroders or Amvescap had fallen by 2 per cent, nobody would bat an eyelid. It would just be seen in the context of the market. But if our funds fall it's suddenly a major issue."

He said the company still had not made a decision on whether to spin off its futures brokerage, Man Financial. However, the company is thought to have been preparing for the move and is expected to act soon.

Man also has plans for a number of fund launches and was still weighing up the possibility of launching a "green hedge fund".

Mr Fink is due to step down as chief executive in April, to be replaced by his deputy, Peter Clarke. He will stay on as non-executive deputy chairman.