Australia becomes Asia's hedge fund centre

Australia has become the Asia hedge fund capital, ahead of usual suspects Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore, a new report claims.

An article in the Indian Economic Times claims that assets managed by hedge funds based in Australia have boomed in recent years and uses the rapid growth of Everest Capital, now Everest Babcock & Brown, to illustrate its point.

Jeremy Reid assumed control of his family investments in 2000 and started Everest Capital as a new fund of hedge fund business, attracting $23 million in his first year. Now named Everest Babcock & Brown, the largest listed fund of hedge fund manager in Australia is now worth in excess of $1.5 billion.

The report cites Australia's "appealing lifestyle and ready access to good people and ideas" as possible reasons for its boom in hedge funds.

With a relatively small population, the boom in Australia-based hedge funds has surprised analysts, who suggest that the country has overcome initial skepticism among investors to become the largest hedge fund in the Asia-Pacific region.

Government-established financial services advisor Axiss Australia estimates that the amount of assets managed by hedge funds based in the country quadrupled to A$62 billion over the three years to June 2006 and the number of funds doubled to 130.

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