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Money managers under the microscope

The attraction of the toxic

March 11, 2009

Nothing like a bit of toxicity. Wealth managers at Citi are telling their clients to watch for a burst of hedge fund interest in bad assets. They reckon the biggest opportunity for hedge funds is probably around the Public-Private Investment Fund, which is part of the huge U.S. plan to stabilise the toxic1financial sector.

The idea is that the U.S. government will lend money to investors to buy up toxic assets from banks, thus setting a market price. But the notes are non-recourse ones, which means that any default is limited to the actual cost of whatever collateral is require. In short, it limits liability if asset prices fall.

As a result of this, Citi says, hedge funds are likely to find the system attractive. But it warns: “Returns are likely to be volatile, at least in the near term. To take advantage of these new opportunities, investors need a long time horizon and a lot of patience.”

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The Government is to introduce insurance scheme for bad debts, possibly within a year

 

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