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Hedge funds: Canada’s hedge funds beg attention

AUM may be still in its infancy but the quality of managers is appealing.

The Canadian hedge fund industry is estimated to have $35 billion in assets under management. It’s a drop in the ocean compared with the neighbouring US market but participants say its appeal is growing among international investors.

One of the attractions is the quality of managers. Sprott Asset Management runs about $6 billion – $2.6 billion of which is in hedge fund assets. The firm spun out of Canadian broker/dealer Sprott Securities, and its flagship offshore long/short equity fund, which has a bias towards Canada, has had impressive returns. Returns up to the end of October were more than 40%, and returns for 2006 were almost 27%. James Fox, director at the firm, says that managers in the region have been proving their standing in the global hedge fund industry. "The country’s hedge fund industry is still in its infancy compared with other markets, and has been behind the curve, but there are some great managers here," he says. "Talent has not been diluted. And we would like to think we are regarded as a successful hedge fund on a global basis – not just compared with our domestic peers."

Indeed, the performance of Canadian managers as a whole has been impressive.

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