Armstrong International duo go it alone

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The new London-based firm, called Lutyens da Cunha, will cover all services relating to hedge fund and private equity management, including product structuring, hedge funds sales and prime brokerage.

Lutyens, who also spent two and a half years in marketing at Mercury Asset Management, said that there is a niche for a dedicated firm as hedge funds are such a growth area, and she believes this trend will continue. In 2001, securities financing was one of the few investment banking areas to actively recruit.

The duo have two and a half years' of experience and contacts within the hedge fund arena, particularly fund of hedge funds, having built up the hedge fund practise for Armstrong International.

Lutyens said: &quotWe know the market and it is the relationships that matter, so we saw the opportunity.&quot

For only three-quarters of 2001, hedge funds saw inflows of $22bn (€25bn), Tass Research said. Last year, the MSCI World Index fell by 18.3%, while hedge funds returned 3.2%.

This has prompted many firms to start offering alternative products, including hedge funds, and service providers have also been gearing up. Last year, Citigroup went live with its international prime brokerage platform and Bank of America announced plans for a new prime brokerage operation.

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