Former UBS Executives to Start London Commodities Hedge Fund

Neal Shear, who spent 25 years at Morgan Stanley, and Jean Bourlot, former commodities head at UBS AG (UBSN), are starting Higgs Capital Management LLP, a commodities hedge fund in London.

The fund will cover energy, agriculture and metals, Bourlot said by phone from London today. Shear will be chief executive officer and Bourlot will be chief investment officer, he said. Neville Atha, who joins from Jabre Capital Partners, will be chief operating officer.

Commodity hedge funds raised an estimated $1.33 billion in the first two months of 2012 and assets under management stood at $85.1 billion as of Feb. 29, according to eVestment|HFN, a New York-based research company. Investors in raw materials tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI index got a total return of 8.4 percent in January and February as copper and oil rallied, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“Commodity funds haven’t necessarily attracted more new allocations, but have grown at a faster rate,” than other funds, said Peter Laurelli, vice president at eVestment. “The interest in the group comes from investors wanting exposure to hard assets and a decline in interest in directional equity exposures. Commodity funds have grown at a faster rate in 2012.”

Source: UBS via Bloomberg

Former UBS Executive Neal Shear. Close

Former UBS Executive Neal Shear.

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Source: UBS via Bloomberg

Former UBS Executive Neal Shear.

Shear left UBS in March 2011 after about a year as head of the bank’s global securities business, and Bourlot was head of commodities at UBS through December. Before that, Bourlot was head of agricultural trading at Morgan Stanley.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Kolesnikova in London at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net; Chanyaporn Chanjaroen in Singapore at cchanjaroen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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