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Hedge funds key to riding out market turmoil.

Hedge Funds will play a key role for investors to weather the current market turmoil said financial experts at a two day Alternative Investment Conference in Dubai which concluded yesterday (06/04/08). The conference was addressed by six of the world's most prominent hedge fund managers and attended by over 300 institutional and high net worth (HNW) investors from the region.

"No matter how severe the looming financial crisis is, it is certain to lead to new opportunities in the future as talented hedge fund managers will be in a good position to monetise those opportunities," said George Azar, managing director of Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) Dubai, which organised the event.

Azar said the general consensus amongst economic experts was that we have now entered an era of dislocation where the liquidity crisis has morphed into a solvency crisis. Emerging countries are using their copious foreign exchange reserves to re-capitalise prestigious western companies, especially banks.

He said hedge funds came into vogue in the GCC region in 2002 due their high performance in comparison to declining stock markets and diminishing interest rates, a scenario which is being repeated today.

The fund managers who addressed the conference included Dinakar Singh, founding partner of TPG-Axon Capital; Nelson Peltz founding partner and CEO of Trian Fund Management; Michael Novogratz, president of Fortress Investment Group; Larry Robbins, founder and CEO of Glenview Capital Management; Eric Knight, founder of Knight Vinke Asset Management; and Steven Friedman, co-founder and Director of Eos Credit Opportunities.

"We are very proud to have been able to bring together such a talented group of hedge fund managers from all around of the world talk to us about the current market situation," said Daniel de Picciotto, Managing Director of UBP based at the head office in Geneva.

Picciotto added that the outlook for the GCC along with the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries is that they will forge ahead without skipping a beat and will constitute the investment platforms of choice. This year will be turbulent, because it will represent a historic inflection point in the path of our economic and monetary policies. However, this does not rule out the possibility of an accelerated rebound, fuelled by the old models and providing yet another reprieve for the credit super-cycle.

UBP is the largest family-owned private bank in the world with more than US$120 billion in assets under management. In January 2008, UBP was once again ranked first in the category "Best Private Bank - Hedge Fund Investment" in Switzerland in Euromoney magazine and also won top honours as the best Hedge Fund Investment in the United Arab Emirates.

About UBP

Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) is based in Geneva and is one of Switzerland's leading private banks. As global asset manager for private and institutional clients, the Group had over US$120 billion under management as at 31 December 2007. It has a particular expertise in selecting hedge funds, ranking among the world leaders in the field of alternative investments.

UBP employs over 1,300 people in some 20 locations worldwide and provides a complete range of investment products and services.

About Hedge Funds

A hedge fund is a private investment fund that charges a performance fee and is typically only available to a limited number of qualified investors. Hedge fund activity has grown substantially in recent years; in the early 1990's the industry consisted of about 610 hedge funds with US$39 billion under management, as opposed to 9,000 funds and US$1,900 billion dollars under management today.

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Date:Apr 6, 2008
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