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Ex-Goldman, Noble top traders to set up Asia hedge fund: source

By Nishant Kumar

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Two former top traders at Goldman Sachs and Noble Group are planning to form a hedge fund in Asia, a source with knowledge of the matter said, in another high profile launch in the region.

The fund's creation comes as global regulatory changes restrict banks from trading with their own money, forcing so-called proprietary desk traders to strike out on their own.

It also comes as investor interest in hedge funds in Asia makes its strongest comeback since 2007 and on the back of the industry's strong performance in 2013.

Leland Lim, who was the co-head of macro trading for Asia Pacific ex-Japan at Goldman Sachs Group Inc , is teaming up with Allan Bedwick, the former head of macro trading in Asia for Noble Group , to launch a macro hedge fund in the second or third quarter of 2014, the source said.

Lim, who joined Goldman in New York in 1997 on the foreign exchange options desk, retired last month from the Wall Street bank, while Bedwick quit the Singaporean commodities firm in January.

Lim moved to Asia in 1999. Prior to becoming the co-head, he managed Asia Pacific ex-Japan foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives trading, according to an internal memo sent to Goldman staff announcing his retirement.

The source could not estimate the start-up capital as the plan was at an early stage and the duo has yet to register the firm in Hong Kong.

Asian hedge funds returned an average 16 percent last year, outperforming a less than 10 percent gain by global peers and attracted net inflows of $11 billion in 2013, the highest since 2007, according to data from industry tracker Eurekahedge.

Dozens of proprietary traders globally have spun off from banks to start their own hedge fund since the financial crisis in 2008.

Some of the well-known names in Asia include former Goldman trader Morgan Sze, who started Azentus Capital, and former Credit Suisse trader Charlie Chan who runs Splendid Asia macro fund. Both launched their funds in 2011.

Lim and Bedwick will compete with Asia-based macro hedge funds such as the $1.8 billion Fortress Asia Macro Fund run by Adam Levinson and the $2.6 billion Dymon Asia Macro Fund managed by former Citadel LLC trader Danny Yong in Singapore.

At his new firm, Lim will lead investments. Bedwick will run the business, a change in role for the former Lehman Brothers trader who outperformed rivals when he managed his own macro hedge fund between 2009 and 2012.

Bedwick had launched his Sequence Fundamental Macro Fund, earlier known as OGI Global Macro Fund, in October 2009 in Japan with $15 million. It earned a 9 percent annual return, nearly twice what his peers were making, and grew to manage as much as $150 million.

But Bedwick, an American who has worked in Asia for more than half his life, shut down his hedge fund in 2012 after the fund failed to grow as investor shifted to larger hedge funds globally.

Macro hedge funds focus on major economic trends and events and bet anywhere they see value, including stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and derivatives markets.

(Editing by Christopher Cushing, Michael Flaherty and Matt Driskill)

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