Polar Capital eyes Asia as fund flows pick up post-crisis

POLAR Capital, the Aim-listed asset manager, is planning to launch strategies targeting Asia to capture some of the growing flow of clients’ cash into the region.

Chief executive Tim Woolley said the firm would look to double the number of funds it runs to 12, and would hire two more teams this year, after largely missing out on the rush of capital into the Far East due to its focus on Europe and Japan.

His comments came as Polar revealed full-year profits of £3.1m – down from £12.1m a year earlier but at the upper end of expectations.

Following a torrid 2008, when Polar’s assets under management plunged from £2.7bn to £1bn, Polar said fund levels recovered 71 per cent to £1.7bn. Improving investor confidence meant flows of new money outbalanced losses from the St James-based outfit’s macro fund.

Despite the healthier state of Polar’s business, chairman Tom Bartlam’s outlook was cautious. He said: “As recent weeks have shown with the fallout from the Greek debt crisis and the consequent concern about the stability of the euro, there remain substantial economic and political issues for the markets to deal with and further weaknesses in markets cannot be ruled out.”

Woolley was bullish on company fundamentals, however. He said: “At the bottom-up level valuations look quite attractive and we can probably expect more corporate takeover activity as people capitalise on that.”

Shares in Polar fell 0.8 per cent to 296.5p as investors took profits.