Hedge fund firm GAM planning distressed fund

Reuters – GAM, the hedge fund firm owned by Julius Baer AG, is preparing to launch a distressed debt fund of funds after watching asset prices reach "extreme levels", a company letter seen by Reuters said.

In a letter to investors seen by Reuters on Monday, GAM chief executive David M. Solo said: "We are completing a thorough review of a range of the best managers in the U.S. and Europe so as to create a diversified vehicle to benefit from this unique opportunity."

In the letter dated Oct. 2, Solo said GAM clients had been requesting a distressed fund for more than a year. That the firm is now preparing to dip its toe in the water could encourage other players in the field to feel asset prices are nearing bottom.

A source familiar with the plans indicated that a launch for the fund has been mooted for the end of this year or early in 2009, although that was subject to change. The source could give no figure for target assets under management.

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