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Insparo appoints commodity specialist for planned global food fund

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Opalesque Industry Update - Insparo Asset Management has appointed commodity specialist Lucas Wurfbain to oversee a new global Food Fund, expected to be launched later this year.

Lucas brings with him a wealth of experience in the commodity space, having worked at Fortress Investment Group, Rubicon Fund Management and Global Asset Management (GAM). Lucas has worked both in London and in Asia and has travelled extensively throughout his career.

Lucas joins Insparo’s six-strong investment team, led by CIO Mohammed Hanif, which manages the firm’s highly successful frontier market products. The firm’s existing funds, the Insparo Africa Equity Fund (IAEF)and the firm’s flagship Insparo Africa and Middle East Fund (IAMEF) have performed exceptionally since their launch.

The IAMEF has returned over 49% with low volatility since launch in 2008. Meanwhile, the IAEF returned 23% in 2012 and is now +10% since launch two years ago. Performance for both puts them firmly at the forefront of their peer group.

Insparo will apply the firm’s successful investment approach to the global food market, aided by Lucas’ expert knowledge of the commodities industry. With the spotlight firmly on rising food prices and rapidly shrinking global food resources, Insparo believe the new fund will be ideally placed to capitalise on the growing dislocations in the market when it launches later in the year.

With the firm currently seeding an EM local markets fund, also expected to be launched shortly, 2013 looks set to be a highly eventful year for Insparo.

Lucas started his career as an investment analyst at GAM focussing on global equities. He then joined the commodities team at Rubicon Fund Management in London. Here the team instituted a commodity supply chain methodology, using both equities and commodities futures, to express their investment views. The team then moved to Fortress, launching the Fortress Commodity Fund in 2008, growing this to $1.4billion.

Mohammed Hanif, Chief Investment Officer at Insparo, commented: “Lucas is an excellent hire for us, and brings precisely the kind of skills and experience we were looking for. As well as strengthening the investment team’s existing skillset, he will be the portfolio manager of our planned food fund and have a key role in other initiatives. To be successful with a fund like that you need a team that understands both the short term opportunities of commodities markets, and their long term cyclical nature. Lucas’ addition gives us a huge advantage in that area. In addition to his investment role we look forward to welcoming him as a member of our management team.”

Lucas Wurfbain added: “It is very exciting to be joining Insparo. In the short time since its launch the firm has established itself as one of the most dynamic managers investing in next generation markets. I believe I am joining a firm whose track record speaks for itself, and I look forward to helping them maintain and enhance that record as the company plans its move into new investment arenas.”

Press release

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