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Neuberger Berman starts second alternative mutual fund

Sam Forgione
Thursday, 19 Dec 2013 | 5:41 PM ET

NEW YORK, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Neuberger Berman Group LLC has launched its second mutual fund that employs external hedge fund managers to manage its assets, the New York-based investment firm said on Thursday.

The Neuberger Berman Long Short Multi-Manager Fund will behave like a hedge fund by betting both on and against stocks, a strategy known as "long/short." The firm has hired outside hedge fund managers to manage specific slices of the fund's investments.

The timing of Neuberger Berman's new fund appears prescient. Investors have flocked this year to these types of "long/short" funds partly on concerns that the U.S. stock market could fall from its highs, said Jeff Tjornehoj, head of Americas research at Lipper. The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 Index has risen 27 percent this year.

U.S.-listed alternative mutual funds have attracted $88.2 billion in new cash from investors this year through Nov. 30, putting inflows on track to trounce previous annual records, according to data from investment research firm Morningstar.

Such "long/short" funds, often called liquid alternatives or alternative mutual funds, aim to profit when the broader stock market declines. The strategy mimics that of hedge funds, which use various techniques to deliver so-called "uncorrelated" returns.

Unlike hedge funds, however, these products typically must comply with mutual fund regulations by letting investors withdraw cash overnight, offering lower minimum starting investments, making their portfolio holdings transparent to investors, and not charging a performance fee.

The minimum starting investment in the latest Neuberger Berman fund's Class A and C shares is $1,000, the firm said.

The minimum for the institutional share class is $1 million, said David Kupperman, a managing director in the firm's Neuberger Berman Hedge Fund Solutions group, in an interview.

The fund is the second of its kind from Neuberger Berman, which launched the $630 million Neuberger Berman Absolute Return Multi-Manager Fund in May of last year.

"We think hedge fund-type solutions are suitable in most environments and are attractive ways to dampen portfolio volatility," Kupperman said.

The Neuberger Berman Hedge Fund Solutions group, which specializes in building custom portfolios of hedge funds for institutional investors, selects the external managers and assigns the managers to investment niches, Kupperman said.

The new fund's subadvisers are Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn, LLC, Lazard Asset Management LLC, Levin Capital Strategies, L.P., SLS Management, LLC, and Turner Investments, L.P.

Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn and Lazard will oversee the fund's global long/short equities investments, Levin will oversee the utilities long/short investments, SLS will oversee equity restructuring long/short investments, and Turner will oversee long/short equity investments in the healthcare sector.

Neuberger Berman had $227 billion in assets, including $18 billion in alternative investments, as of Sept. 30, according to the firm's website.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)