Tal Keinan, an Israeli fund manager, was ready for the question he’s always asked when he met with investors in New York in October: Why put your money with a manager whose country Iran has threatened to obliterate.
'We tell them ‘if the Iranians attack, the worst thing that can happen is you lose your money manager not your money', Keinan, chief executive officer of Tel Aviv-based KCPS& Company, which oversees $1bn in assets, said in an interview in October. 'The notion is trade global markets with global assets and clients, but just do it from Israel because of the concentration of talent here'.
Bloomberg reports that the country is becoming a magnet for hedge fund managers as lower operating costs, the world’s highest number of Ph.D.s and hi-tech startups per capita overshadow concern that Israel may be attacked by missiles from Tehran.
The number of funds has grown to 60 overseeing about $2bn from 13 in 2006, according to a survey of the local industry published in July by Tzur Management. Israel may be on track to replicate the growth that propelled Singapore’s industry from fewer than 20 managers in 2001 to 320 overseeing $48bn in 2009, Yitz Raab, founder and managing partner of the Tel Aviv-based fund administration company said in an interview last month.
Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, Europe’s second-biggest hedge fund, opened an office in Tel Aviv at the end of 2005. Sphera Funds Management, the country’s largest hedge fund, raised money in 2007 to start a global health-care fund which now has about $235m under management. WorldQuant LLC, based in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, has a research and development team in Israel.
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