AUSTRIA – Consulting firms Watson Wyatt and Hewitt bacon & Woodrow are both involved in an Austrian hedge fund venture launched by Raiffeisen Capital Management.

Austrian asset manager Raiffeisen is to launch a fund of hedge funds with four international partners - including pension consultant Watson Wyatt Worldwide. Separately, Hewitt has provided advice.

Andreas Zakostelsky, one of Raiffeisen KAG’s managing directors, said the new hedge fund product was a “logical” move.

The fund of funds is expected to reach a volume of 500 million euros at the end of 2005 and will comprise 20 to 30 different hedge funds.

Fellow managing director Gerhard Aigner, explained: “The essential difference between fund of hedge funds and single funds is that we unite all the investing styles and offer our clients an ideal return-risk relation.”

Raiffeisen also said the asset class was “attractive” but not for everybody. “We would like to make it clear that this investment class is not for typical small savers,” said Zakostelsky.

The new product a “Publikums Hedge- Dachfonds” also open to institutional investors, will launch on September 20.

As an incentive, Reiffeisen said that investors subscribing between September 20 and October 13 would be offered a discount rate of three percent rather than four percent.

Raiffeisen, assisted by Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow, has selected the US insurer American International Group, AIG, as hedge fund of funds manager. AIG was chosen over 40 candidates and was one of the four short-listed candidates.

“AIG offers unique experience and an impressive track record in a rather still young field,” Zakostelsky said.

The other partners are: Watson Wyatt Worldwide, for qualitative analysis, Capital International for European and global equities, Wellington for global market equities, Curzon Global for real estate funds.