UK - State Street Global Advisors has set up a hedge fund strategies group to be headed by former UK chief investment officer Chris Woods.

The London-based group has been established to “strengthen the development and delivery of its hedge fund offerings to capitalise on the increasing market demand for alternative investments”.

Woods, who was replaced as UK CIO by Rick Lacaille in June this year, will be CIO of the new group. Erich Stock will handle marketing and sales in Europe and the Middle East. Scott Gregory will do the same job for the US and Asia. The group reports to Alan Brown, SSGA’s chief investment officer.

SSGA says the group is currently developing new strategies aimed at institutional investors, hedge fund-of-funds, private banks, and family offices.

“A range of funds is envisaged which will exploit the company's expertise in managing currency, fixed income, statistical arbitrage and mortgage backed securities,” SSGA said in a release.

Brown said: “We believe that the creation of a group dedicated to hedge fund strategies will allow us to capitalise on the increased interest in alternative investment strategies from both existing and potential clients.

“As investors recognise the benefits of diversification in a challenging investment environment, the demand for hedge fund products will continue to increase.”

Brown said the hedge fund market is currently estimated at more than 700 billion dollars and is expected to grow threefold by the year 2010. SSGA currently manages 700 million dollars in hedge fund assets.