World's largest hedge fund firm now in India

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Mumbai: Indian capital market regulator SEBI has given the approval to Renaissance Technologies, the world's largest hedge fund firm handling assets worth Rs 1,41,600 crore ($35.4 billion), to start operation in Indian market as a foreign institutional investor.

Apart from Renaissance, similar firms recently entered Indian market include Vikram Pandit-founded Old Lane, DE Shaw (the world's fifth-largest hedge fund with $29 billion or Rs 1,16,000 crore worth assets) and Och-Ziff Capital Management (the seventh largest with $28.6 billion or Rs 1,14,400 crore in assets), says the SEBI website.

Renaissance, founded by Jim Simons, is headquartered in Manhattan, the U.S. It has more than 260 employees - many of them are PhDs and not conventional analysts from management schools.

The hedge fund major's Medallion Fund uses trading algorithms to invest across the world markets. According to a Bloomberg report, it returned more than 50 percent in the first three quarters of 2007. It had about $6 billion (Rs 24,000 crore) in assets as of July 1.

Renaissance made this returns at time of turmoil in the U.S. credit markets and the meltdown in stock prices across the world. Bear Stearns, for instance, saw two of its mortgage-related hedge funds falling into bankruptcy. Others such as Goldman Sachs' Global Alpha Fund, which competes with Renaissance's funds, lost more than 25 percent in the same period.

The approval, which was given in January, follows efforts by SEBI to get hedge funds and other overseas investors to register and participate directly in the Indian markets instead of through Participatory Notes.

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