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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Palmer Square Makes its Mutual Fund Debut

Reported by Armie Margaret Lee

The list of alternative mutual fund players gained a new addition this week. Palmer Square Capital Management, a Leawood, Kansas-based manager of hedge fund-of-funds partnerships and alternative investment offerings, entered the mutual fund business with the launch of Palmer Square Absolute Return Fund. [SEC filing]

Founded in early 2009, Palmer Square Capital is majority owned by Montage Investments and is led by the husband-and-wife team of Chris and Angie Long, who serve as president and chief investment officer, respectively.

The mutual fund became effective on Monday and started taking in outside money today. The fund is seeded with $40 million.

In an interview, Chris Long said the company made the decision last November to pursue the mutual fund path and pointed to a confluence of factors that led to the decision: "Investor demand for it, coupled with the ability to leverage what we're doing in the partnership world and bring it to the mutual fund world."

As for the timing of the launch, Long said: "More and more of our investor base and the other people we talk to were asking if we could develop a product like this."

To disribute the fund, Palmer Square is tapping the marketing and sales force of its parent company, Montage Investments. Sales efforts are geared towards RIAs and broker-dealers.

Expense ratios for the fund are capped at 225 bps for the institutional share class and 250 bps for the investor class.

UMB Fund Services serves as fund co-administrator, transfer agent and fund accountant, Mutual Fund Adminstration Corporation is the co-administrator, Grand Distribution Services serves as distributor, JPMorgan serves as custodian, Bingham McCutchen is the independent counsel and Tait, Weller & Baker LLP serves as the independent registered public accounting firm.

Palmer Square did not do a vendor RFP, said Long. The vendors, he said, "came highly recommended from the sources we talked to. Given the complexity of our product, and what we're trying to acomplish, these are the vendors that offer the best front- and back-end services.

And Palmer Square itself already knows some of the vendors prior to its mutual fund foray. Angie Long previously worked at JPMorgan for 14 years. And as for Bingham McCutchen, the law firm serves as the counsel for Palmer Square's private partnerships.

Palmer Square will have a presence at the upcoming Morningstar conference and Financial Advisor magazine's Innovative Alternative Strategies conference in Chicago next month.  

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