Vienna: Globally operating Austrian hedge fund firm Superfund confirmed on Friday that it is closing its branch in Dubai together with other bureaus in Singapore, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Liechtenstein and Monaco, which account for a third of its international branches.
The company, which uses sophisticated computer software to run trades in commodity and financial futures, has come under financial pressure in the current market environment and is forced to cut costs and lay off staff, Superfund said in a statement. The company will also discontinue most of its sport sponsoring activities, it said.
Superfund's Dubai office was opened in 2007 at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), targeting institutional and private investors. At the opening, Superfund founder Christian Baha announced that his company "is targeting the entire financial market in the Middle East and is planning to expand its activities over the whole region".
At that time, Superfund funds were among the best-performing financial products worldwide with annual double-digit net returns, attracting more than 50,000 investors. However, performance over the last year and a half has been exceptionally poor, and high management fees and issue surcharges caused many customers to sell their Superfund assets.
Since its foundation in 1995 by Baha, a former police officer, Superfund offered so-called managed futures funds based on algorithmic trading programmes.
Between 1996 and 2003, its flagship fund reached a performance of almost 500 per cent. However, since then, performance of the funds was flat to considerably negative.