Morgan Stanley in CTA fund launch with Chicago boutique

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Investment bank Morgan Stanley has joined forces with financial services firm Mesirow Financials to launch a CTA-based strategy on its alternative funds platform.

The MS Discretionary Plus UCITS fund is the latest CTA approach to be added to Morgan Stanley’s FundLogic Alternative umbrella platform, which was launched in 2006 to offer exposure to Ucits and non-Ucits funds.

This new strategy is a mirror of Chicago-based Mesirow Financial’s existing CTA fund, the Mesirow Absolute Return Plus Strategy.

It seeks to have at least 75% commodities exposure and identify two or three macro themes which are then played through futures contracts.

The strategy seeks to avoid portfolio concentration on multiple levels - including price, concentration, time, and trade structure - and aims to ensure a strong, all-around strategy.

Lead manager on the fund is Mesirow’s senior strategist Tom Willis, who has over 30 years of market experience.

The fund is Dublin-domiciled and in the process of being made available to investors in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.

This marks the fourth CTA fund to be launched on the FundLogic Alternative platform and the latest to be made available in a Ucits format through a partnership deal with multi-manager Equinox Fund Management.

Equinox, which is a US-based firm, is a specialist in the construction of portfolios through multiple CTA programmes.