UK boutique Alken Asset Management is looking to make its first foray into the US offshore market as part of its plans to expand its global distribution footprint.

The $5.8 billion London-based group is a European equity specialist that was founded in 2005 by Frenchman Nicolas Walewski (pictured below), a renowned fund manager among Europe’s investment community.

The firm’s sales director and product specialist Jaime Mesia said that the group has been looking to move into the US offshore market for some time.

‘We want to diversify our client portfolio and the areas we distribute our funds,’ said Mesia. ‘We want to get to know the dynamic [of the US offshore market] and the main players.'

The firm is currently doing its due diligence on the US offshore market and how best to target it. One of its options is to register its funds on the Pershing through the Euroclear platform, a European market clearing house. Among its first steps is to take part in the Citywire Miami Retreat taking place in February 22- 23 2018.

It will look to target the wealth management and wholesaler community rather than going for institutional players.

The group offers two long-only funds, Alken European Opportunities and Small Cap Europe, and one long/short equity vehicle, Alken Absolute Return Europe.

It is in the process of launching a fourth Luxembourg-domiciled fund, Alken Continental Europe, which will focus on the Europe ex-UK investment universe.

Walewski, a Citywire A-rated fund manager, is the lead portfolio manager on all three funds.

Since its launch the group has predominantly focused its distribution efforts in Europe while also registering a couple of its funds in Singapore.

Over the past five years the group’s flagship fund, Alken European Opportunities, ranks 32nd out of 452 European equity funds tracked by Citywire, having returned 86.8% over that period while the sector’s average manager has returned 53.5%.

Prior to setting up Alken, Walewski was a fund manager at Swiss shop Banque Syz from 1999 to 2005 where he managed the Oyster European Opportunities fund. He has also worked at French group Credit Lyonnais as a currency options portfolio manager.