HSBC Investments has launched the Luxembourg-based Global Emerging Markets (GEM) Equity Freestyle fund. It is applying for distributor status for the fund that is part of the Global Investment Funds (GIF) range.The launch comes a year after Nick Timberlake was recruited in April 2005 from F&C as head of global emerging markets of HSBC Halbis Partners. HSBC says Timberlake has spent the past year focusing on the investment process and performance of the onshore emerging markets equity funds at the asset manager before launching GEM. The fund has been launched as HSBC is reviewing its options for the Luxembourg-based HSBC Bric (Brazil, Russia, India and China) Freestyle fund. It is expected to close the fund to new investors, although HSBC says no final decision has yet been made. The fund has around $4bn (2.3bn) in assets under management. GEM, which has already attracted more than $600m in assets from Asia, is managed by Timberlake. It has the flexibility to invest in most emerging markets and stocks without being constrained by benchmark weightings. “Global emerging markets are demonstrating a new maturity, which is helping to support a strong investment case for the asset class,” says Timberlake. “Historically, emerging countries have relied too heavily on exports to the developed world to drive their growth. “Rising incomes and rapidly growing workforces are both helping to stimulate domestic demand today. We see this as a key theme for the asset class.” The fund has an initial charge of 5.54%, an annual charge of 1.5% and a minimum investment of $5,000. HSBC Halbis Partners is a specialist business within the HSBC group that aims to deliver consistent outperformance in selected investment areas, including emerging markets.