Citigroup Inc. plans to double the size of a team helping pension and government-backed funds manage direct hedge fund investments, said Nick Roe, its global prime finance head.

The targeted increase of the now 30-person consulting team may be completed within 18 to 24 months, Roe, who is based in London, said in an interview in Hong Kong late last week. Asia may get a disproportionate number of the additions as the bank expands the services from Europe and the U.S. to the region, he said.

"We see it as one of the major growth areas for us," Roe said. "The pension funds, the institutional asset market are going directly to hedge funds. It was the reverse of what the investor profile was two years ago."

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