(AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
JOHANNESBURG - South African private equity firm Capitalworks plans to launch a London-based business to provide financial and operational support for hedge funds, four sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The new venture, Sephira Investment Advisors, marks the first major foray into Britain for Capitalworks, one of the biggest South Africa-based private equity firms, with $515 million (R6.81 billion) of assets under management.

It comes at a time of relatively subdued growth outlooks across African markets and as Britain - the world’s second-biggest centre for asset management - faces uncertainty around the impact of Britain’s vote to leave the EU.

Regulatory filings in Britain showed two funds registered to Sephira Investment Advisors, comprising Sephira GEM Equity and Sephira EM Asia Equity.

Capitalworks will provide a regulatory platform for the funds; help fund-raise, particularly in South Africa; and inject some cash from its underlying investors, many of whom are South African, two of the sources said.

A spokesperson at Capitalworks declined to comment.

The global emerging markets stock-picking hedge fund Sephira GEM Equity fund will be run by Jason Mitra and will likely be launched next month with between $200 million and $250m, two of the sources have revealed.

They added that the Sephira EM Asia Equity fund would take a long-only approach to investing in emerging Asian markets. It would be launched with about $100m.