Monument Internet Fund Loses Manager Cheung to Start-Up

The move is another indication that Net fund management is every bit as volatile as the sector itself.
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Alex Cheung, manager of last year's top-performing Internet fund,

(MFITX)

Monument Internet, is leaving to join a money-management start-up.

Although no announcement has come from Monument,

Long Bow Associates

of King of Prussia, Pa., issued a press release Monday afternoon characterizing Cheung as a founder of the firm.

Reached Monday afternoon on his cell phone, Cheung said he gave notice at Monument last week, citing "higher aspirations." He added that he probably won't sub-advise his old fund while at his new firm.

His departure from Monument illustrates how the management ranks of Internet and technology funds have become as volatile as some of the stocks in the sector. These managers are coming off an incredible year where the average tech fund returned a jaw-dropping 135%, and many have shopped their skills around or started their own firm.

Last year, Ryan Jacob

left the

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Internet fund to start one of his own. More recently,

Fidelity

lost tech manger

Andrew Kaplan, who joined a hedge fund, and tech-savvy growth specialist

Erin Sullivan, who started her own hedge fund.

Cheung says he hopes to start an Internet fund and a biotech fund for Long Bow sometime in the summer, depending on how long it takes the

Securities and Exchange Commission

to approve the paperwork. The firm also may eventually enter the hedge fund business as well. Hedge funds are unregulated investments, pooled like mutual funds, but are only available to investors with net worth of more than $1 million.

Last year, Cheung posted a stunning 273% return on the Monument Internet fund, finishing at the top of the triple-digit-returning heap of Net funds. He started running the fund at its November 1998 inception, and many fund pundits hailed him as "Rookie of the Year" in 1999.

The fund has slipped a bit more recently, if only on a relative basis. Since Jan. 1, the fund is up just 15.9%, which trails 92% of its peers.

Monument hasn't yet named a successor for Cheung. A Monument spokeswoman said the company would make a statement on Tuesday. Cheung's face still graced the home page of the company's

Web site Monday afternoon.