BENCHMARK, a Hong Kong-based publishing company, has launched Asia's first publications directly aimed at the investment fund industry. The publications, Half Yearly Funds Analyses and Quarterly Magazine, were launched last month with the aim of providing a comprehensive regional publication that would provide detailed information to investors about the collective funds industry. Quarterly Magazine, published every three months, provides readers with updates on fund managers' opinions on the world's stock markets, the pitfalls of investing and performance analysis of funds. The Half Yearly Funds Analyses, published every six months, assesses the 200 funds that invest exclusively in Asian stock markets. The magazine focuses on the companies the funds invest in, the people behind the funds and the charges involved. The publication is aimed at those who probably invested before and who are looking for tips on the funds available. Gerry Ball, managing director of Benchmark, said the response to the publications had been overwhelming. 'There are a host of fund magazines in the developed fund industries of North America and Britain that serve investors' needs,' he said. 'We are simply replicating a very successful formula that has been used in the West for many years and have adapted it to the Asian market. 'We think the timing is right to launch an investment funds publication as the number of investors buying funds is set to continue its explosive growth, not just in Hong Kong but in Asia as a whole,' he said. 'Add this to the number of fund companies running regional businesses and governments around the region continually opening up the fund industry to finance their infrastructure ambitions and you have all the platforms in place for a boom. 'Equally important will be investors' ability to stay on top of regional investment opportunities and profit from the best and most efficiently-managed funds,' he said. The publishers will work closely with Reuters and Micropal, two of the fund management industry's most prominent authorities. Reuters will sponsor the bilingual publications and give support through providing editorial, photography, graphics and stock market information. Fund performance monitoring company Micropal will act as exclusive data supplier of fund performance information. It has authorised the magazine to publish the Micropal Star Ratings for the first time in an Asian publication. Some of Asia's leading investment management companies have also contributed to the first editions of the magazines. Fidelity has assessed the benefits of investing in investment funds while Schroders and Jardine Fleming give their outlook for Asia in 1996 and the role of fung shui, its influence on the stockmarket past and present. Currently, the magazine is distributed both locally and in Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. Future plans include distributing the publication to all Asian countries. Quarterly Magazine has a circulation of 20,000 and Half Yearly Funds Analyses has 12,000. The magazines sell for $48 and $198 respectively. Discounts between 20 per cent and 30 per cent are available on subscription.