A top fund of hedge funds manager at HSBC's alternative investments unit has left after the global banking group decided to merge its discretionary and advisory businesses.

Tim Gascoigne, who was global head of portfolio management and who ran the $2.4 billion (1.5 billion pounds) GH fund of hedge funds at HSBC Alternative Investments Limited (HAIL), left last month, a spokeswoman for the bank said on Monday.

HAIL manages $7.8 billion in assets, including funds of hedge funds, private equity and real estate.

Gascoigne was responsible for around $4 billion of the $38 billion that HSBC manages in alternative investments globally.

Gascoigne's responsibilities have been taken on by Faraz Sultan, who runs the advisory business and who will now be in charge of the combined advisory and discretionary businesses.

Gascoigne's departure comes amidst a tough period for the $630 billion fund of hedge funds industry, which has seen net outflows from clients in each of the past four years, according to Hedge Fund Research.

(Reporting by Laurence Fletcher; Editing by Greg Mahlich)