Man Group , the world's biggest listed hedge fund firm, said investors have continued to withdraw their money although private investor sales have picked up, as flows in the battered industry slowly improve.

Investors pulled out a net $1.4 billion in the three months to June, the firm said, helping push assets down to $43.3 billion.

However, the company, which saw net withdrawals from both institutions and private investors in the six months to March, had net inflows of $1.9 billion from private investors countered by net outflows of $3.3 billion from institutions in the three months to June.

Man Group said gross redemptions from private investors were considerably lower than in the previous two quarters.

So far in the current quarter to September, a spokesman said Man has paid out $1.8 billion in institutional outflows.

The shares were up 0.9 percent at 241.5 pence at 0742 GMT (3:42 a.m. EDT), slightly outpacing gains in the FTSE 100.

UBS analyst Carolyn Dorrett said in a note that private investor sales were helped by three product launches based on its AHL managed futures strategy in April.

Funds under management at end-June were $43.3 billion, down from $44 billion at the end of May, and were helped by positive currency movements.

Private investors have generally been quicker than institutions to pull their money from the $1.3 trillion hedge fund industry and slower to return.

At last month's GAIM conference in Monaco speakers said the immediate outlook for flows was tough, although institutional investors could re-enter the market before the end of the year. In May chief executive Peter Clarke said he expected redemption requests from institutional investors to shift significantly downwards from here. In the year to March the company saw net outflows of $2.1 billion.

Man's financial strength and investment breadth means we are well placed to grow market share, Clarke said in the statement.

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