Search This Blog

25 Feb 2009

Diamond Fund Set to Launch

KPR Capital Limited announces the launch of the KPR Diamond Fund. The fund offers investors a unique access to physical diamonds capitalising on the price appreciation of top quality colourless diamonds.

The Fund aims to provide returns which are not correlated with traditional asset classes, act as a hedge against inflation and benefit from the supply/demand imbalance over the long term. The fund is part of KPR Fund SPC, a Cayman Islands open-ended investment company.

The investment manager has engaged a team of diamond industry experts that have in-depth knowledge and industry insight of the diamond market. The fund’s investment adviser is Goldwinds Asset Management Limited, a London based asset management firm.

Giovanni Pennetta, CEO of Goldwinds Asset Management, said, “The long term outlook for diamonds is robust. We are confident that this fund will provide the means for investors to diversify their portfolio and gain exposure to physical diamonds in a cost-efficient way. We see this as a huge investment opportunity that investors should not miss.”

The fund is open to investors in February and will launch on the 2nd March 2009. The fund has a minimum investment of US$ 250,000. Investors in the fund may benefit from the option to purchase stones on selected diamond sales by the fund at a wholesale price. The Diamond Segregated Portfolio may be offered, sold or transferred directly or indirectly to Non US Taxpayers and US Tax-exempt investors. US Taxpayers may invest in interest of the Partnership, KPR Diamond Fund L.P.

Hedge Funds Hold Up in January

Morningstar reported a summary of hedge fund performance for January 2009 as well as asset flows for 2008. As stocks and government bonds got clobbered in January, hedge funds held up relatively well, the report said.

The Morningstar 1000 Hedge Fund Index declined only 1.2% and the currency-hedged Morningstar with MSCI Hedge Fund Composite Asset-Weighted Index rose 1.2%, against the MSCI World Index's 8.9% drop and the BarCap Global Aggregate Index's 3.3% decline.

"Some liquidity returned to the credit markets in January, helping certain hedge fund strategies, but even hedge funds trading equities persevered through January's tough markets," said Morningstar Hedge Fund Analyst Nadia Papagiannis. "Overall, hedge funds held their own in January."

The rise in the U.S. dollar created profits for some price-trend-following and global-macro non-trend funds in January, but volatility across equity, government bond, and commodity markets throughout the month led to trading losses. The Morningstar Global Non-Trend Hedge Fund Index rose 0.1% while the Morningstar Global Trend Hedge Fund Index declined 1.6%.

Investors continued to pull out of hedge funds, withdrawing $26 billion in December and $70 billion for the year. Europe- and U.S.-equity hedge funds saw the largest redemptions, losing $14.8 and $18.3 billion respectively in 2008.

Rasmala Launches 2 Saudi Funds

The Saudi Capital Market Authority has approved Rasmala Investments request to launch two Saudi Equity funds. One of the funds 'Rasmala Saudi Equity Fund' will be managed according to the Shari'a guidelines approved by the fund's Shari'a Committee Jadwa and the other will be a conventional fund.

"The funds will invest in companies and industries that are poised to benefit from continuing opportunities in the Saudi economy. We believe the steep correction the market has witnessed since late last year has created many valuable opportunities, particularly for investors who view the prospects and strength of the Saudi economy favorably," Muhammad Shabbir, Head of Asset Management and CIO, said.

"Both funds will be suitable for investors who seek capital appreciation over the medium to long-term and will focus on adding value through a robust stock selection process relying primarily on the fundamental analysis skills of Rasmala's asset management team." Hamad Al Huthaili, Managing Director of Rasmala said, "Rasmala pioneered the fund-of-funds model in the MENA markets and the Company strives to provide high quality investment products to major segments of Saudi investors."

23 Feb 2009

AlphaMetrix Launches Index Tracker Fund

The AlphaMetrix STTI tracker fund, launched in mid-December 2008 by AlphaMetrix LLC, is designed to track the performance of Newedge’s AlternativeEdgeSM Short-Term Traders Index (STTI).

The fund currently has approximately $70 million under management, with additional commitments from large institutional investors expected in the coming months, according to the company. In January 2009, its first full month, the fund was up 1.94%.

"Short-term strategies have little to no correlation to any traditional or alternative investments, making them appealing to investors seeking to add pure ‘liquid alpha’ to their portfolios," said Aleks Kins, CEO of AlphaMetrix. "Further, the Short-Term Traders Index includes a wide range of diversified trading strategies, with each CTA heavily vetted, highly liquid and completely transparent."

Interest in short-term trading strategies is rising for many reasons, including unease over the lack of liquidity in other alternative investments such as hedge funds, the counter party guarantee offered by the exchange-traded derivatives market, historically strong risk-adjusted returns, limited downside risk and low volatility.

"The index is a highly practical application of our research into the best ways to construct portfolios,” said Galen Burghardt, head of research for Newedge. “We expected short-term futures traders to demonstrate valuable diversifying properties, and we have been very satisfied with the results. We expect the index to produce results that continue to be uncorrelated to every major asset class and expect the average correlation of returns in the index to remain low. As a result, we expect the index to track returns in this space with very low volatility."

Case Dismissed Against SAC Hedge Fund

Federal Judge Stanley R. Chesler of the Federal District Court of New Jersey, Friday threw out a Canadian pharmaceutical company shareholder lawsuit against a group of hedge funds including SAC Capital Advisors LP.

The Judge dismissed the lawsuit, saying "The conduct is so egregious, and the futility of imposing alternate sanctions is so clear, that dismissal is the only appropriate sanction."

Apparently the shareholders had violated a New York judge’s order sealing documents in a related Biovail case.

"The record before the court suggests that these proceedings and the RICO action proceedings were all part of a choreographed strategy by Biovail and its attorneys designed to constitute a counterattack against the Biovail securities action," the Judge wrote.

"We are gratified that the court has seen through this charade and has dismissed the case," a spokesman for SAC said.

20 Feb 2009

Taurus Launches Shriah Compliant Mutual Fund

India hedge fund manager, Taurus Mutual Fund, launched India’s first actively managed Equity Oriented Shariah compliant fund, the ‘Taurus Ethical Fund’.

With a minimum investment of INR 5000 ($100K), the open-ended actively managed mutual fund opens on February 19, 2009 and closes on March 20, 2009.

Launching in Mumbai, the fund has been certified by an independent Shariah Board named TASIS (Taqwaa Advisory and Shariah Investment Solutions).

“It’s all about investing in the right businesses and Shariah compliance ensures that," Waqar Naqvi, CEO, Taurus Mutual Fund said, "The need to pick businesses that foster wealth creation over the long term and distribute it equitably forms the basis of Shariah investing. It also provides an effective filter to identify and avoid speculative businesses. No wonder, Shariah compliant businesses have weathered the sub prime crisis”.

Hedge Fund Provider Teams up With FN in India Investing Summit

Financial News is hosting the the Investors India Summit 2009 on the 19th and 20th May in London with Indian hedge fund provider Axience as its media partner.

The summit is aimed at delivering insight into the domestic as well as global development of India while identifying the potential hurdles and risks of doing business in the country. In this process, it intends to examine the possible impact of a global economic downturn on India as well as provide a unique meeting point and networking platform for all those doing or wishing to do business with or in India.

The conference will cover keynote discussions on varied subjects like ‘The global challenges of the 21st century', ‘Global Indian Investments', ‘Development of Financial Markets in India', ‘India - Fertile ground for Private Equity', etc. It will also discuss case studies on diverse topics like Capital markets, Infrastructure, Technology, Media, Telecommunication, Real Estate, etc.

Approximately 500 delegates including senior executives representing reputed firms from across the globe are expected to attend this summit.

Financial News has appointed Axience, an India-based business services firm, as its Media Partner for the conference. Axience provides bespoke research and analytics solutions to financial service institutions, consulting firms and general industries. Its key clients include global investment banks, asset management, hedge fund and private equity firms, leading consultancies and governmental agencies.

'We are glad to partner with Financial News for this key industry event which promises to bring industry, regulators, agencies and financial services firms together. Though doing business in and with India has been a topic of interest since quite sometime now, yet we still lack platforms which bring various parts of industry together. Financial News Summit 2009 fills in that gap,' said Hemant Jain, CEO of Axience.

19 Feb 2009

Hedge Fund Trembulant Ups Stake in Fast Food

Hedge fund Tremblant Capital reported that it now owns 1.1 million shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill, bringing its total shares in the Denver-based fast food restaurant to 5.7%.

"Chipotle shares have fallen recently, and the hedge fund obviously saw opportunity there," news resource SeekingAlpha says, "keep in mind that this hedge fund typically doesn't take larger than 5% stakes in companies (which requires a 13G filing), so it definitely likes this name, as this is the first major filing from them in quite some time."

With $4.1 billion in assets under management, hedge fund Tremblant is based in New York and run by Bret Barakett, who is a former portfolio manager at Moore Capital Management.

Asian Macro Hedge Fund Launch

A new Asia macro hedge fund has been launched by Dexion Capital and Morgan Stanley veterans Andrew Gale and Lee Ka Sha.

With a minimum investment is $100,000, the fund will invest in Asian interest rates and currencies, opening trading on May 1, according to HedgeWeek.

Lee will play the role of CEO, with Gale as chief executive. Gale most recently was responsible for product development and fundraising for Dexion Capital's London-listed closed-ended funds of hedge funds and third-party funds. Lee was a founding member of Abax Global Capital in Hong Kong, where he managed both the South Asia special situations portfolio and macro positioning.

“In the course of these discussions it has become apparent that most investors look to their macro investments to be a diversifier providing a different source of returns than the inherent beta in credit and equity strategies,” Gale said, "the fund launch was based on investor demand."

Prime brokers doing away with OTC 'give ups'

Hedge funds of varying sizes report being given notice by prime brokers that OTC derivative give up arrangements will end - quickly. Funds ranging in size from $25M to $2.5B are being told new derivative trades "done away" will no longer be accepted near the end of the first quarter and that give up relationships will end completely in April.

‘Give up arrangements’ are where the executing broker writes trade tickets on behalf of both counterparties to the trade – provided hedge funds with three advantages: easier post-trade operations, cross margining and credit intermediation.

“Challenged by investors to provide increasing levels of transparency, independent validation and reporting frequency, funds would also have to find the operational bandwidth and capability to efficiently manage the complexities of OTC trade processing involving multiple instruments, high volumes and multiple counterparties." Hans Hufschmid, CEO of GlobeOp Financial Services commented, "And the February 28 deadline after which major dealers will not accept novation consents by email looms.”

GlobeOp also noted that during the Lehman Brothers crisis in September 2008, hedge funds began diversifying counterparty risk by abandoning the practice of single prime broker give ups and converting to multiple direct counterparty relationships.

Now, Hufschmid observes, “Intense revenue pressure on banks and on credit risk overall is forcing banks with prime broking activities to take a very tough approach to profitability. Give ups were, for many, never a core business, used to support the profitable business of lending securities to hedge funds. As risk tolerances and the lending business have become less attractive, the reasons for providing low or non- profitable support services like give ups are falling away."

“If the initial signals become a trend as financial markets and the hedge fund sector restructure, out sourcing will increase in appeal as hedge funds simultaneously face increased investor demand for independent administration and robust infrastructure declining fund performance and management fees to fund or ramp up the required technology and people resources continued attractive opportunities for strategies involving OTC derivatives.”

18 Feb 2009

Emerging Hedge Fund Managers Get Fee Cuts Through Philanthropy

Hedge fund admin provider, Variman LLC, and Hedge Funds Care are working together offering discounted monthly service fees to emerging hedge fund managers who donate the standard set-up fee to Hedge Funds Care on behalf of Variman LLC.

"Given the difficult times our industry is currently facing, Variman Fund Services is making an effort to support both the needs of the marketplace and those of abused children, we believe this initiative will be worthwhile and bring solid value to all involved." Variman said.

Hedge Funds Care was established in 1998, Hedge Funds Care has distributed over $18 million through more than 500 grants. In 2009, annual benefits will take place in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Toronto, London and the Cayman Islands. Variman LLC is headquartered in Short Hills, NJ, USA with offices in Dubai and India.

17 Feb 2009

Diamond Hedgers Report Increase in Fund Assets

Recently launched Codiam Fund, which invests in pre-cut colored diamonds, has reported an increase of 9% in the fund's net asset value over the first three months of trading.

"We launched the fund in difficult market conditions, confident that our experience and expertise would enable us to identify and purchase rare coloured diamonds that would grow in value for our investors, and the increase to our net asset value has proved this to be true," says Codiam managing director Philip Baldwin, who co-founded the business with Mahyar Makhzani.

The fund managers believe the colored diamonds offer a hedge against market and political crises, as they have not decreased in price on a wholesale level in 35 years, consistently outperforming other diamond categories, with their value increasing on average between ten and 15% a year.

Investcorp Sponsors Alternative Investments CRISP Program

Alternative investment manager, Investcorp, sponsored a group of Bahraini students from the Crown Prince's International Scholarship Program (CPISP), to spend a day at Investcorp’s London office, meeting and questioning senior managers and learning about hedge funds and other alternative investments.

As a global operator with strong roots in the Gulf region, Investcorp was of great interest to the group. Presentations on Investcorp’s various business areas were made by Carsten Hagenbucher, who presented on private equity; Jonathan Feeney, who spoke on hedge funds, and Alex Lien, who discussed technology investment.

"The Crown Prince's International Scholarship Program should be congratulated on providing such an exceptional opportunity for young Bahraini students to take places in top international Universities and Colleges." Investcorp President and Chief Operating Officer, Gary Long, said, "Investcorp is very proud to continue its support of the program."

16 Feb 2009

Credit Crunch Hedge Fund Killers - Movie Debut

West Palm Beach ( - Playing a hedge fund banker turned killer, Dougray Scott stars in the 'credit crunch' movie: New Town Killers. It being shown for the first time in Scotland tonight as part of the Glasgow Film Festival's fifth anniversary.

Filmed in Edinburgh's streets, according to UK's DailyRecord, the movie is high octane, violent and bloody. New Town Killers was made for only £1 million and with perfect timing, as it has already been dubbed the first credit-crunch movie of 2009.

It shows Dougray as a cold-hearted hedge fund banker who turns killer for kicks, playing a 12-hour game of hunt, hide and seek with underprivileged people, according to the paper.

"In creating a scenario where the well-heeled and privileged prey on the poor and deprived, director Richard Jobson is clearly wearing political concerns on his sleeve in his latest film, and is to be admired for it." Says Michael Hayden, of the British Film Institute, "Yet New Town Killers is not bleeding-heart social commentary, but an ambitious and kinetic thriller, a tension-packed joyride through Edinburgh streets; it is obvious Jobson knows the city well, and that he loves it, he presents it wonderfully."

Also in the film is James Anthony Pearson, Joy Division guitarist and actress Liz White, in debt and playing the banker's game for cash. It also stars Joely Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave, Eddie Izzard, Jason Priestley and Brian Cox as Dougray's dad, Dennis.

Dougray said, "The fact that Jobson wrote this before all the banking collapses is incredible. The film gets a cinema release in June.

- Alexis Akesson

Mexican Hedge Fund Takes Over Canadian Mining Company

Canadian mining, development and exploration company, Frontera Copper Corporation, has agreed, due to the recent downturn in the copper market, to Mexican hedge fund Invecture's hostile take over bid.

After determining that the hedge fund, Invecture Group, S.A. de C.V's, offer was superior to the offer previously received from Southern Copper Corporation, the Company's financial advisor, RBC Capital Markets, said that from a financial point of view, the hedge fund's offer is fair to Frontera shareholders.

Frontera's principal activity is the production of copper cathode from the Piedras Verdes run-of-mine heap-leach copper operation in Sonora, Mexico. Based on the January 1, 2008 ore reserves and the estimated recoverable copper contained on the leach pads at December 31, 2007, approximately 1 billion pounds of copper is projected to be produced over the remaining 17-year life of the operation.

13 Feb 2009

Betsy Waters on Basics of Investment Strategy at NY Traders Expo

dbFX Global Director Betsy Waters will moderate a panel discussion entitled, “Investing in Managed Accounts: The What, How, and Why,” during the International Traders Expo, the largest and only expo designed exclusively for active traders. The workshop will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2009 at 1:15 p.m. at New York’s Marriott Marquis.

“The panel discussion will be an excellent opportunity for investors to understand what they should consider before engaging an account manager to execute their FX investments,” said Waters. “Workshop participants will leave the session with a keen understanding of how managed accounts work and how they can benefit from working with a professional manager, as well as how to identify and interview a prospective manager, and what fees and costs are associated with managed accounts.”

Waters will be joined on the panel by Robert Sharpe, Founder and CEO of SolomonFX; Patrick Lafferty, President, Capital Trading Group; David Johnson, Founder, Global Capital Investments, and; Marc Zupicich, financial advisor for Morgan Stanley.

Hedge Funds Need Help in Recovering Losses: Fiduciary Experts Say

Independent forensic professionals, Chris McConnell and Eric Steinwald are two are finding themselves in increasing demand as hedge funds and other investors turn to experts for help in recovering from losses caused by fraud, Ponzi schemes, stock market or real estate market losses.

"Any asset, at any time, may bercome subject to fiduciary duty standards, "McConnell said, "Fiduciary duty is not simply a good idea or a best practice; rather, it's the highest standard known under the law."

McConnell, AIFA of Fiduciary Forensics, has over 25 years of experience in the field and is an acknowledged fiduciary expert in the securities, compensation and valuation fields based upon actual, inside hands-on Wall Street securities industry experience. Steinwald is a principal of Steinwald and Kaufmann, a Brentwood/Los Angeles, California tax and forensics accounting CPA firm, and also has 25 years of experience of serving financial clients. Together, the two bring over 50 years of unmatched expertise to plaintiffs who experience suspicious investment losses of any kind.

"Courts often hold trustees and/or third party investment fiduciaries (banks, brokers, trust companies, investment advisers, hedge funds, and even custodians) may be liable, measured against the expert investment standard regarding personal liability. "McConnell said, "The amount of potential fraud, loss of income, and/or insurance claims looks to increase dramatically as investors face staggering losses. We are ready to help as many people as we can to avoid potential financial catastrophe."

The difference between proving liability and recovering damages and loss is in the actual details, which often provide the edge for success.

11 Feb 2009

Obama's Stimulus Package Approved by Senate

President Barack Obama's $838 billion stimulus plan was approved by the U.S. Senate as part of a plan of action the Senate hopes will revive the collapsing US economy.

$100 billion is to be alotted to hedge funds or other investors, giving them incentive to purchase so-called toxic assets. President Obama welcomed the 61-37 vote as "good news. It's a good start."

Outlining a few details of how the administration would spend the remaining $350 billion of the $700 billion bank bailout program, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner separately announced a new public-private partnership to help strengthen banks.

"Critical parts of our financial system are damaged," Geithner said. "The financial system is working against recovery and that's the dangerous dynamic we need to change."

In a related government commitment of financial support, the Federal Reserve broadened a program designed to boost resources for consumer credit and small business loans - from $200 billion up to $1 trillion. Additionally, Obama has campaigned to include funds for school construction in the bill.

10 Feb 2009

Conyers Expands Cayman Islands Team

Pioneers in the field of offshore law, Conyers Dill & Pearman, (Conyers) is expanding its Cayman Islands presence with three new associates as attorneys-at-law. Stephen Leontsinis has joined the Litigation team, while Tania Dons and Preetha Pillai have joined the Corporate Department.

“Our superior investment funds and litigation capabilities have reinforced our reputation as a preferred firm to partner with in transactions of this nature." Richard Finlay, Managing Partner of Conyers’ Cayman Islands office, "We continue to expand our team in line with our strategic plans to build on the strengths and capabilities of our Cayman Islands practice. We are proud of our reputation as global leader which attracts such depth of talent and are delighted to have Stephen, Tania and Preetha join us.”

Since its establishment in July 2003, Conyers’ Cayman Islands office has grown into a full service practice with a current complement of 20 lawyers and 60 staff. The growth of the Cayman Islands practice complements Conyers’ continued growth globally. Last year, the firm opened three new offices in Moscow, Mauritius and São Paulo, as well as making several key hires. Today, Conyers comprises of over 550 staff in 11 jurisdictions with more than 150 lawyers.

With over 150 lawyers, Conyers Dill & Pearman advises on the laws of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Mauritius from those islands and from Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, and Singapore. The firm has earned clients’ trust, loyalty and respect by consistently providing responsive, timely and thorough advice on all aspects of offshore corporate and commercial law, commercial litigation and private client matters.

9 Feb 2009

IAS presents a ‘Forensic’ approach to Due Diligence

In response to the recent need to restore confidence and liquidity in the mortgage market, Integrated Asset Services, LLC (IAS), a default management and residential collateral valuation company, is introducing iCDA Credit Due Diligence Analytics.

Expecting clients from hedge funds, mutual funds, private investors, government agencies, ratings agencies, and mortgage originators, IAS calls their system a “surgically precise” review of borrower credit worthiness, collateral valuation, and compliance for loan buyers.

“iCDA is designed to expose both the risk and merit of an asset beyond the historic origination and compliance guidelines," John Coughlin, VP of Capital Markets for IAS said, "Using our suite of analytic tools to forecast performance, we can identify exit strategies and recommend loan modifications and repayment plans for your assets.”

“We’ve combined IAS’s expert default professional services with innovative new technology and a few key alliances to provide a robust, single-source solution,” says Robert Vanderbilt, First Vice President for Integrated Asset Services. "We have to think the integrity of our approach and the fullness of our product will go a long way toward getting the mortgage market moving again,” said Vanderbilt.

Hedge Fund Veteran Acts to Improve Fund Transparency

Mike Griffin of Spectrum Global Fund Administration has launched the a hedge fund website that he believes will improve hedge fund transparancy,

“As a former hedge fund executive, I know first-hand how important transparency is during the capital allocation process,” said Michael Griffin, founder and CEO of HedgeACT and Chief Operating Officer of Fenchurch Capital Management from 1985 to 1998. “This is a difficult time for many hedge fund investors, and we think that giving them better information will make the entire analysis and allocation process much better for everyone involved.”

The “ACT” in refers to the site’s three key benefits for the hedge fund community, including Analytics, Capital Introduction and Transparency.

Providing investors with free access to hundreds of data points and analytics for over 7,500 hedge funds, HedgeAct's data is licensed from Morningstar.

Additionally, hedge funds and hedge fund administrators will have the ability to augment this data with their own timely, vetted information on fund performance, track record and other important investor criteria.

7 Feb 2009

Pelorus Advisors Offer Risk Service Exclusively To Hedge Funds

As investors look to independent and unbiased hedge fund risk due diligence, Pelorus Advisors has decided to launch an operational risk management service for hedge fund investors. Unlike other due diligence firms, Pelorus only offers its risk due diligence service to hedge fund investors.

“It’s an enormous conflict of interest for diligence teams to be compensated by the same hedge funds they cover,” said Jeff Rathgeber, co-founder and partner of Pelorus. “The hedge fund community has seen more than enough target-sponsored ‘independent’ report cards. We'll let other risk management firms issue their seals of approval based on manager-supplied data.”

Pelorus is staffed by a team of hedge fund experts that have spent years operating inside complicated hedge fund structures. “It is only from this vantage point that an advisory firm gains the experience needed to identify the true risks that hide within hedge funds,” said Ken McGee, Managing Director of Pelorus’ Hedge Fund Practice Group. “It is exactly this kind of experience that is missing from most hedge fund due diligence firms. In our opinion, this lack of inside experience is what moves most firms away from being Hedge Fund Risk Experts and moves them into the category of Data Regression Analysts.”

“A clear distinction that separates Pelorus Advisors from other firms is that we don’t harvest massive amounts of publicly available data, crunch it, and issue armchair reports to investors,” said Rathgeber. “Nor do we merely rely on data that is supplied by the target hedge funds we audit. Instead, we conduct in-depth, on-site engagements to dig deep into a hedge fund's operations and run through its control structure to ensure that our clients’ investments are properly protected.”

6 Feb 2009

Arkanar Financial Global Macro Hedge Fund Launch

Alternative investment consultant and director, Bob Torkelund has announced the launch of a Cayman regulated fund, the Arkanar Global Macro SP. The fund is being monitored and the due diligence work done by the Cayman regulator before the launch took place.

The initial offering period runs throughout February 2009, with a minimum investment of $10.000.

Torkelund said, “The fund is easy dealing and settlement: we have organised electronic clearing via Clearstream/Euroclear ‘payment against delivery’ which makes the fund available to most European and international banks in line with other international securities.”

The fund has a 20% high water mark performance fee and 0.5% per quarter as management fee and an expected annual return of 15–20%.

Torkelund is director of global retail sales, marketing and operations for several boutique fund managers. He was also responsible for the formulation and execution of Threadneedle Investments and has become a serious player in Continental Europe.

5 Feb 2009

Hedge Fund MC Subpoenad by Feds

Wall Street's highest-ranking woman, Erin Callan, was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, along with 24 other Lehman executives regarding the collapse of Lehman Brothers, according to the New York Post.

Now in seclusion, the NYP says she taking a five-month personal leave. Callan joined Credit Suisse five months ago after being ousted as CFO of collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers.

NYP excerpt: "At Lehman, Callan had been an admired public face of Lehman's whirlwind dance with hedge fund chiefs, but then-CEO Dick Fuld blamed her for Lehman's collapse, and pushed her out just months before the firm imploded, wiping out billions for investors and employees."

4 Feb 2009

Madoff Hedge Fund Shut Down by Luxembourg Regulators

Swiss bank UBS AG's money manager, Luxalpha, was one of the main European hedge funds that gave money to US money manager Bernard Madoff, it is now being shut down by CSSF, Luxembourg's financial supervisors.

The Luxalpha assets were frozen in January, in what appears to be the first court action in Europe. Another private investor in a second UBS-run feeder fund, Luxembourg Investment Fund-US Equity Plus, is also considering legal action against the Swiss bank.

People with knowledge of the situation claimed that the two Luxembourg funds were not actively marketed by the bank and were set up at the request of clients to send money to Madoff. One of the Luxalpha board members, Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, committed suicide in December after loosing $1.4 billion in his Madoff investments.

3 Feb 2009

Hedge Fund Manager to head up River & Mercantile Fund Launch

UK fund manager, River & Mercantile, is launching an Equity Income Fund with the aim to invest in the best ideas generated by their UK team.

Hedge fund manager Richard Staveley is taking the lead with a philosophy which involves analyzing companies based on their potential, valuation and timing. In other words, he is looking for the potential growth opportunities in companies throughout their life cycle; companies that are attractively valued; and companies with earnings upgrades as the timing of these upgrades can have a positive impact on share prices.

Staveley qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in 1999, before joining the hedge fund boutique Bradshaw Asset Management as an Assistant Fund Manager. In 2001 he moved to SGAM and became Head of UK Small Company investments in 2002. Richard joined River and Mercantile in August 2006. He holds the CFA designation. Richard is Research Director with responsibility for the team research function. As a Fund Manager he will be focused on the UK Unconstrained and Small/Mid Cap strategies.

At launch the fund is expected to yield approximately 5.1% and it will invest in companies of all sizes. In order to monitor risk, it will however invest no more than 15% in smaller companies and no more than 30% in medium sized companies. It can invest up to 100% in larger companies if this is where the manager finds the best opportunities.

River and Mercantile is a new long only investment management boutique. The business was incorporated in 2006 as a Limited Liability Partnership with significant management interest. The cornerstone investor is Pacific Investments which is owned by Sir John Beckwith.

2 Feb 2009

Tuckerbrook to Provide Daily Transparency to Hedge Fund Clients

In the wake of the Madoff scandal, Tuckerbrook Alternative Investments is offering its hedge fund investors the daily market value of assets in their capital accounts.

"In light of the impact 2008 is having on the hedge fund business, transparency is the most important enhancement the industry can embrace," John Hassett, Managing Principal of Tuckerbrook, said, "Tuckerbrook has always used third-party prime brokers, administrators and auditors in order to provide independent verification of fund activity, so it made sense to us to have daily asset transparency reports distributed directly from Citi Hedge Fund Services, to underscore the importance of both independent asset pricing and more frequent transparency. Although unique in the industry now, we would expect this level of reporting to become standard practice in the future."

Moses Grader, Chief Operating Officer of Tuckerbrook, said, "Ninety percent or more of all hedge fund investments are in commingled fund structures, with only the largest investors having daily accountability through separately managed accounts. Daily transparency at the client-account level, delivered by a trusted third party, is a major step up in accountability to those investors that don't have an SMA."

Russian Hedge Fund Pharos Reports on the Russian Investment Landscape

The events of 2008 were dramatic everywhere in the world, but particularly so in Russia. Despite the decline of -72.2% for the MSCI Index in 2008, the Pharos Russia Fund produced a positive 3 year annualized return of 1.3% with 24.8% volatility as compared to the MSCI Russia Index.

The Pharos Russia Fund's 5 year returns also show a strong outperformance against the MSCI Russia Index. The 11 year period of January 1998 through December 2008, which encompasses two market meltdowns and many other mini-crises, the Pharos Russia Fund has returned a total of 100.33%, against a gain of only 3.81% for the MSCI Russia Index.

"Our long history in the Russian financial markets through good times and bad times helps guide our investment philosophy and makes us mindful of the periodic crises that hit the market," Pharos says, "We seek to maximize our investor's returns over the medium term, and one of the most important aspects of that is to protect against severe losses in times of crisis."

Their flagship fund, Pharos Russia Fund, has been the most resilient performer in the Russia & CIS universe in 2008 and in January 09, Pharos Russia was up +0.4% whereas the Russian market RTS was down -15.3% and the MSCI Russia down -11.6%.

The market conditions in Russia deteriorated in an accelerating fashion once the May holiday revelry had ended. The commodity cycle reversed as economic indicators began to reflect the demand destruction caused by the slowing of credit availability. Waves of deleveraging of the global financial system soon followed. Russia suffered initially as the commodity focused investors sold positions, and again as investors generally sold down positions to reduce leverage. The last victim was the Russian oligarch.

The typical Russian billionaire was in fact a house of cards having taken on massive debt against the assets underlying his personal holdings. The publicly traded assets became subject universally to margin calls by international banks, while private assets found their mezzanine financing had evaporated. The result was a flashpoint in late-September when several of the largest local financial groups had become technically insolvent. The markets were frozen for a couple of days while the government intervened to provide liquidity and arrange shotgun marriages.

By this time, Pharos said, they had adjusted their positions to reflect the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and the growing instability of global markets. "While our overlay gave investors protection against a collapsing market, we realized that the fundamental structure of the markets was changing, and that our risk management concerns had to change."

"As the financial crisis continued, we were concerned about other effects on the market. Our experience in the 1998 crisis taught us that markets can get caught in downward spirals. We were particularly concerned that most Russian market players were fully invested and many were highly leveraged. This was a situation ripe for forced selling and further dramatic market declines."

While this tale of misadventure is unsurprising for an emerging market, it has also become the dangerous reality in the US and other developed markets as well, Pharos said.

"In Russia, there are a few key triggers that we are looking for before investing fully into the market. In past letters, we have identified credit normalization and commodity price stabilization as the two necessary, but perhaps not sufficient, conditions for Russia's bear market to end. While we do not expect credit availability to reach the extreme levels of the last few years, basic credit does need to flow again for companies to move out of crisis mode and for trade to resume in a normal manner. The Russian government has taken admirable steps to deal with the shutdown of credit, and after a slow start is now using the large reserves built up during the commodity boom to supply credit to Russian corporations that need help rolling over their debt."

The instability of the Russian markets will continue so long as oil prices remain unstable. At this stage, the oil price determines the fair value of the ruble, which, in turn, dictates the future course of Russia's economic growth, however, Pharos believes that the key to success from here is sizing positions to adjust for volatility, while being prepared to act quickly once signs of stability emerge.

1 Feb 2009

Contributing Factors To Hedge Funds' 2008 Failure

Credit Suisse Tremont Index LLC released a new research piece, 'One for the History Books: Hedge Fund Performance in 2008', a review of the factors which contributed to hedge funds’ dismal -19% return in 2008

The report discusses the impact of events such as the fall of Lehman Brothers, the short sale ban and the scandal surrounding Bernard Madoff, offering insight into the impact of each event on individual sectors and the hedge fund industry as a whole. The piece also offers some comparisons to past market downturns, periods in which strategies saw severe declines in assets under management and how performance was impacted in the years that followed.

Some key takeaways from the report include:

The Broad Index, a diversified, asset weighted hedge fund index comprised of 496 underlying hedge funds (as of December 31, 2008), was down 19% for the year, marking 2008 the worst year in the history of the Broad Index.

It is estimated that the hedge fund industry lost approximately 29% of assets in 2008, totaling $582 billion, representing the first time in six years that the hedge fund industry has seen net asset losses.

One in five funds within the Broad Index posted positive returns for the year, with almost one in seven posting returns in the double digits.