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30 Sep 2009

Bookstaber To Speak At HedgeWorld As The Number of Hedge Funds Rise

Hedge fund manager Richard Bookstaber will be speaking at is year's HedgeWorld Fall Conference. He is the author of “A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation,” a book that pinpointed the market weaknesses that spun out of control to create today's financial crisis.

“A Demon of Our Own Design” ranked number one on Amazon in finance and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Loeb Award. Bookstaber was named to this year's Conde Nast Portfolio list of top 25 technical innovators, joining the ranks of Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Eric Schmidt.

He has testified before the House and Senate, calling for greater transparency and improved regulation for Wall Street long before it was fashionable. BOOKSTABER recently worked at Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund, and before that ran the Quantitative Equity Fund at FrontPoint Partners.

He was in charge of risk management at Moore Capital Management, another hedge fund with over $10 billion in assets. He served as the managing director in charge of firm-wide risk management at Salomon Brothers and was a member of Salomon's powerful Risk Management Committee. Bookstaber also spent ten years at Morgan Stanley, first designing and marketing derivative instruments, then as a proprietary trader, and concluding his tenure there as Morgan Stanley's first market risk manager. In addition to A Demon of Our Own Design (Wiley, 2007), he is the author of three other books and scores of articles on finance topics ranging from option theory to risk management. He has won the Graham and Dodd Scroll from the Financial Analysts Federation and the Roger F. Murray Award from the Institute for Quantitative Research in Finance for his research. Bookstaber has a Ph.D in Economics from M.I.T.

The conference is being held at the Metropolitan Club in New York on October 6th, 2009.

BNY Mellon/Dreyfus Launch Two Fund of Funds

The Dreyfus Corporation, part of BNY Mellon Asset Management, announced the introduction of the Dreyfus Satellite Alpha Fund and the Dreyfus Diversified Global Fund.

"Many individual investors are seeking a professionally managed solution that enables them to invest in non-traditional asset classes that have low correlations to traditional asset classes, especially in the wake of the recent financial crisis," said Phil Maisano, Vice Chairman and Chief Investment Officer for Dreyfus and Chief Investment Strategist for BNY Mellon Asset Management. "Dreyfus Satellite Alpha has been constructed within a 1940-Act platform to provide exposure to non-traditional asset classes such as commodities, currencies and real estate in addition to inflation-protected securities and global stocks and bonds.

"Dreyfus Diversified Global fund is distinctive among global funds; the underlying funds are managed by an array of BNY Mellon Asset Management affiliates with different points of view and investment philosophies which differentiate this fund from other global funds that only deliver a single viewpoint," Maisano said.

The Dreyfus Corporation, established in 1951 and headquartered in New York City, is one a leading asset management and distribution company, currently managing more than $400 billion in mutual funds and separately managed accounts.

BNY Mellon Asset Management is the umbrella organization for BNY Mellon's affiliated investment management firms and global distribution companies.

29 Sep 2009

Hedge Funds Team Up To Provide Investor Access To Prime Brokerage Platform

Hedge fund prime brokers Northern Trust and Merlin Securities have set up an agreement which enhances Merlin’s existing broker-dealer custody relationships with Goldman Sachs Execution and Clearing and J.P. Morgan Clearing Corp. Merlin’s clients now have easy access to all three providers through Merlin’s award-winning multi-prime reporting platform.

“In today’s market, managers and investors are seeking custodial solutions that reduce their counterparty risk and provide fully integrated, multi-custodian reporting analytics and risk data,” said Stephan Vermut, Founder and Managing Partner of Merlin. “Our agreement with Northern Trust addresses this need for our clients and grants seamless access to a bank custody provider with an unparalleled reputation for quality, safety and stability.”

“Northern Trust is delighted to add Merlin and its clients to our growing hedge fund custody and administration business – which now provides asset servicing for more than $90 billion in assets worldwide,” said Peter Cherecwich , Chief Operating Officer for Corporate and Institutional Services at Northern Trust. “Merlin’s technology, risk analytics, and multi-custody reporting capabilities are a strong complement to Northern Trust’s hedge fund services.”

As of June 30, 2009 , Northern Trust had assets under custody of US$3.2 trillion, and assets under investment management of $558.9 billion.

Merlin Securities has offices in New York and San Francisco and is a member of FINRA and SIPC. Recognized as the #1 prime broker for funds less than $1 billion by Alpha magazine’s 2008 hedge fund service provider survey for the second year running Merlin was the top-ranked non-algorithmic-driven firm and second overall among brokerages trading NYSE stocks as measured by arrival price, according to the 2008 Elkins/McSherry annual transaction cost survey.

ALTSO’s 6th Annual Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest Draws Corporate Sponsors

New York (HedgeCo.net) - This year marks the sixth anniversary of A Leg To Stand On’s (ALTSO) annual benefit, Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest, which is fast becoming one of ALTSO's most successful fund raisers to date, with more corporate sponsors signing on than ever before.

As one of Wall Street’s most popular annual events, Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest features bands whose members work in the hedge fund and finance industry. All of the five bands scheduled to perform on the main stage at this year’s event are competing to raise the most for ALTSO; vying for the lead currently are JAM Partners and The Cause.

“I’m extremely grateful to everyone who has given to ALTSO,” says C. Mead Welles, co-founder of ALTSO and managing partner of New York hedge fund Octagon Asset Management. “What we do has such a big impact on these children’s lives and it costs so little to do so much.” ALTSO improves the lives of children with limb disabilities in emerging countries by providing free surgeries and prosthetic limbs.

The money raised from last year’s Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest helped ALTSO expand its efforts and clinics in India, Bangladesh, Haiti, Nepal, Nigeria, Colombia, and Ecuador. Revenue raised this year will go toward fulfilling ALTSO’s goal of helping level the playing field for 1,000 more children in 2010, bringing their total of children helped to nearly 6,000 in under eight years.

“The bands are working extra hard to bring in donations this year,” says Chris Heasman, a director and portfolio manager with Lazard Asset Management in New York who performs with The Subscribers, which has played at every Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest
since the event began and is scheduled to perform again this year. “Sure, Rocktoberfest is about having fun, but it’s more about raising money for ALTSO so they can continue their work with children in developing countries.”

Other long time supporters of the charity include Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, and Jacobs Asset Management, LLC.

28 Sep 2009

Suzanne Sunshine Goes Solo With Brokerage For Nonprofits

New York reak estate broker Suzanne Sunshine has left the world of global brokerages to launch Sunshine & Associates LLC. The full-service brokerage handles office, retail, industrial leasing, acquisitions and sales exclusively for nonprofits. The firm also provides strategic planning and financial analysis.

Operating a boutique brokerage also provides her with the financial flexibility to donate a portion of her commissions back to her clients, a corporate practice considered unique in the commercial real estate world.

"To be able to achieve its mission, a nonprofit organization must make the right decisions about real estate," said Ms. Sunshine, the firm's president. "Nonprofits benefit from the counsel of an experienced professional who understands their mission and can also maximize the value of their real estate, a major item on their balance sheets."

The company also offers residential real estate services for nonprofit staff, volunteers and board members.

Suzanne Sunshine previously served as vice president of the New York nonprofit practice group at CB Richard Ellis. Prior to that, she was director of the New York nonprofit advisory group at Cushman & Wakefield. Ms. Sunshine also provided tenant representation services to nonprofit organizations at Time Equities, and worked as executive vice president for new business development at the Sunshine Group, a company led by her mother, Louise Sunshine.

Ms. Sunshine worked within the nonprofit sector on behalf of Equitable Real Estate and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, where she helped the two organizations raise a total of $125 million in support of inner-city neighborhoods.

Her clients have included the American Ballet Theatre, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Ms. Foundation for Women Poets & Writers, the Correctional Association of New York, Housing Works Thrift Shops, the Mental Health Association of NY, the Anne Frank Center, and many others.

Ms. Sunshine holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from Brown University and an MBA in real estate from Columbia University.

For more information about S. Sunshine & Associates, please visit the brokerage online at: www.sunshineassoc.com.

Holon Fund Gains 1.86% in August, 25.25% YTD

Hedge fund manager Quantum Global Financial Corp. (QGF) reports a 1.86% gain in August for its Holon Fund, bringing the year-to-date return to 25.25% and the rolling 12-month return to 29.18%.

For the same 12 months, the CSFB Managed Futures Index gained 2.45% (correlation -.093) and the Barclay Multi Strategy Hedge Fund index gained 0.05% (correlation .202). Negative or low correlations demonstrate Holon fund’s diversification properties.

The Holon Fund employs proprietary forecasting technology with automated order entry that performed over 7000 market operations over the last 14 months. Using a low average leverage ratio of 1.5, QGF has returned 54.65% since its inception, after commissions and fees.

The development of their own quantitative analysis technology has allowed QGF to deliver absolute performance over the economic cycle, the company said. QGF believes that transparency, liquidity and forming partnerships based upon ethical compliance and global sustainability are essential to the fund’s growth.

'Insights for Investors' Conference Draws Hedge Fund Managers

The GlobeOp seminar drew a capacity audience of hedge fund investors and managers, representing approximately $260 billion in assets under management, in New York City over the weekend.

Speakers representing Lighthouse Investment Partners, Lyxor Asset Management, Waterstone Capital Management, Bracewell & Giuliani, Newedge Group and GlobeOp offered insights on hedge fund manager selection, legal requirements, middle-back office services, controls and monitoring.

Excepts from the presentations include:

Sean McGould, president and co-chief investment officer, Lighthouse Partners “We transitioned to managed accounts over the last five years for the added benefits of transparency, flexibility, and control. Full transparency allows for a deeper focus than has traditionally been the case, especially during the manager selection process. For prospective managers, there are three primary considerations. First, does the manager offer real diversification or do they merely compound existing risks? This can only be accurately measured by layering a prospect’s daily position level data into the portfolio and conducting a deep statistical analysis. Second, is the portfolio highly correlated to the most widely held names or other dominant themes within the hedge fund universe? Having the ability to confirm the uniqueness of a prospect’s portfolio is of great benefit and increases the level of overall diversification. Finally, if the manager meets these tests, is there a willingness to commit the resources necessary to make a managed account feasible and the on-boarding process as seamless as possible? …Flexibility is key to remaining opportunistic and taking advantage of market dislocations. …The benefit of control speaks for itself after a year like 2008.

Nathanael Benzaken, managing director, Lyxor Asset Management “The two main risks for investors are market risk and operations risk - one to manage and the other to mitigate… The challenge with transparency is how to exploit it. To understand risk, investors need robust software, experienced risk managers, and an appropriate risk methodology. Only scenario and stress test models can help assess tail risk in dislocated markets. VaR is not appropriate, unless perhaps for manager-level portfolio construction… The managed account’s segregation facilitates operational risk management. This is the most important risk to eliminate because it creates a short put equivalent position for investors - it’s the ‘dark side’…. All managed accounts and platforms are not equal. Some are ‘Madoff-able;’ some are ‘Amaranth-able.’ For full transparency and to identify risk and/or style drift early, in-depth and regular due diligence should be done on the underlying managers, the platform structure and infrastructure - at inception and throughout the life of the relationships.

Risk monitoring is nothing, what really matters is risk management. The goal is not to second- guess or intervene in portfolio management, but to understand and take clear action when it’s necessary - for instance in the case of mitigating counterparty risk or when confidence in the manager is lost (e.g. breach of mandate).”

Martin Kalish, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, Waterstone Capital Management “Managed accounts are not for everyone - does it fit your business plan? The manager seeks a long-term investor; the investor requires assurance of the manager’s experience in running a managed account. Consider whether the investor will understand and be responsible for the portfolio information they receive — is more support time needed than for other fund investors? …The mandate is also key - its definitions can significantly impact asset allocation, concentrations, leverage, liquidity, operations and risk management compared to the flagship fund.

Cost and resources also matter. Managed accounts are about data management. Operational systems are needed to create reporting transparency. Is there sufficient operational staff for trade allocation, valuation and settlement, portfolio accounting and programming? …It’s very difficult to run multiple funds without investing in technology. Trade allocations should be automated to mitigate manual intervention. … Investors also need resources to execute managed accounts - it requires two-three months, including the key challenges of the legal aspects and establishing prime broker accounts.”

John Brunjes, partner, Bracewell & Giuliani “The structure and terms an investor prefers in the managed account involve a fully-negotiated process. For the investment advisor, a managed account is a separate client under the Investment Advisors act. At the level of 15 clients, the advisor must become SEC-registered and operate in a registered environment - a new challenge for some. For the investor, the arrangement gives power of attorney to the manager to trade the account, subject to restrictions the investor defines. It is a fee-for-service arrangement as opposed to the two-and-twenty structure traditional in pooled capital. Many investors, in consultation with their managers, create a special purpose vehicle, usually a limited liability company. To avoid project execution risk, investors should ensure the manager has already strategically decided to undertake managed account arrangements and is prepared for what it entails.

The mandate or operating agreement defines the type of trading authorisations and restrictions governing the manager, including sector, concentrations or company specifics. As the direct owner of the securities, the investor also assumes liability and compliance responsibilities.

Investors increasingly specify independent administrators to provide checks and balances on managers, including asset and portfolio valuation, daily position and risk reporting, etc. The registered environment also stipulates administrative, infrastructure and reporting requirements. Independent involvement in providing transparency, checks and balances to various managed account components can offer more comfort to investors, which is why these vehicles are increasingly attractive.”

Cary Goldstein, associate director, Newedge USA, Prime Brokerage Group “A managed account platform will have more than one hedge fund manager trading for multiple vehicles, multiple prime broker relationships and a single administrator across all accounts. From a trading perspective, the most significant implication for each fund manager is the need for a trade allocation process to split trades appropriately between the managed accounts and the flagship fund. For liquid, listed instruments, this is fairly straight-forward. But it can be more complex for OTC and illiquid instruments - distinct trades may be needed for each managed account and flagship fund, with good monitoring to mitigate tracking errors… In a managed account, investors view the ability to control of the amount of leverage utilised to be an advantage.”

Vernon Barback, president, chief operating officer, GlobeOp Financial Services “Administration for managed accounts should focus on what the investor wants and needs. Best practice requires a very deep level of service. Helping the investor manage and mitigate risk across all portfolios is key; reducing overall operational risk is the greatest value-add. The investor should approach the administrator in a demanding and thoughtful manner, as a partner who helps to mitigate operational risks and provide transparency so the investor can ensure that the manager is adhering to the agreed investment principles.

Due diligence is not a “tick the box” exercise. Rather, it needs to be an ongoing and in-depth process. There are seven administration areas where an investor should conduct deep due diligence. Is technology a source of innovation and target of continuous investment? Are processes subject to a control environment and is real-time transparency accessible to investors and administrator management? Is domain experience and scale being developed in the human resource pool? Visit off-shore teams and operations to ensure they are integral and adding value to operations. Ask for a personal presentation of the SAS 70 to ensure it is a single document whose scope covers all services & controls the managed account requires, in all offices. Reconciliations should be run daily, with breaks corrected with the manager, and root causes should be investigated to prevent repetition. As the devil is in the detail of the security master, verify that customized risk reports can be run by the administration organization keeping the managed account’s books & records.”

25 Sep 2009

People Moves: G&S Fund Services Grows with Additional Key Personnel

Hedge fund administration company, G&S Fund Services has expanded with the hire of Kairey Chen as hedge fund accountant.

Kairey Chen will be a valued addition to help support the rapid growth that G&S is experiencing. "Joe Goldstein, Executive Vice President of G&S Services, said.

Chen came to G&S after serving as an auditor with Ernst & Young and has 7 years experience. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science from Fordham University, where she majored in accounting.

US domiciled, G&S Fund Services is a leader in hedge fund administration, accounting and tax services. Catering to firms of all sizes, both on and off-shore, G&S provides professional fund servicing, designed to fit the specific and growing needs of the hedge fund industry.

Man Research Laboratory and Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance Expansion

Man Research Laboratory (MRL) and the Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance (OMI) opened new, larger premises in Jericho, Oxford, on 24 September, demonstrating that the two groups’ unique collaboration is flourishing as it moves into its third year.

In a ceremony held in Oxford, The Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten of Barnes announced the official opening of new offices for the MRL and the OMI. At the new offices, AHL’s researchers and the Oxford University academics of the OMI will continue to share purpose designed premises, creating a stimulating environment that fosters day-to-day interactions between the two groups.

AHL is one of world’s largest managed futures managers and a wholly owned subsidiary of Man Group. Its two decade track record of consistent double digit gains for investors is based on an unstinting dedication to research.

The University of Oxford and Man Group were brought together in 2007 when Man provided the cornerstone funding for the first academic institute dedicated to quantitative finance and co-located it with its own commercial researchers. AHL’s research in Oxford is a commercial undertaking while the OMI pursues academic excellence, independent of Man. This arrangement remains the first and only co-location of its kind between Oxford University and a commercial entity.

“AHL is already trading billions of dollars using advanced trading concepts developed at AHL in Oxford,” said Dr Anthony Ledford, Chief Scientist of the MRL. “The collaboration benefits us enormously and allows us to hear about OMI’s academic theories first and share ideas with some of the world’s best quantitative finance academics; promote our name as an exciting and innovative employer within Oxford’s academic community and research our own ideas in a stimulating environment,” he added.

24 Sep 2009

Prime Brokerage Services Division Launch For Hedge Funds and Investment Advisers

TradeStation Securities, Inc., has launched the TradeStation Prime Services division to fill the growing need of start-up to mid-sized hedge funds, the company said today.

TradeStation Prime Services will be co-headed by Lance Baraker and William Katts, as senior managing directors, from a new TradeStation office in mid-town Manhattan, TradeStation will also now have a full membership and direct access operation on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to accommodate clients who make some of their trades on the NYSE floor.

"We believe that our award-winning trading platform technology, ability to provide custody and clearing, and the strength of our balance sheet will give us a strong offering to the small- to mid-sized hedge funds and investment advisers who need services no longer being provided by the larger firms," said Salomon Sredni, CEO of TradeStation Group. "This is a market opportunity for TradeStation that did not really exist until recently, and we look forward to maximizing the value we believe we can create by entering this segment of the institutional trader space."

"We are extremely excited about joining TradeStation," added Baraker. "The downfall of many financial firms in 2008 has created a rare opportunity for another custodian to enter and succeed in the prime brokerage market. William and I look forward to combining our experience and relationships built over the years with TradeStation's industry-leading technology to create a leading, powerful prime brokerage platform for the buy-side institutional trader."

Equity Market Neutral Strategy May Act as a Diversifier Across Market Cycles

Credit Suisse’s Quantitative Equities Group released a new whitepaper, “Equity Market Neutral: Diversifier Across Market Cycles,” outlining the potential benefits of an Equity Market Neutral strategy. The paper details the various types of Equity Market Neutral funds as well as the traits which have historically helped the best managers stand out.

Equity Market Neutral (EMN) funds have been generally successful in profiting from a variety of environments and have provided an effective counterbalance in diversified portfolios during periods of market volatility, such as following the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in September 2008. The findings of the paper suggest that:

EMN is a potential diversifier given the low beta it showed to the 2008 equity markets in what was a historically volatile year

EMN has lower annualized volatility than other hedge fund strategies over the long term and has provided generally positive risk-adjusted returns over the last ten years

After the significant market dislocation experienced by quantitatively managed funds in August 2007, many managers increased the range of data used, including building proprietary data and risk models, in an effort to try to mitigate the effects of a future mass deleveraging event

In order to achieve diversification within the strategy, investors should seek managers who work with a range of uncorrelated factors and proprietary models in order to avoid crowded trades. This diversification of factors and models was a key element in the strategy’s ability to weather market volatility in 2008 and will likely remain the cornerstone of alpha generation for the strategy going forward in the near term

EMN managers see the post-Lehman landscape as opportunity-rich for the strategy because there is less capital being deployed as well as less competition in program and high-frequency trading.

23 Sep 2009

New Jersey Nets to Join Charity Event

The First Annual Capstone Global Markets Charity Day will support research focused on finding a cure to Batten Disease, a rare but fatal neurodegenerative disorder affecting children, October 1st, 2009.

The boutique derivatives broker dealer has committed to donating 100% of its net commissions that day to The Jasper Against Batten Fund. Jasper Duinstra is a 4-year old boy who was diagnosed with Batten Disease in March 2009, and has subsequently been experiencing seizures, deteriorating vision, limited vocabulary and paralysis in his legs.

After the urgency of finding a cure for Batten Disease was brought to the attention of representatives of The New Jersey Nets, the basketball team committed to joining Capstone Global Markets on October 1st to raise money for the cause.

The New Jersey Nets’ involvement at the fundraiser will be highlighted by the participation of Nets president Rod Thorn, general manager (and former New York Knicks player) Kiki Vandeweghe, the Nets dance team and the Nets mascot. Each will be involved in thanking clients for their business and discussing the importance of the cause.

“We created this event to bring public awareness of this devastating disease and the urgency of Jasper’s need for support,” said Paul Britton, CEO of Capstone Holdings Group, LLC. “We are pleased with the enthusiasm from our clients to join us in this mission to help Jasper and other children affected by Batten Disease. Capstone Global Markets is committed to helping charities dedicated to helping children.”

The newly created annual event is part of Capstone’s commitment to giving back to the global community regardless of the macro financial environment. Every year the hedge fund will select specific charities to donate to, each with the common goal of helping children.

Capstone Global Markets, LLC is an affiliate of Capstone Holdings Group, LLC. Capstone Global Markets is a boutique broker dealer specializing in volatility trading strategies.

22 Sep 2009

Hedge Fund Performance for August - Morningstar

Hedge funds' good fortunes persisted in August according to a preliminary hedge fund performance report from Morninstar.

"Hedge fund returns in August were driven by strong equity markets throughout the developed world," said Nadia Papagiannis, Morningstar hedge fund analyst. “Many hedge funds claim to be uncorrelated to the markets, but it appears that the rising tide of the market has lifted all boats, including hedge funds.”

The Morningstar 1000 Hedge Fund Index and the currency-hedged Morningstar MSCI Composite Hedge Fund Index rose 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively in August. For the year to date through August, these indexes increased 13.7% and 9.5%, respectively.

Developed countries' stock markets rallied for the sixth straight month on positive news in areas such as manufacturing. The Morningstar MSCI Developed Markets Hedge Fund Index appreciated in August by 1.9%, with the Morningstar MSCI Europe Equity Hedge Fund Index outperforming with an increase of 2.9%, as European stock markets hit 11-month highs on better-than-expected economic data in France and Germany. In the United States, continuing the year-long trend, smaller-company equities outperformed larger-cap stocks. The Morningstar US Small Cap Equity Hedge Fund Index rose 1.9% versus the Morningstar US Equity Hedge Fund Index's 1.4% rise.

Emerging market equities stagnated in August, with gains in Eastern Europe and certain other countries offset by steep losses in China. The Shanghai Composite Index experienced a severe sell-off, dropping nearly 7% on the last day of the month to its lowest level since May. The sell-off was fueled by fears that the Chinese government may curb stimulus measures. The Morningstar Emerging Markets Equity Hedge Fund Index rose 1.6%, as many funds in this index had lighter weightings in China than did the index.

The big winners in August were hedge funds that trade distressed securities. Credit markets, notably the more speculative ones, continued to rebound in August, though the pace of appreciation has slowed. Global corporate bond issuance broke 2007 levels in August, improving liquidity, and leveraged loan prices reached 12-month highs with some new issues. The Morningstar Distressed Securities Hedge Fund Index rallied 4.1%.

August returns and July asset flows for the Morningstar Hedge Fund Indexes are based on funds that reported as of Sept. 17, 2009. Returns for the Morningstar MSCI Hedge Fund Indexes are based on funds that reported August performance as of Sept. 14, 2009.

Open Europe Hedge Fund Survey Findings

Based on two surveys of private equity managers and hedge fund managers, carried out during August 2009, Open Europe has published the most comprehensive study to date of the likely impact of the EU's proposed Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) Directive. Among the findings is that the hedge fund and private equity industries contribute €9 billion ($13.3 billion) in tax revenues to European Union (EU) governments.

Open Europe said that the €9 billion ($13.3 billion) tax contribution would be enough to fund the EU’s entire overseas aid budget for 12 years. The tax contribution also matches the value of the EU’s Cohesion and Aid Programmes for Poland and is just short of the subsidy that France receives each year under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

“Alternative investment fund managers provide investments and create growth, jobs and more efficient markets across Europe,” the report said.

The survey also found that the UK hedge fund and private equity industries contribute about €6.1 billion ($9 billion) in tax revenues to HMRC. Open Europe said this would be enough to pay for more than 200,000 nurses, 45,000 hospital consultants or 165,000 teachers. In just two years, the tax revenues generated by alternative investment fund managers would be able to pay for the entire 2012 London Olympics, according to Open Europe. But if the tax revenues were to disappear, Open Europe said it would take a 20% increase in council tax in order to make up the shortfall.

The European Commission’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM) directive would cost the hedge fund and private equity industries in the EU between €1.3 billion and €1.9 billion ($1.9 billion and $2.8 billion) in its first year, if implemented in its current form. The annual recurring cost would be between €689 million and €985 million ($1 billion and $1.4 billion). Respondents said their total compliance costs would increase by almost one-third on average.

The report commented: “Our surveys show that unless a range of amendments take place, the AIFM directive will impose substantial costs across the board, without offering sufficient benefits for the industry, investors and the wider economy… In a worst-case scenario, thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenues could be at stake.”

Open Europe received 121 responses from hedge fund managers and fund of fund managers representing $342 billion assets under management. Just over half of the respondents came from managers located in the UK, while over one-fifth came from the rest of the EU and around one-quarter from the rest of the world. Open Europe also received 41 responses from private equity managers primarily based in the UK, representing funds under management of over $204 billion.

The report can be downloaded from Open Europe’s website at http://www.openeurope.org.uk/research/aifmd.pdf.

21 Sep 2009

CME Partners With Hedge Funds in Restructuring Clearing Services

CME Group is restructuring its credit default swap (CDS) with hedge fund Citadel Investment Group as a strategic program targeted at providing clearing-only services for the nearly $27 trillion CDS market.

Key features developed as part of the joint effort with Citadel, which was known as CMDX, will be carried forward in the clearing-only service, including state-of-the-art trade booking and legacy trade migration facilities.

"We remain committed to bringing stability and transparency to the CDS market, while further enhancing confidence in the financial marketplace," said Terry Duffy, Executive Chairman, CME Group. "Over the past several months, we have been working closely with all market participants. Both buy-side and sell-side participants have expressed an interest in continuing to execute their CDS transactions the same as they do today, but with the added benefit of central counterparty clearing."

Citadel remains a founding member of the newly restructured CDS initiative. The other buy-side founding members are: AllianceBernstein, BlackRock, BlueMountain Capital Management, the D. E. Shaw group and PIMCO. A number of leading sell-side participants are in the process of becoming founding members. CME Group plans to announce the launch of the clearing initiative's pilot program in the weeks ahead. CME's clearing solution builds on the existing over-the-counter (OTC) market.

10-Year Mark for Mooring's Flagship Hedge Fund

The second quarter of 2009 marked the 10th year of operation for Washington, DC-based hedge fund, Mooring Capital Fund, which delivered a quarterly compounded return of 12.40% per year.

“Our flagship Mooring Capital Fund has provided a consistent record of performance to investors since inception 10 years ago." John Jacquemin, founder and President of Mooring Financial Corporation, commented,"We are very pleased with the fund’s sound long-term performance, demonstrated by a total return of 242.51 percent over the last decade.”

For the same period, the S&P 500 posted an annual compounded return of -1.70% and the Credit Suisse/Tremont Hedge Fund Index reported a quarterly compounded annual return of 6.89 %.

Mooring Capital Fund acquires and manages distressed, sub-performing and performing commercial loans. The portfolio is diversified by both asset type and geography. Mooring Capital Fund also takes long and short equity positions in the financial and real estate markets for up to 20% of its assets. As of June 30, 2009 Mooring Capital Fund had over $62 million in total gross assets.

18 Sep 2009

Investment in Precious Metals Surge as Investors Buy Gold

In a Sunday Times article this weekend, Bryan Collings, who manages the Investment Fund for Ingnis International Hexam Global Emerging Markets, predicted an increase in the price of precious metals of 25% over the next 18 months. He forecasts that the price of gold will rise 20% to $1,200 an ounce by 2010. Remarkably, other commentators are predicting an even more significant rise to $1,500 an ounce within the next two years.

Gold was pushed to its highest level in the last six months because investors are keen to buy gold as a hedge against inflation. Gold has always been seen as a good investment in times of economic uncertainty. With continued concerns about inflation, the gold markets show no signs of cooling unlike the currency markets which continue to fluctuate.

Jason Cozens, Managing Director of Au, the online gold exchange said, "This is consistent with our predictions for the price of gold as investors are undoubtedly keen to buy gold at the moment. We are seeing an increase in enquiries from all kinds of investors. Media reports, like the Sunday Times article, are encouraging investors and we believe that it is prudent for individuals to invest up to 40% of their total portfolio in gold".

Similarly, the price of other precious metals has soared since the beginning of the year. Silver has also strengthened with figures from the S&P GSCI Silver index showing a gain of 46.4% since the start of 2009. Copper has risen 102% since the beginning of the year and experts are predicting that with a shortage in supply and growing demand the price will continue to go up. Uranium prices are also expected to rise with an increase in demand for the metal, which is used in the production of nuclear energy.

17 Sep 2009

Hedgeable's Search for America's Worst Investor

On a humorous note, Hedgeable.com launched today with the "Search for America's Worst Investor," a nationwide contest to find three people with the portfolios hit hardest by the financial crisis.

"As the crisis revealed, retail investors are lost when it comes to implementing strategies to protect their wealth," said Hedgeable CEO and co-founder Michael Kane, formerly an analyst at Spruce Private Investors, a $2 billion ultra-high net worth money manager. "We want to guide investors on how to decide when to sell, eliminate major losses, and realize portfolio growth in up or down markets."

Americans are still trying to recover from the unprecedented loss of wealth of 2007-2009. Hedgeable.com, which is offering a free trial of its service, advocates the need for investors to make periodic trades to help protect and grow their portfolios.

The Search for "America's Worst Investor"

The contest, which runs from September 16 to September 30, 2009, is open to anyone who registers free of charge on the Hedgeable.com site. The top three individuals whose portfolio performance earns them the distinction of "Worst Investor in America" will receive the following prizes:

-- First Prize: An all-expenses-paid vacation for two to Rome, Italy,
where they will find similarities between the U.S.'s current economic
situation and the Roman Empire's collapse due to leverage, taxes, a
de-valued currency, and massive debt.


-- Second Prize: A trip for two to picturesque Iceland, a country that
has seen its stock market lose 97% of its value due to leveraged bets
and excessive debt.


-- Third Prize: A trip for two to Las Vegas, the "foreclosure and
gambling capital of America."


"The anniversary of Lehman's demise should remind us of the huge risk in not managing a hedged portfolio," Kane concluded. "If the U.S. continues on its current path, it's the everyday investor who will be affected the most, by a second collapse that could make the Roman Empire seem like small potatoes."

Hedgeable Inc. is registered as an investment advisor with the SEC.

Bankers Open $12 Billion CaymanToxic Asset Hedge Fund

A group of 45 bankers have plans to avoid new strict rules on pay and bonuses, making more than £240 million ($400 million) between them, according to TimesOnline.

Led by British bankers Michael Keely and Stephen King, sources say they will quit Barclays to take on a contract managing £7.5 billion ($12.3 billion) of Barclays’ most toxic debt in a fund registered in the Cayman Islands. Barclays will lend $12.6 billion to Protium, a newly created Cayman Islands-registered hedge fund, to buy the toxic assets.

Barclays said in a press release that the shift of assets did not remove any risk from its balance sheet, but guaranteed it a more steady stream of income from them.

London analysts admitted they were puzzled by the scheme and could not see any great immediate benefit in it for Barclays, according to the London Evening Standard. Traders in other investment banks are quitting to avoid likely curbs on bonuses. About 20 from Société Générale left this week to set up a hedge fund called Nexar Capital to escape the bonus crackdown being threatened by Nicolas Sarkozy, the UK paper said.

Deloitte Adds Hedge Fund Heavyweights Schubert and Iler

Hedge fund pioneers Ellen C. Schubert and Ray J. Iler have joined the hedge fund team of Deloitte LLP's Asset Management Services practice.

Schubert joined Deloitte in the newly-created role of Chief Advisor to the Asset Management Services practice and is based in New York. Prior to joining Deloitte, Schubert was a managing director and global head of the Fixed Income Hedge Fund Business for UBS Investment Bank from 2006 until 2008.

Iler rejoined Deloitte as the Northwest Pacific hedge fund leader and is based in San Francisco. From 2001 to 2006, he founded the tax practice and served as Audit Partner for Deloitte’s Grand Cayman practice.

The new hires are the latest in a series of strategic growth initiatives executed over the last 18 months by Cary Stier, Deloitte’s U.S. Head of Asset Management Services.

"Challenging times call for new ideas. The breadth of our practice offers us the perspective vital to designing new solutions that help clients prepare for the unforeseen. There has been too much surprise in the market, a trend that cannot continue," Stier added.

Ten current Deloitte partners have been newly-dedicated to Deloitte's hedge fund team, joining the global bench of talent in accounting and tax, valuation, anti-fraud, governance and oversight, regulatory and compliance, risk management, technology and operations, structuring, and third party administrator/prime brokerage relationships.

16 Sep 2009

No country for stimulus packages - Silkinvest on MENA Hedge Funds

In an update from MENA hedge fund investor SilkInvest, CEO Baldwin Berges writes, "While the major economies are still fuelled on policy support level, there are several economies in our region of focus that benefit from authentic internal growth drivers that are not always in need of extra stimulus."

"During the month of August, in anticipation of a possible correction of the summer rally in the majors, we have been taking some profits across our holdings, thereby increasing our cash levels in both our Arab and African equity funds to levels of around 15% and 13% respectively." Berges says, "In hindsight, this decision seems to be paying off. Both funds arguably continue to be amongst the most diversified across markets and sectors within the fund peer groups. We retain the flexibility to invest in the right opportunities as they present themselves."

Regarding the MENA markets, he said, "a development, although not very influential to stock prices, caught our attention: Yahoo, the popular Internet search engine, agreed to buy Arabic-language Internet venture Maktoob.com as it seeks to enter the Middle East market. Yahoo did not disclose the terms of the agreement. The transaction is set to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year. This is interesting because Yahoo sees tremendous growth opportunities for Arabic content in the region and sees in excess of 30% annual growth in internet users in the region over the years to come."

Nexar Capital Group Hedge Fund Launch

Global hedge fund group, Nexar Capital Group SCA, announced the launch of an investment from funds managed by Aquiline Capital Partners LLC, a New York-based private equity firm.

The hedge fund firm was founded by industry veterans who built a market-leading hedge fund business at Société Générale Asset Management Alternative Investments, led by Arié Assayag, Chief Executive Officer; Eric Attias, Chief Investment Officer; and Bernard Kalfon, Head of Volatility Strategies.

“As an independent company, Nexar has a long-term approach that aligns our interests with those of our clients and allows us to provide them with superior investment management,” said Mr. Assayag. “Aquiline’s depth of investment management experience immediately gives us the strength and stability of an institutional platform, thus making Aquiline an ideal partner as we build our business.”

“Nexar’s team built its strong reputation in the industry through its success in growing and managing a leading hedge fund business,” said Jeff Greenberg, Chief Executive of Aquiline. “Recent market turmoil has underscored the importance of transparency, liquidity and true alpha generation, which are core elements of Nexar’s approach.”

15 Sep 2009

Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest WildCard Play-Off


This year marks the sixth anniversary of A Leg To Stand On’s annual benefit, Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest, being held at B.B. King Blues Club in New York on Thursday, October 8. This event unites a rapidly growing number of A Leg To Stand On supporters for a unique night of rock-and-roll performances by members of the hedge fund and financial communities.

The Rocktoberfest Wildcard Play-Off is being held tomorrow, September 16 at Sullivan Hall in New York, where four bands made up of hedge fund and related industry professionals will battle it out to perform at Rocktoberfest.

Since 2004, Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest has proudly served as A Leg To Stand On’s signature fundraising benefit. Due in large part to the support received through this one night, A Leg To Stand On has been able to directly help over 3,000 children through the provision of free corrective surgeries and prosthetic and orthotic devices.

An estimated 10,000 children have been helped through A Leg To Stand On’s training workshops, aimed at teaching innovative best-practices in orthopedic care to in-country medical providers. In January of 2009, A Leg To Stand On committed to helping a total of 11 project partners in Haiti, Nigeria, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Capintro Outlines Opportunities Available to Hedge Fund Investors in 2009/2010

A new study by Capintro Partners, analyzing the impact of the events of 2008 on the hedge fund industry, indicates that the crisis may have led to structural changes which could benefit hedge funds.

The report makes a compelling case for having hedge funds as a strategic long term investment within a diversified portfolio. Capintro Partners highlights five key changes in the industry:

1) Assets in the industry have substantially declined due to investor redemptions, weak performance and flight to quality. The reduction in assets allows for outsized positive performance due to reduced competition among hedge fund managers within the same strategy.

2) The number of managers in the industry has also decreased, further reducing competition leading to wider spreads and an opportunity for larger gains.

3) Hedge funds have historically outperformed post crises and have performed well preserving capital throughout historical crisis events.

4) Hedge fund returns have varied more widely causing dispersion among manager returns to increase and correlation among managers and hedge fund strategies to decrease. This allows for greater diversification benefits to investors and leads to higher risk adjusted returns.

5) In order to attract new assets, managers are offering investors various incentives that may include access to closed funds, higher levels of liquidity, greater transparency and/or reduced fees.

Strategies that trade liquid securities and are able to take advantage of the volatility in global markets will be better positioned to outperform. Capintro favors the following strategies for the remainder of 2009:

1) Global Macro
2) Arbitrage
3) Equity Hedge

“It’s important for investors to realize that the current environment presents substantial opportunities for hedge fund managers and in turn for them. Our objective is to help uncover these opportunities, specifically in the aftermath of the events of 2008 and the massive de-leveraging that took place within the financial system” said Mahmoud Al-Khawaja, CEO of Capintro Partners.

About Capintro Partners, Ltd.

Headquartered in the United Kingdom with a representative office in Dubai, Capintro undertakes a range of activities including, but not limited to, placement services of actively managed funds and direct investments in the alternative investment industry including hedge funds. Aiming to become a leader in the investment product placement business, Capintro will bridge a gap between global investment managers and institutional and high net worth clients throughout the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region.

14 Sep 2009

Trinity Fund Administration expands into Cayman

Hedge fund manager, Trinity Fund Administration has expanded by opening an office in the Cayman Islands after receiving a full Fund Administrators license from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority.

Brad Cowdroy has been appointed Head of the new Cayman office and will have overall responsibility for local service offerings and the principal management of all North American account business. Brad joins from Goldman Sachs, where he was a Vice President in Fund Administration Services. Prior to this, Brad held positions at CIBC and PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Cayman Islands, where both roles focused in the funds area. Brad qualified as a Chartered Accountant in Sydney, Australia whilst working at BDO and has a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) degree from the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury.

John McCann, Managing Director of Trinity commented, “We are absolutely delighted to have someone of Brad’s calibre and experience heading up our new Cayman office and joining the Trinity group. Brad brings a wealth of experience in alternative fund servicing, as well as a broad knowledge of administrative and regulatory issues affecting our clients. We have no doubt he will make a significant contribution to the organisation’s growth moving forward”.

Trinity provides the full range of hedge fund administration services to investment groups based around the globe, which operate fund structures domiciled in a range of jurisdictions, including Ireland, Cyprus, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda, BVI, Malta and the Channel Islands. A significant portion of its business comes from Cayman registered funds.

The firm’s expansion into Cayman comes in response to strong client demand, particularly from emerging managers, and will provide a local point for firms to access Trinity’s broad suite of services. Equally this befits a natural expansion of the business which will give Trinity better access to managers in North America.

John McCann added, “This is a major step forward in terms of Trinity’s expansion plans. We have always offered a complete suite of services to Cayman-domiciled funds and this brings us that much closer to this important component of our business”.

Trinity was also recently nominated for two awards from International Custody and Fund Administration and was voted number one in its class, within the recent prestigious annual Global Custodial Survey.

Man Investments & Dexion Launch Man AHL Diversity

Alternative asset manager, Man Investments, and UK hedge fund advisory and marketing firm, Dexion Capital Group, announced the launch of a new UCITS III trend following product, Man AHL Diversity.

“Historically, the performance of trend following managers has tended to be uncorrelated to traditional stock and bond markets." Tim Wong, Chief Executive Officer of AHL, said, "We saw that with AHL’s highly impressive performance last year when its best performing fund delivered 33% at the same time as some equity markets fell 40%.”

Investors will be able to access the sterling denominated product with a minimum initial investment of £100 from the product’s launch in October 2009.

Founded in 1987, AHL manages $20.4 billion (as at 31 March 2009) and has delivered a strong track record of performance. Based on past data and adjusted for structure, fees and costs, Man AHL Diversity would have delivered annualised returns of over 14% during the past 14 years. AHL managed funds have produced a positive return in every calendar year since inception.

AHL’s track record has been greatly reinforced through Man’s funding of the Oxford-Man Institute (OMI) and the creation of AHL Oxford, the compny says.

The Oxford University academics of the OMI and AHL’s researchers in AHL Oxford share purpose designed premises, where AHL’s researchers have already developed several valuable commercial applications. Now in its second year, this arrangement has created a stimulating environment that fosters day-to-day interactions between AHL and the university's academics and students, and has provided AHL with exposure to leading academic thinking from a worldwide network of experts and wide spectrum of disciplines.

Trend followers – often known as managed futures managers – seek to exploit persistent trends and other market inefficiencies in a systematic way using highly liquid futures markets. Their funds are designed to perform whether prices trend up or down with the result that returns tend to be uncorrelated with traditional stock or bond markets.

11 Sep 2009

Swedbank Robur Reduces Fund of Hedge Fund Fees

Scandinavian fund of hedge fund manager, Swedbank Robur announced that it is lowering fees by .2% to .4% on its 5 funds, effective October 1st.

"These reductions are in line with our ambition to offer an attractive product range with competitive prices." Mats Lagerqvist, President of Swedbank Robur, said, "We are always looking for improvements and when it comes to these funds we have identified an opportunity to adjust the fees. It is our strong belief that this new fee structure will be more distinct for our customers since it is easier to understand the relationship between the fund fee and the risk level of the fund".

Swedbank Robur offers fund of funds under the product name Access. This product category is specifically developed for customers who do not have the time to change their fund portfolio from one day to the other.

"These products are highly appreciated by customers who want a well diversified portfolio. The customers also get access to markets which are otherwise rather inaccessible. The funds deliver not only diversification but also an active reallocation of the underlying funds. Altogether Swedbank Roburs Access funds are an attractive investment alternative for many of our customers and through the reduction of fees we will be even more competitive in terms of pricing", Lagerqvist said.

Swedbank Robur is a wholly owned subsidiary of Swedbank. Founded in 1967, Robur was one of the first fund managers in Sweden. Managing the capital of 3.1 million investors, in the Swedish mutual fund market, Swedbank Robur has approximately 27% of assets under management.

Palladio Alternative Research goes live

Swiss-based Palladio Alternative Research Group has started operations in August 2009 via its first Geneva-based subsidiary.

Designed to provide outsourcing solutions for hedge fund research and due diligence, Palladio Alternative Research Group will be headed by Sarah Clar-Boson, founding partner and a former Senior hedge fund analyst at Optifin SA and UBP Alternative Asset Management Group.

The firm's two other partners include successful established hedge fund entrepreneurs: Christophe Reech, CEO and Chairman of Reech AiM Group, recently awarded Emerging Manager of the year 2009 by Institutional Investor, and Jean-Marc Emden, CEO of Nassau-based Autana Capital, who has extensive experience in alternative investments since 1992.

In addition, Palladio Alternative Research Group has set up strategic agreements with Lotus Peak Capital PTE Ltd (Singapore) for Asian research coverage and with Castle Hall Alternatives (Canada) for detailed operational due diligence upon request.

"The opportunity set for unbiased, professional hedge fund advice and analysis is a direct outcome of the 2008 crisis, given the obvious conflict of interests between advisory and investment, the Madoff debacle and the failure to complete continuous
in-depth due diligence services," commented Mrs Clar-Boson.

"There is an acute shortage of independent alternative research providers: going forward, investors are demanding a more dynamic and personalized dialog to replace their disappointing relationships with large, traditional organisations. The ongoing complexity and sophistication of hedge fund analysis drives the need for truly neutral third-party specialists and Palladio Alternative Research Group aims to progressively become a significant and trusted player in the space." she concluded.

10 Sep 2009

Cayman Hedge Fund Results Up For US Equity Market Neutral Fund

Global Hedge Fund Group said that their flagship fund, the US Equity Market Neutral Fund showed annual returns of between 22-45%, accompanied with a volatility of 8-12% per annum.

The fund commenced trading on 20 August 2001 with initial assets of $14 million from institutional investors. The strategy employs a proprietary factor model which measures trends in observed stock prices and expects to profit from market inefficiencies over time.

Global Hedge Fund Group works in close association with research firms, hedge fund managers, and brokerage houses.

Butterfield Fulcrum Partners With Risk Fundamentals

Alternative fund administration company, Butterfield Fulcrum, has partnered with hedge fund software firm Risk Fundamentals, to provide comprehensive risk analytics to hedge fund managers.

“As independent administrators we sit at the junction where transparency and confidentiality have traditionally opposed each other,” said Akshaya Bhargava, Butterfield Fulcrum's CEO.

“Risk Fundamentals is a state of the art risk management and transparency solution for hedge funds, funds of funds and institutional investors,” said Ben Weston, Risk Fundamentals’ Chairman. “This collaboration fulfills a longstanding need in the marketplace for new and effective ways to understand and man­age risk.”

Butterfield Fulcrum said the product will measure liquidity and leverage, the primary sources of hedge fund collapse.

9 Sep 2009

Hedge funds attract $4.5 billion in Aug 2009

Preliminary reporting from Eurekahedge finds that August marks the 6th consecutive month of positive returns for hedge funds (up 13.1% YTD); hedge funds up 2.6% for the last 12 months, while the MSCI AC World Index is down 18.5% for the same period.

Net inflows for hedge funds reached $4.5 billion in August, with over 50% of the reporting funds attracting capital during the month.

Most hedge funds recorded gains averaging close to or over 2% during August, with European managers (2.6%) delivering the best gains, on average. North American and Latin American funds ended the month with gains averaging 1.8% and 2.1%. Asian managers, on the other hand, underperformed most others, with Japan-specific funds up 0.7% and their Asia ex-Japan-investing counterparts down 1.1%.

There were over 300 new hedge fund launches and 400 fund closures confirmed by Eurekahedge so far this year.

Hedge Funds Lag as Equity Market Rally Continues - Hennessee

There was good economic news in August, specifically housing and manufacturing data, according to hedge fund research specialist Hennessee Group.

"Government spending continues to drive demand, while the private sector has been largely absent. This dynamic is not sustainable,” commented Charles Gradante, Co-Founder of Hennessee Group. “In addition, equity markets are no longer undervalued. With September being one of the worst months historically, we are cautious of a pull back in the markets.”

The Hennessee Hedge Fund Index advanced +1.85% in August (+17.30% YTD), while the S&P 500 increased +3.36% (+12.99% YTD), the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased +3.54% (+8.20% YTD), and the NASDAQ Composite Index advanced +1.54% (+27.40% YTD). The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index advanced +1.04% (+4.62% YTD).

“Hedge funds continued to lag the surging equity markets, as we would expect given their short portfolios and hedges,” said Lee Hennessee, Managing Principal of Hennessee Group. “Managers have opened up their exposures to benefit from the market rally. However, given the uncertainty around the economy, most managers are looking to generate gains due to stock selection, rather than beta exposure as there is potential for a correction.”

Peak Oil Investing Hedge Fund Launch

Hedge fund investor, logi ENERGY LLC., has announced the formation of The Peak Oil Value Fund. Launched September 8, the new hedge fund is the first of its kind aimed at institutional and accredited investors.

“We believe that the effects of Peak Oil on the markets are a temporary Global Macro series of events” Larry Ortega CIO of the Peak Oil Value Fund said, “We only have a few years to take advantage of these opportunities.“
 
The fund's investment strategy employs five approaches: 1) Publicly Traded Equities and Equity Options; 2) Investment in oil in storage; 3) Investment in Oil, Gasoline and Heating Oil spreads in the Futures Markets; 4) Private Investment in Public Equities of Oil and Gas Exploration Companies; and 5) Private Investment in Private Companies or Oil and Gas Fields.
 
“Our superb models developed by our deep, complex team of expert geophysicists, mathematicians, oil professionals and oil traders have been able to predict and identify the fluctuations of oil prices and indicate when we expect prices to move based on both fundamentals of oil production and demand as well as storage, refinery processing, price action and economic utilization." Ortega said, "They are not perfect, but we’re extremely pleased with the results. We invest like Warren Buffett, which is we make our money when we purchase our positions at deep value, thus the effects of our errors are minimal. Our difference is that in most of our strategies we also hedge nearly every position we take.”
 
The fund’s goal is to purchase or make significant investments in oil and gas exploration firms for their reserve positions while supporting their production and exploration efforts with direct investment in their fields and then hedge position value, reserves and future production. The fund expects to invest based on fundamental valuation of each position they take.

8 Sep 2009

Euromoney Launches International Hedge Fund Magazine

International publishing and information company, Euromoney Institutional Investor, is launching a new magazine and online offering covering US and international hedge funds in September. The new publication will be titled “AR”.

“The publication will include new surveys, rankings and high-powered web functionality,” Euromoney Institutional Investor chairman and editor-in-chief Padraic Fallon said, “With the hedge fund sector under intense scrutiny from Washington, regulators and investors, this is an excellent time to launch a hedge fund publication.”

Michelle Celarier, current editor of Absolute Return, will also be the editor of the new magazine. “Hedge fund performance has recovered strongly in 2009, after the sector’s worst ever performance in 2008, and there are now significant opportunities,” Celarier says.

The company’s hedge fund publishing assets include Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine and Absolute Return magazine, which is published by HedgeFund Intelligence.

Third Avenue Launches Credit Fund, Hires Blackrock Hedge Fund Specialist

Third Avenue Management LLC, the investment adviser to the Third Avenue Funds has launched the Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund, capitalizing on credit, distressed and value equity investing.

"The current market environment provides attractive opportunities for experienced credit pickers like Third Avenue Management to generate meaningful returns," David Barse, Chief Executive Officer of Third Avenue Management, said, "Portfolio Manager Jeff Gary and Senior Research Analyst Thomas Lapointe will lead the effort of managing the new fund."

Prior to joining Third Avenue, Gary was at BlackRock Financial, which he joined in 2003 as the Portfolio Manager and head of the high-yield and distressed investment team which managed approximately $17 billion in assets in various mutual funds and institutional accounts.

Lapointe will focus on identifying and researching opportunities in high-yield and bank loan investments. Lapointe has over 17 years of investment experience and was previously responsible for managing approximately $6 billion in high-yield assets, as Co-Head of High-Yield Investments for Columbia Management.

"Third Avenue’s style emphasizes credit selection, total return and a deep value approach," Gary said, "Our opportunistic mandate allows us to invest in a wide range of credit securities – including bank loans, high-yield and convertible securities – that have the best risk-adjusted return potential which distinguishes the Fund from typical high-yield funds.”

The Fund will offer two classes of shares, Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund Investor Class, and Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund Institutional Class.

Third Avenue Management has approximately $14 billion in assets under management and offers value-oriented strategies through mutual funds, UCITS, separate accounts and alternative investment vehicles.

4 Sep 2009

Cayman Islands Current Financial Position, Not Bankrupt

In a statement outlining the Cayman Islands financial position, the Hon. McKeeva Bush, Leader of Government Business/Premier Designate issued a statement regarding recent media coverage suggesting that the Cayman Islands is bankrupt, "we can confirm that these accusations are incorrect," she said.

Although Cayman’s two main industries, tourism and financial services, are significantly affected, "we are confident that the strength and resilience which has contributed to Cayman’s significant growth over the past 40 years will continue to serve the country well."

The Government’s efforts include the cutting of Government expenditure, customs duties, licence fees, and a number of other indirect taxes.

The government has also implemented an aggressive inward investment programme through private sector partnerships which will result in a number of new infrastructure projects and other developments. These will result in the region of $3 billion of inward investment in the short to medium term.

"In three weeks time we will be presenting our Budget which will continue to maintain Cayman’s sound financial stability. The Cayman Islands is well placed to take advantage of the global economic recovery and we are committed to continuing the success of our indirect tax system which has served the country so well over its history." McKeeva Bush concluded.

Credit Suisse's AIR Shows Positive Month for Hedge Funds

Long/Short Equity hedge funds returned positive performance in August mainly as a result of the continued uptrend in equity markets, according to Jordan Drachman, Head of Research for Alternative Beta Strategies at Credit Suisse.

"Following a strong rally in July, equity markets continued their upward trend in August, reaching highs not achieved since October 2008." Dr. Drachman noted, "Long/Short Equity hedge fund managers continued to increase their overall net exposures in order to benefit from market gains. Despite brief corrections due to a mid-month weak consumer sentiment report, managers were able to finish up for the month. The Credit Suisse Long/Short Equity Replication Index (“AIR Long/Short Equity Index”) was up 1.55% (net) for the month, while the Credit Suisse Global Macro Replication Index (“AIR Global Macro Index”) finished up 0.08% (net) over the same period."

AIR Indices seek to replicate the performance of major hedge fund strategies and enable investors to gain liquid, transparent insight into the Global Macro and Long/Short Equity sectors of the Credit Suisse/Tremont Hedge Fund Index. The AIR platform also offers inverse indices that seek to approximate short exposure to the aggregate returns of the universe of Long/Short Equity and Global Macro hedge fund managers.

Performances for the AIR Global Macro and Long/Short Equity Indices are calculated daily and shown net of a 1.15% per annum calculation fee.

3 Sep 2009

Global Climate Change Fund Launch

Alternative investment manager and advisor, Climate Change Capital, (CCC) has been appointed to manage a climate change fund for Dublin-domiciled UCITS platform, Russell OpenWorld.

The Global Climate Change Fund will be managed by Climate Change Capital's Global Equities' team of Paul Udall and Ronnie Lim.

The new fund will invest globally in sectors impacted by climate change. Udall and Lim, both Managing Directors at Climate Change Capital together have over 30 years' investment experience, and over 12 years' experience in managing specialist environmental equities. Prior to joining Climate Change Capital in 2007, both worked in the Sustainable Investment team at Morley Fund Management (now Aviva Global Investors), a top-ranked Socially Responsible Investing team.

"Climate Change Capital is uniquely positioned globally as an investment firm to benefit from the significant investment opportunities that exist in climate change," Shaun Mays, Chief Executive Officer at CCC, said, "Russell has a highly-regarded research and due diligence process, and we are pleased to be selected as the manager for one of their specialist, thematic funds."

The fund aims to provide significant excess returns above global equity markets by investing in a manager that takes high conviction active positions in companies that are affected by climate change. This is a relatively new area of investing, therefore, this fund enables investors to add an innovative and differentiated return stream to their portfolios.

With over US $1.5 billion under management as of April 2009, Climate Change Capital aims to provide attractive returns to investors, demonstrating the financial opportunity associated with the low carbon economy.

The Securities and Exchange Commission Post-Madoff Reforms

The SEC has just released the information below regarding the actions it will take in the wake of the Madoff scandal. Pillsbury is sponsoring a program in San Francisco on this topic, October 8, 2009.

In the wake of the Madoff fraud, the SEC’s Office of the Inspector General launched an internal investigation in December 2008 to determine why the agency did not detect the scheme. While awaiting the report, the SEC has been taking decisive and comprehensive steps to reduce the chances that such frauds will occur or be undetected in the future.


Safeguarding Investors’ Assets:
The SEC in May proposed two rules that would better protect clients of investment advisers from theft and abuse. The rules would provide assurance to these clients that their accounts contain the funds that their investment adviser and account statements say they contain. Among other things, the rules would encourage investment advisers to place their clients’ assets in the custody of an independent firm.

Surprise Exams: One proposal would require all investment advisers who control or have custody of their clients’ assets to hire an independent public accountant to conduct an annual “surprise exam” to verify those assets actually exist. This surprise examination would provide another set of eyes on the clients’ assets, thereby offering additional protection against the theft or misuse of funds.

Third Party Reviews: A second proposal would apply to investment advisers who do not use independent firms to maintain their clients’ assets. Such advisers would be required to obtain a third party written report assessing the safeguards that protect the clients’ assets. The report — prepared by an accountant registered and inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board — would, among other things, describe the controls that are in place to protect the assets, the tests performed on the controls, and the results of those tests. Existing rules make no distinction between an investment adviser whose affiliate holds its clients’ funds and an investment adviser that uses a truly independent custodian.


Revitalizing the Enforcement Division:
Under the leadership of a new Enforcement Director, the SEC is restructuring the division to better ensure that it focuses on significant cases that will have a meaningful impact. The restructuring will reduce bureaucracy and speed up the enforcement process by removing a layer of management in the 1,100 person division. The newly structured division will include specialized units that will enable staff in those units to concentrate their expertise in focused areas and help detect patterns, links, trends and motives. In addition, the Division is streamlining internal processes to make investigative procedures more efficient.

Revamping the Handling of Complaints and Tips: In order to improve the handling of hundreds of thousands of complaints, tips, and referrals it receives each year, the SEC has contracted with Mitre, a federally funded research and development center, to help the agency revamp its processes across the agency. After reviewing and analyzing its intake procedures, the SEC is now beginning to improve upon its processes for collecting, recording, investigating, referring and tracking this information. Among other things, the agency is creating a centralized system for handling this information. Once the information and processes are centralized, the agency will apply risk analytics to better enable it to reveal links, trends, statistical deviations and patterns that might not be observable when each complaint is examined one at a time.

Advocating for a Whistleblower Program: The SEC has advocated for expanded authority from Congress to reward whistleblowers who bring forward substantial evidence to the agency about significant federal securities violations. In proposed legislation that the Chairman sent to Congress, a fund would be established to pay whistleblowers using money collected from wrongdoers that is not otherwise distributed to investors.

Conducting Risk-Based Examinations of Financial Firms: The SEC has dispatched its examiners to conduct a “sweep” of firms that present certain risk characteristics to ensure, among other things, that the clients’ assets in fact exist. Such risks include advisers whose clients’ assets are held with an affiliate, as opposed to an independent entity; hedge funds that seem to have “smooth” or outlier returns; firms that use an unknown auditor or no auditor at all; firms with a disciplinary history; and broker-dealers that sell an affiliate’s hedge fund or limited partnership.

Increasing Focus on Agency-Wide Risk Assessment: The SEC is assessing and improving the use of risk assessment techniques, agency-wide, to more proactively identify areas of risk to investors. The agency is increasing collaboration with third parties and other government agencies to identify firms or products that may pose risk to investors or markets. The agency is also improving our ability to monitor the industry — by identifying the data and information that financial firms would submit to the SEC — to allow it to better identify those particular firms that warrant a closer look by examiners and enforcement staff.

Improving Fraud Detection Techniques for Examiners: The SEC instituted measures to improve the ability of examiners to detect fraud and other types of violations. The measures include more rigorous reviews of firms before the examiners enter the premises, and a more complete exam guide that focuses not only on obvious signs of fraud but also more subtle signals that deserve closer inspection, such as a firm using an unknown accountant. The measures also include increased checks on outside entities to verify that assets actually exist there and expanded use of exams of an entire entity when firms have joint or dual registrants such as affiliated broker-dealers and investment advisers.

Recruiting Staff with Specialized Experience: The SEC is working to bring in new staff with diverse skill sets to expand its knowledge base and improve its ability to assess risk, conduct examinations, detect and investigate wrongdoing, and focus our priorities. Some initial examples included:

Senior Specialized Examiners: The agency is hiring new staffers to the examination unit who have specialized experience in areas such as trading, operations, portfolio management, options, compliance, valuation, new instruments and portfolio strategies, and forensic accounting.

Industry and Market Fellows Program: The agency is hiring new staffers who are highly-seasoned financial experts to keep pace with the practices of Wall Street and protect investors. These experts would provide other staffers with new information and perspectives to help them identify emerging issues and understand the ways the industry is changing.

Expanding and Targeting Training: The SEC is providing its staff with targeted training related to hedge funds and specialized products, derivatives and options, complex trading, and investigations of regulated entities. Additionally, the SEC is conducting programs to train hundreds of staffers to become Certified Fraud Examiners, and expanding the availability of programs for staffers to become Certified Financial Analysts.

Seeking More Resources: The SEC has been seeking additional funding to hire more examiners who can go into more financial firms to see whether they are in compliance with the law, as well as for more enforcement staff who can bring more enforcement cases when fraud and other violations of the law are found. In recent years, the SEC has not had adequate resources to oversee the securities industry. For example, the SEC has just over 400 people in its exam program to examine the more than 11,000 regulated investment advisers and 8,000 mutual funds.

Integrating Broker-Dealer and Investment Adviser Examinations: The New York Regional Office has adopted a protocol that will integrate examination teams to make sure people with the right skill sets are assigned to examinations. Under the new protocol, a single team of examiners, drawn from the broker-dealer and investment managements units, will jointly examine selected firms to ensure that the examination team includes those most expert in the subject of the exam. In addition, this initiative includes greater cross-training and coordination between broker-dealer and investment management staff on their examination plans.

Enhancing Licensing, Education and Oversight Regime for “Back-Office” Personnel: Working with senior SEC staff, FINRA has committed to establish a new system to enhance the oversight and professional requirements of personnel performing back-office functions at broker-dealer firms. “Back-office” personnel typically perform critical custody, accounting, transfer agency and account maintenance functions. They have an important role that must be performed with skill and integrity. Under the new regime, certain back-office personnel would be subject to licensing and education requirements as well as enhanced oversight. The new regime will further promote the qualifications and professionalism of those performing back office functions so that client accounts are better protected.

http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/secpostmadoffreforms.htm

Thanks to Jay B. Gould, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

2 Sep 2009

Hedge Fund FII Named to Inc. 500/5000 List

Hedge fund firm, Financial Investments Inc. (FII), is to be recognized as one of the 500/5000 winners to be honored at a special event in Washington, the hedge fund will also be featured in the September issue of Inc. magazine.

The Inc. 500 celebrates the fastest-growing private companies in America. FII is a Herndon, Virginia-based Alternative financial investment management firm that has recently garnered national recognition for its growth and outstanding performance. Companies that qualify for the Inc. 500 must have a sales history of four or more years and annual revenues of at least $2 million in 2008.

FII has also been recognized by Virginia Business Magazine as a regional semi-finalist for its Small Business Success Story of the Year. In 2008 and 2009, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce also named FII to their "Fantastic 50" list of the state's 50 fastest growing companies.

"FII was founded in 1997, and has achieved annual revenue growth in excess of 40% each year for the last four years," said Craig Kendall, President and CEO. "Our customer focus and disciplined approach to investments with commodities, equities and equity indexes has resulted in consistent commendable returns for our institutional and private investors. Time and again we have exceeded returns to investors in excess of the S & P 500 during this year's volatile market," he added.

This is the second year that FII has been recognized in the Inc 500/5000 awards program. "FII continued with its growth and improvement of services all during the recent meltdown that the financial markets have experienced. A feat that we are most proud of", stated Kendall.

FII evolved from the original accounting firm of Kendall & Company, CPA's. In 2005, FII created Financial Commodity Investments (FCI) to provide products and services relating to commodity markets. As of July, 2009, the FCI products have generated net positive YTD returns in excess of 20% to investors. In August, 2009 the FCI alternative investment products were also recognized and ranked as one of the top Top Commodity Trading Advisors, CTA's for five year returns as tracked and reported by Barclays in their Barclay Managed Funds Report.

Edinburgh Firm Expands Hedge Fund Business

Specialist active equity manager, Martin Currie Investment Management Limited, has expanded its global hedge fund arm with two senior hires, Alastair Barrie and Clayton Cheek.

Barrie joins in the newly created role of global head of hedge fund sales and Cheek joins as US head of hedge fund sales. Both bring with them extensive business development experience and join existing sales director, Mike Gibb.

Alastair pereviously worked at RBS where he was director of institutional business. In this new position he will be responsible for growing their global hedge fund business. Prior to RBS Alastair was director of global hedge fund sales and UK wholesale distribution at Henderson.

Clayton joins Martin Currie’s office in New York. Previously he worked for Man Investments in New York where he was head of institutional sales for the US. Prior to Man, he was managing director, head of client development Americas for Ivy Asset Management.

"We are thrilled that Alastair and Clayton are joining our successful and growing hedge fund business." Allan MacLeod, managing director of sales, marketing and client service at Martin Currie said, "Our hedge fund business is now over nine years old and has over US$1 billion under management across ten funds. It is a clear reflection on the quality of our business that we have been able to attract such high calibre professionals."

Martin Currie manages £10.7 billion ($18 billion) for clients worldwide, with $1.2 billion of that in absolute return funds.

1 Sep 2009

Castle Hall Alternatives Publishes White Paper on Hedge Fund Operational Failures

Hedge fund operational due diligence provider, Castle Hall Alternatives, published its latest White Paper, ‘From Manhattan to Madoff: the Causes and Lessons of Hedge Fund Operational Failure.’

The Paper’s analysis and findings are based on HedgeEvent, a comprehensive, web-based database of more than 300 operational events, now available to Castle Hall’s due diligence clients. HedgeEvent supplements HedgeDiligence, the firm’s existing client web portal.

Chris Addy, Castle Hall’s CEO, said “the colossal fraud perpetrated by Bernie Madoff, together with a number of other recent cases, has made investors acutely concerned by the risk of operational ‘blow ups’. However, there has been little systematic study of operational failure, meaning that investors have limited guidance as to the extent of this problem.”

“The creation of HedgeEvent, which has taken more than two years to compile, has enabled us to summarize key metrics related to hedge fund operational failure” said Addy. “From Manhattan to Madoff analyzes operational events by number, estimated loss, causal factor and by the strategy of the funds involved.”

HedgeEvent contains 327 cases of hedge fund operational failure through June 30, 2009. Madoff, with an estimated financial impact of $64 billion, is by far the largest; the remaining cases have an aggregate estimated financial impact of approximately $15 billion. Of the 327 operational events, 121 have an estimated impact of $10 million or more, and 31 of at least $100 million.

“While operational failures are material – Madoff spectacularly so – it does not seem that fraud is pervasive in the hedge fund industry” said Addy. “Investors should, however, be very focused on the lessons which can be learned from those hedge funds which did generate large losses. Many of these were well established firms which attracted capital from reputable investors.”

Across all Events, the most common causes of operational failure are theft and misappropriation followed by existence of assets (the manager claimed to own fake securities or operated a Ponzi scheme where reported assets did not exist). The most common strategies subject to operational failure are long / short equity followed by managed futures. It is notable that investors have traditionally viewed these strategies, holding largely exchange-traded securities, as straightforward with low operational risk.