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21 May 2009

Stanford Completes Second Phase of Hedge Fund Case Study

The second phase of a hedge fund business model case study has been finalized by the Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. GlobeOp is the first hedge fund administrator to be featured in a case study developed for classroom use by Stanford.

‘GlobeOp: Structuring for Hedge Fund Growth, 2003-2008’ follows the initial study that documented GlobeOp’s foundation, strategic decisions and activities during the first three years following its foundation in 2000.

The new chapter documents GlobeOp’s five-year growth from a young business with 400 employees and 82 hedge fund clients, representing more than $26 billion in assets under administration (AuA), to a publicly-listed company with a global service network on three continents. Today GlobeOp employs 1,600 people in 10 facilities worldwide and serves more than 180 clients representing $91 billion in AuA.

"The five-year period discussed in the new chapter details strategic milestones for GlobeOp that were also important learning experiences for us as entrepreneurs and as a service provider." Hans Hufschmid, CEO of GlobeOp, said, "As it concludes at the beginning of a year of unprecedented turmoil for our clients and financial markets in general, we hope this latest installment will provide students with useful insight into the vision, nimbleness and innovation needed as market opportunities and challenges develop. With new market fundamentals now emerging, we believe the focus on client service and transparency detailed in the case study will position us well for the future."

Professor Glenn R. Carroll, who led the study, noted that, "This second GlobeOp case provides an exceptional opportunity to see how an entrepreneurial start-up in financial services was transformed into a mature global organization without losing its technological advantage. We are very grateful to GlobeOp for allowing us access and know that students everywhere will gain from studying the case.”

The case study was supervised by Professor Carroll, Laurence W. Lane professor of Organizations in the Graduate School of Business and (by courtesy) professor of Sociology in the School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford University; and written by Victoria Chang, a Graduate School of Business researcher.

This latest case study segment documents how GlobeOp established a significant presence in India to provide clients with 24/5 services through scale and time zone optimization; hired a chief operating officer to create structured people and process management; and became a publicly-listed company. It also discusses the development of GlobeOp’s focus on people, processes and technology and the creation of new revenue streams through unbundled services in response to new market opportunities.

The study can be accessed on the on the GlobeOp website, it will be distributed by Harvard Business School Publishing.

Hedge Fund Performance for April 2009

In a preliminary hedge fund performance report for April 2009 and asset flows through March, morningstar reported the largest one month-return since January 2006—bringing hedge fund returns into positive territory for 2009.

"Over the last two months, the bulls have dominated the markets, and stories of green shoots in the economy colored the financial media. The rally was led by higher-risk asset classes, including small-cap, financial sector, and emerging market stocks, as well as high-yield bonds and leveraged loans. Many hedge fund managers weren't confident in the sustainability of the rally, and invested with a more conservative market exposure," said Nadia Papagiannis, Morningstar hedge fund analyst.

U.S. convertible bonds benefited from the trend toward higher-risk, low-credit-quality investments. According to the Merrill Lynch All U.S. Convertibles Index, these securities enjoyed their best month since 1987, with speculative-grade convertibles returning more than double the gains of investment-grade securities. The Morningstar Convertible Arbitrage Hedge Fund Index, the best-performing Morningstar hedge fund index this year, rose 5.1% in April and 12.5% year to date.

Also in the lower-quality field, the Morningstar Distressed Securities Hedge Fund Index increased 2.1% in April, the largest since the beginning of the credit crunch in mid 2007.

In emerging market equities, Eastern European countries produced the best returns in April, although this region is still recovering from its early 2009 nosedive. The only losers in April were the Morningstar Global Trend and Global Non-Trend Hedge Fund Indexes, which dropped 1.7% and 0.5% respectively.

According to Morningstar’s database, hedge funds overall continued to show a decline in outflows. In January, investors withdrew more than $29 billion from hedge funds, but February outflows totaled less than $6 billion, while March's preliminary figure showed an even lower amount, at $3.6 billion. Despite the overall March trend of outflows, developed Asia equity hedge funds actually had net inflows of $4.1 billion in March, and investors were rewarded. The Morningstar MSCI Japan Hedge Fund Index increased 2.5% in April, while the broader Morningstar Developed Asia Equity Hedge Fund Index jumped 5.2%.

Hedge Fund Industry Expert Hired to run Distressed Mortgage Securities Tool

LoanInsights, a San Francisco-based financial services and technology company, has hired James Sias as Director of Business Development. Sias will be responsible for working with banks, hedge funds and US government entities to help them leverage the newly launched LoanInsights SMART (Secured Mortgage Asset Resolution Tool).

The new SMART platform enables financial institutions, investors and the government to value and manage optimally the $1 trillion-plus in so-called “toxic assets” that are a primary cause of the nation’s severe economic downturn and continue to be a major drag on the hoped for recovery.

"James’ real-world experience will be critical to our efforts in reaching out to hedge funds, banks and other investors to demonstrate how our new tools can help them effectively and profitably manage their distressed mortgage assets,” said Jonathan Strike, President and Co-Founder of LoanInsights. “In addition, with his deep knowledge of the mortgage industry and underlying process, James clearly understands what the various players need to do now to solve the toxic assets problem and help get credit flowing again."

The LoanInsights team has been working for the past eight months with investor groups, including hedge funds and private investors, to test the SMART process and technology platform in beta mode. During this time, the investors realized an unleveraged annual return on equity in excess of 30% on those portfolios analyzed and liquidated through the platform. In addition, the homeowners who were part of the program refinanced into lower, fixed-rate mortgages, and in some cases actually reduced their overall mortgage balances.