Money managers under the microscope
GAIM 2009: Business card largesse signals hedgie sales push
Journalists have not needed to persecute and cajole hedge fund executives into handing over their business cards at GAIM this year, a sharp contrast to conferences in less troubled times.
At past GAIMs, or the Global Alternative Investment Management conferences, certain hedgies went to great lengths to duck journalists, and many even expressed concern or irritation that journalists were allowed in at all.
Regulation is partly to blame for this past modesty, since rules in several countries restrict how hedge funds present themselves to the public. In fact, some rules are so vague that many funds prefer to stay out of the limelight completely rather than risk the wrath of the regulator for being quoted out of turn.
For me at least, this year has been completely different, and in spite of my depleted stock of business cards running out almost immediately (I cunningly forgot to pack the extra box I had intended to bring), I have returned to the hotel every day with my pockets bulging with business cards.
Troubled times are to blame.
Hedge funds have had a tough year, with poor performance and redemptions combining to decrease overall industry assets significantly, from around $2 trillion in early 2008 to perhaps $1.3 trillion now according to most data.
Hedge funds are looking to replenish assets, as well as to take advantage of opportunities arising after some of the competition has been swept away, and to do that they need to raise their profile.
And with widespread calls for more transparency in the industry, the task may yet become easier.