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Money managers under the microscope

GAIM 2009: Managers, investors cheer new austerity

June 19, 2009


This year’s GAIM conference was far smaller than the three previous summer events, with fewer organized events, no sponsored gala dinner and restricted cocktail sessions where two or three bar staff struggled to satisfy hundreds of thirsty conference-goers


Hedgies shun the beachThe fact was duly noted, initially with some concern, by many of the investors and asset managers, several of them grumbling about the limited amount of liquid refreshment available to slake a healthy thirst worked up in the searing Monaco sun.


In the end, however, investors were left impressed by the quality of their numerous meetings with asset managers over the three-day event. Managers too said they were impressed by the incisiveness of investor questions.


The 500 or so investors and managers went home with new ideas, fresh plans and new found respect for each other.


Maybe that was because they finally got a chance to meet.


Investors grabbed the opportunity to meet managers directly. In past years, they had spent much of the conference trying to avoid the capital introduction people, who in turn spent their time trying to hunt down investors.


This year the cap intro people, marketers and salespeople were conspicuous by their absence, as were the hordes of banking executives who usually show up.


Among the service providers, only PricewaterhouseCoopers came team-handed, although it seems that fewer than the 18 PwC registrants turned up.


While organizers ICBI must have been slightly disappointed by the turn out – 800 people had registered for the event, after all – they couldn’t have failed to notice that those who had turned up were keen to get on with things.


In past years many attendees went home with impressive suntans, this year relatively few of them spent more than a little time by the swimming pool or on the beach, as was evident from their generally pallid hue on the final conference day.


Jimmy’z nightclub, normally packed during GAIM, did no such roaring trade this year.


Usually, the final events of the conference are poorly attended, with 30 or fewer conference-goers turning up to the farewell drinks sessions, many sloping off earlier because, they said, they needed “to return to work”.


This year, there was no need to leave early, because they were already at work. At the final drinks gathering – again a Spartan affair, where beer and wine looked destined to run out very quickly – more than 100 people showed up, and discussions continued.


Few, if any, expressed disappointment over this year’s GAIM. Most of them headed home on Thursday evening, exhausted but satisfied with what they had achieved.


Ecofasa turns waste to biodiesel using bacteria

A group of Spanish developers working for a company called Ecofasa just announced a new biofuel made up from trash. This isn’t a biodiesel made from used frying oil; instead, it’s made from general urban waste which is treated by bacteria. The result of that bacteria? Fatty acids that can be used to produce standard biodiesel. According to the company’s CEO, the process is fully biologic, competes with no feedstock and is really sustainable. However, the process doesn’t yield that much actual fuel: just one liter of biodiesel from 10 kg of trash. The project is now in a development phase, but Ecofasa said that a commercially viable model could be ready in three to four years. .jsp?article_id=3225 X4


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