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Money managers under the microscope

Bears stalk hedgie jamboree

June 16, 2010

After 20 percent gains in 2009 and a year of inflows, you might expect the mood in Monaco at the annual GAIM hedge fund conference to be jubilant. Indeed, Martin de Sa’Pinto has identified some crucial developments in delegates’ late-night carousing which point to some renewed confidence.

Managers are certainly in a better mood than last year, when the industry had been through a battering from markets and disillusioned investors.

But there is still a lot of nervousness, with regulation and tax concerns very much on investors’ minds.

And a volatile May, including the industry’s biggest losses in 18 months, has taken its toll. The talk is of how not to lose money, while a session entitled “Understanding the recent strength of global macro strategies” –presumably thought up several months ago — looks like an anachronism.

Even the weather isn’t brilliant. The usual brilliant sunshine has given way to heavy rain yesterday and overcast skies today.

At least the choice of speakers seems right. “Black Swan” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb and perma-bear Hugh Hendry seem to sum up the air of caution very well.

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