Money managers under the microscope
Hedge fund’s wine-stained explorer’s diary tries to make investor letters less boring
Secretive hedge fund managers have been water-marking their investor letters for years as a way to prevent people from distributing their words of wisdom too broadly. But Nicolas Clavel of the near $100 million London and Geneva-based hedge fund Scipion Capital is taking it to new levels by sharing his wine-stained diary with investors.
Fed up with the tedium of monthly investor letters, Clavel started adding a little more pizazz to the communications of his African and commodity focused hedge funds this summer by publishing an “African Explorer’s Diary.”
The diary is a far cry from the monthly performance numbers, charts and graphs, typical of most hedge fund letters. Rather, Clavel has adopted an approach seemingly right out of Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, set in cursive typeface on the image of an old diary — looking as if it was composed after a couple of glasses of wine. He says Africa is not the Wild West of investing anymore (as in a Reuters interview earlier this year) and is eager to give investors an on-the-ground view of Africa.
“I try to give people a little bit of the flavor of the continent,” said Clavel, who says he aims to send quarterly updates on his thoughts to investors after his trips to Africa and jots down notes and ideas for them during his travels. He said he picked the graphic for the “African Explorer’s Diary” from several options made by his assistant because it reminded him a bit of Livingston’s diary.
“People are interested because it is actually more on the ground, down-to-earth comments,” said Clavel, who said his investors have given him positive feedback on his letters, talks about everything from his thoughts on Egypt to a sunny afternoon in the Congo. He says his next missive may contain some thoughts on economic growth in Kenya, but we’re anxious to see how many wine stains his next offering has.
To read the full diaries, see below: