Money managers under the microscope
Fund service providers were back in force at the GAIM hedge funds conference in Monaco this year, a small sign that the industry, while not exactly brimming with confidence, has at least crawled out of the doldrums of 2009.
The service providers including fund auditors, custodians and prime brokers, have drawn in their horns since the early years of the millennium when they were often the main sponsors of cocktails and dinners at large hedge fund events.
They were conspicuous by their near absence at GAIM 2009, as were the free-for-all champagne receptions, gala dinners and so on, as money drained from the industry after hedge funds suffered their worst ever losses in the crisis year of 2008.
One of the big four auditors, for example, brought 22 staff in 2008, but just four in 2009.
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.
It may seem tenuous, but the small number of delegates present in Monaco’s Grimaldi forum on Wednesday at the start of the second day of the GAIM hedge fund conference is a clear indication that the industry is feeling renewed confidence after the gloom of last year.
The reason for the poor morning turnout is quite simple. A good proportion of the attendees didn’t make it to bed until at least 3.30 a.m. on the first full conference day.
Our reporters have been scouting round the halls at the GAIM hedge fund conference in Monaco today. Here’s a taste of what we’ve seen so far:
And some links from Reuters Insider coverage:
Further signs that, for those with cash to invest, there could be some great opportunities to invest in hedge funds.
Man Group’s RMF Global Emerging Managers portfolio has invested $50 million in 5:15 Capital Management’s* flagship fund and says the opportunity set has never been better.
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
The 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.
Maverick hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry is rarely far from controversy and his appearance at the GAIM conference in Monaco this week was no exception.
Having been scheduled to give a short talk on the future of capitalism before getting into a longer discussion with Lombard Street Research chief international economist Charles Dumas, Hendry proceeded to overrun his slot, giving his views on pretty much anything to do with the world of investment.
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.