Money managers under the microscope
Asia comes out on top in hedge fund performance study – FinAlternatives
HedgeFund.net, which tracks industry performance and trends, in a report released this week estimated that total hedge fund assets rose more than 2.5 percent, or $47 billion, to reach $1.89 trillion at the end of last month. Nearly half that growth came from net inflows of $19.6 billion.
A last-minute addition to the line-up in Monaco has been GLG’s senior managing director Pierre Lagrange, a relatively low profile figure even though the firm is listed on the New York stock exchange. Lagrange was not on the conference’s original programme and only agreed last week to speak on “the pros and cons of running an alternative asset management business as a public company” today.
GLG has had its share of troubles in the past, including the Philippe Jabre scandal, last year’s departure of star manager Greg Coffey and a hefty chunk of investor redemptions. Perhaps Lagrange is taking on a more public role as the firm now feels it has a more upbeat story to tell. Having pulled off a number of hirings and the acqusition of the UK fund management unit of Societe Generale, the firm said this month that its hedge funds had risen 11.2 percent in the five months to May 31. Meanwhile, expansion into the U.S., Asia and the Middle East is also planned.
Growing up can be a painful experience for teeangers with many battles and excesses along the way.
In the midst of scarborous political denunciations of the industry and predictions that new regulations could cost UK managers 3 billion pounds we receive some heart-warming news. Hedge funds, according to HFR, have turned it around.
2008 may have been rough as hell, but April 2009 was a banner month. Hedgies exploited volatile energy prices while quants also gained as the industry put up its biggest gain since February 2000 — back when Osama bin Laden was struggling for media attention, oil was at about $20 a barrel and the world lost bluesman Screamin Jay Hawkins.
It’s encouraging to see that, even as many hedge fund investors rush for the exit, there is still some appetite to invest, as highlighted by the National Association of Pension Funds’ optimistic publication of a beginner’s guide to the industry.
Entitled Hedge Funds made simple and starting with “What is a Hedge Fund”, the guide’s blurb tells us that ”the role of hedge funds, and investing in them, has become more prominent in the last year”.
It’s been a tough 2008 for RAB.
As the industry faces its biggest-ever crisis, RAB’s own assets have slumped to just over a quarter of what it ran a year ago, while fees have inevitably fallen too.
Meanwhile it has also taken charges after making acquisitions, only to see their assets fall, and for losses on investing in its own funds.
Back when the hedge fund industry was barely into its 20s, numbered just 150 funds and managed all of $1 billion, you might have thought times were simpler; untroubled by the kinds of questions and concerns that now dominate after a turbulent year.
Browsing through a 1969 article in Fortune magazine by Carol J Loomis you could be forgiven for concluding the industry has barely moved on. If the last year has seen the painful payback from a frantic pursuit of returns, then so it was 1969.