Money managers under the microscope
Hedge funds’ awful performance figures have been splashed all over the media for some time, but the effect this is having on the funds themselves could potentially be of deeper concern to investors.
According to a report by Moody’s, entitled “Market turmoil increases stress on hedge fund operations”, there are a multitude of potential dangers to watch out for as fund performance deteriorates and cost pressures grow.
For example — some hedge funds keen to save the pennies have combined previously independent jobs such as fund manager and portfolio valuer, affecting the quality of its operations, says the report.
The higher likelihood of legal action by investors disappointed by poor returns, meanwhile, could take management’s eye off the ball and affect a fund’s operations.
Henderson’s purchase of struggling New Star looks a good way of quickly beefing up its falling hedge fund assets — at a time when the industry is seeing investors pull out their cash left, right and centre.
Henderson saw 400 million pounds in hedge fund outflows in the second half of 2008 — 100 million pounds in Q3 and 300 million pounds in Q4 — helping push assets down to 800 million pounds at the year-end.
from Global Investing:
Alain Grisay, the softly spoken CEO of F&C Investments, was in a wry humour at F&C’s annual press seminar for European journalists on Thursday.
Fresh from his bout with the UK’s Treasury Select Committee on the causes of the banking crisis, and enjoying a respectable set of fourth quarter figures, Grisay is in the rare position of having come through the storm with his house intact. “We have just gone through an unrequested market stress test that confirms our model works,” he said. “We were able to report resilient results for the year and took the market by surprise."
Two of the world’s biggest fund managers have decided that it may just not be worth their while being associated with running external fund of hedge fund businesses.
Hot on the heels of news that Barclays Global Investors is considering moving its first and only fund of hedge funds to its wealth management business comes news that State Street Global Advisors quietly wound down its own hedge fund unit State Street Capital Management at the end of 2007, which ran some $3 billion in assets.
We perhaps know already that 2008 was the worst year ever for FoHFs, and that cumulative losses reached an all-time high as the year ended with a Madoff-shaped bang. Fitch also raises a fear that managers have shared after imposing redemption restrictions on clients wanting to stash their cash under the proverbial mattress:
Tuesday’s Treasury Select Committee grilling of the hedge fund industry proved a lively affair (if somewhat hot in a crammed Westminster room), but you have to wonder how well diversified their choice of witnesses is.
As well as Chris Hohn, co-founder of TCI, the Committee picked BlackRock’s head of alternatives Douglas Shaw — a previous employee of TCI.
Tuesday’s grilling of UK hedge fund executives is likely to create plenty of noise but produce little in the way of new rules.
While media-shy TCI founder Chris Hohn and others will face tough questions from the Treasury Select Committee on financial stability, short-selling and other issues, it nevertheless seems that the pro-legislation lobby’s position may be weaker than it has been in recent years.
The due diligence, or lack of it, undertaken by investors has been one of the big talking points following the alleged fraud by U.S. financier Bernard Madoff.
But according to risk management firm Riskdata, the scandal could potentially have been spotted by (fairly complicated) statistical analysis.
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.