Money managers under the microscope
from Global Investing:
Just how much have world stocks suffered in the past year or so? Try this. According to the World Federation of Exchanges, the market capitalisation of global stock markets has halved. It was $63 trillion in October 2007. At the end of January this year it was only $31 trillion.
It has all been more furious than most people can recall as well. When the internet-stock bubble burst at the beginning of this decade, MSCI's all-country world stock index lost around 51 percent of its value from peak to trough. In the latest drop, the index fell 58 percent from an all-time high in November 2007 to a new cycle low yesterday.
And it has been fast. The internet-stock bubble decline took slightly more than 30 months. The current fall has taken only 16 months.
Shorting UK banks, it seems, is so last year.
Having profited from the implosion of the sector in 2008, many funds believe prices have fallen far enough, and in some cases are actually looking good value.
Outspoken star fund manager Crispin Odey this week revealed he’s now buying UK banks, having made money shorting them last year.
And in his latest letter to investors, Hendry has smartly rebuffed any attempt to ‘save’ him from his bond investments.
There seems to be an endless wave of bad news hitting the hedge fund industry at the moment — gates and suspensions, record poor performance, the Bernard Madoff scandal and so forth – but there are still one or two reasons to be positive.
According to a survey of institutional investors by alternative assets data group Preqin, conducted in January (and therefore after the alleged Madoff fraud came to light), only 8 percent said they were no longer confident about hedge funds and would reduce investments.
It was the outcome most commentators were expecting.
But the defeat for hedge funds RAB Capital and SRM Global and other former shareholders claiming damages for the loss of their holdings in Northern Rock when it was nationalised last year is nevertheless a hard blow to bear.
But one top hedge fund manager believes that equities could soon be heading for a very sharp rally.
Cazenove’s Neil Pegrum — whose fund made 9.4 percent last year while markets were plummeting — believes UK equities could soon be enjoying a “March 2003″ rally.
Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive, wrote Scottish novelist Sir Walter Scott, and anyone looking into the alleged Madoff fraud may well understand what he means.
Funds, advisors, auditors, fund administrators and custodians are looking around nervously and trying to understand whether they are likely to face lawsuits. Some are pre-empting that by taking out lawsuits themselves.
from Global Investing:
Wealth managers at Citi Private Bank are telling their clients to stay neutral in their exposure to hedge funds at the moment, whether the strategy be event driven, equity long/short or macro. The main reason is that capital markets are still stressed and many hedge funds still need to deleverage.
The firm points out, however, that hedge funds had a good news-bad news kind of year in 2008. Based on the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index, it was the worst performance on record. The index lost 23.3 percent. Its next worst performance was 2002 -- and that was only a 1.5 percent decline.