Unstructured Finance

When it comes to its hedge funds, Goldman is on the CAIS

By Katya Wachtel

Goldman Sachs’s own hedge fund product  — like the now defunct Global Alpha — is generally reserved for the checkbooks of the investment bank’s wealth management clients. But not always.

For investors looking to get a piece of a Goldman hedge fund for a discount (and without having to actually be a Goldman private wealth customer) the investment bank is offering one of its commodity-focused hedge funds on a third party platform: CAIS.

CAIS Group, which opened its doors in 2009, already offers its customers an entree to brand name managers including John Paulson’s eponymous hedge fund, and Daniel Loeb’s Third Point.  The platform also includes John Thaler’s JAT Capital — one of 2011′s standout performers — on its shelf.

Now, according to a regulatory filing from March 12, CAIS Group clients also have access to the Goldman Commodity Opportunities Fund (the underlying fund of which was launched in 2007). The minimum investment in the CAIS fund is $100,000, according to the filing. As of March 12, $7,265,000 had been raised.

While Goldman’s asset management division, better known as GSAM, has offered some proprietary product on third party platforms over the past 10 years, it is not something the bank does often, said several people familiar with Goldman’s structured product, including former employees.

Risk Management: Did fund managers learn their lesson?

By Detlef Glow, Head of EMEA Research at Lipper. The views expressed are his own.

In the last decade investors and fund managers faced two major crises in the stock markets, the popping of the technology bubble in 2001 and financial crisis starting in 2006.

Portfolio managers suffered average losses of about 50 percent in the wake of both crises, leading investors to question what their fund managers learned.

That’s all folks

The mood at this year’s Fund Forum, if not exactly upbeat, has been less sombre than last year’s introspective summit, with a few more cocktail parties around the stands, but asset managers remain on the whole subdued.

The continuing market volatility has a lot to answer for, with renewed worries about a double-dip recession overshadowing events. But if nothing else, the recession has forced exhibitors in the Forum’s trade hall to be a bit more imaginative in their freebies this year.

Service provider Bowne had some intriguing foldaway brushes and brightly coloured baggage tags that attracted many a delegate whilst the return of an ice cream cabinet went down a storm in the oppressive heat.

General Growth battle intensifies

The battle for control of General Growth, owner of shopping centers across America, continues, as it  weighs two rival offers.

General Growth, which is trying to exit bankruptcy, will consider at a board meeting Thursday whether to postpone a key court hearing set for Friday as it continues talks with suitors Simon Property and Brookfied Asset Management.

It has asked Simon to increase its $5.8 billion bid. General Growth may also come back with a new counter0ffer on antitrust issues that could arise from a merger of the two largest U.S. mall owners.

Piggy in the middle

Piggy picFitch’s annual review of the European asset management industry dished out some home truths for fund firms hoping they can begin to put that horrible financial crisis behind them.

Unveiling highlights from Fitch’s upcoming report at a briefing this week, Manuel Arrive, a senior director at Fitch Ratings, said he expects assets under management to rise more slowly and pressure on revenues to continue as investors shift to lower margin products.  “Asset managers remain vulnerable to a renewed market downturn,” he said.

Asset managers slashed costs by between 10 and 15 percent through the recession and Arrive said they could not reduce costs further without compromising their franchises. Those who weathered the downturn the best tended to be the big diversified managers and specialists with good track records in the asset classes that were in demand.