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AllAboutAlpha: Alternative Investing Trends and Analysis



A finance blog about private equity, commodities, and other alternative asset classes.



Last Build Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:07:21 +0000

 



Selecting an Optimal Private Equity Fee Validation Methodology
By Alex Tarantino These are good times to be a private equity fund investor.  Returns have been strong with distributions on the rise, both in the U.S. and Europe. Limited partners, for their part, have voted with their wallets that the asset class will continue to outperform. Indeed, fundraising continuesRead More



Advice to Hedge Fund Managers on Attracting, Retaining Investors
Ernst & Young has released a new survey on how hedge fund managers may “embrace innovation to illuminate competitive advantages,” that is, to attract and retain investors and their assets. Manager may need such advice, because the investors surveyed said they are more likely to decrease allocations to hedge fundsRead More



Amato on the Late-Cycle Dilemma
Joseph V. Amato, president of Neuberger Berman Group LLC and Chief Investment Officer – Equities at Neuberger Berman, has written a thoughtful discussion of late about where the markets, and the business cycle, stands. This, the end of 2017, is a “late cycle” moment. Equities continue to rise, but theRead More



HEDGE FUND FACTOR EXPOSURE & ALTERNATIVES
By Nicolas Rabener, FactorResearch Alternatives to Alternative Investments? Summary: Equity hedge fund returns have been disappointing over the last 14 years An exposure analysis shows no structural factor exposure, but frequent factor rotation Multi-factor long-short products are an interesting alternative, depending on the fee level INTRODUCTION Hedge fund assets reachedRead More



4 Lessons from the EQT Proxy Context
D.E. Shaw & Co., a hedge fund manager with an activist strategy and with about 4% of the equity in EQT Corp., said on September 14 that it thought the then-pending acquisition of Rice Energy Inc (RICE) by EQT should be contingent on two commitments: first, that EQT would mergeRead More



Hedge Fund Fees Are Only Half the Problem
By Ben McMillan Hedge funds talk big about returns. Historically, successful managers have claimed credit for the favorable risk/return profiles of their funds, touting skilled security selection and portfolio management as a competitive edge. But the advent of investible benchmarks for a number of hedge fund strategies prove there’s moreRead More



Adding Some Contrarianism to the Momentum Strategy
A scholar in Moscow, at National Research University Higher School of Economics, has proposed a trading strategy that combines ‘momentum’ and “contrarian’ strategies in a way that, this scholar believes, could reap the upsides of both. The scholar, Victoria Dobrynskaya, assistant professor of finance, says that momentum strategies do produceRead More



Algorithmic Traders: Proprietary, Agency, Liquidity
Two scholars affiliated with the Indian Institute of Management, in Calcutta, have posted a paper about the effects of algorithmic trading on liquidity. This paper, by Samarpan Nawn and Ashok Banerjee, based on the first chapter of Nawn’s Ph.D. dissertation, distinguishes sharply between proprietary algorithmic traders and agency algorithmic traders,Read More



Due Diligence Requires Deep Dives into Data
The data and analysis provider eVestment has issued a new white paper on “enhancing private equity manager selection with deeper data.” PE funds below the top quartile have not materially outperformed the public markets as a matter of history. So for an institutional investor, earning alpha is in large measureRead More



Endowment costs: The secret history
By Charles Skorina In early 2016 certain Congressional committees sent letters to 65 major private universities asking for information about their endowments.  They supposedly had an urgent need for this data and gave the schools just 30 days to respond. It was worded as a polite request, but it cameRead More



Lazard Research on Smart Beta
Jason Williams, senior vice president at Lazard Asset Management, has written a white paper on the “six sins of smart beta.” First: what is smart beta? Academic studies indicate anomalies in the markets that somehow don’t get arbitraged away.  These become identified as “factors” and indexes can be designed soRead More



Federal Reserve on Counterparties to the next Lehman Brothers
The Federal Reserve has issued a final rule relating to the qualified financial contracts (QFCs) of global systemically important U.S. banking institutions (GSIBs). Derivatives & Repo Report, a blog maintained by the international law firm Perkins Coie, has done a thorough write-up on the subject, to which the material belowRead More



FACTOR RETURNS: SMALL VS. LARGE CAPS
By Nicolas Rabener, FactorResearch Are Factor Returns Limited to Small Caps? Summary: A frequent criticism of factor investing is that factor returns are stronger in small caps; Our research highlights that this is not uniformly true across factors; and Value and Size benefit most from including small caps. INTRODUCTION FactorRead More



Are Clearinghouses Systemically Risky? Gary Cohn is Heard From
Economists sometimes cite a “law of unintended consequences.” This is what it sounds like, the principle that actions of people, inclusive of and perhaps (depending on who is writing) especially the actions of a government, have unanticipated and (as far as third party observers can judge intentions) unintended consequences. InRead More



China and a Reduced Form Bayesian VAR
What the heck does the forbidding phrase “reduced form Bayesian VAR” mean? Let’s break this down. The VAR in question isn’t VaR (Value at Risk). It’s Vector Autoregression. This is a stochastic process model employed to understand the linear dependences among multiple time series. Each variable in a VAR hasRead More



EC and US CFTC Reach Agreement on Venues
The European Commission and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission have agreed on a “common approach on certain derivatives trading venues.” The idea is that parties in the U.S. should be able to do business with counter-parties in Europe in such a way that the latter comply with Article 28Read More



DTCC: How to Think About Fintech
The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), a provider of clearance, settlement, and a wide range of other services to the financial markets, has issued a new white paper on technological innovations and the disruptions fintech may generate. The report begins with a quotation from a speech given by LaelRead More



AIMA’s New Due Diligence Template
It has been 20 years since the Alternative Investment Management Association published its first due diligence questionnaire, a template designed to standardize the diligence process by which investors decide if a particular management is right for them. Now it has published a new questionnaire/template, covering a broader range of entities/strategies.Read More



EIU on Institutions and Time Horizons
With the  sponsorship of Franklin Templeton, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)  has surveyed  143 investing institutions in North America (part of the global sample of 571) in order to study recent shifts in their portfolio allocation, especially with an eye to the risks that concern them and the length ofRead More



Outsourced assets under management up 18% year-over-year
By Charles Skorina With 76 firms heard from, we’re now reporting $1.62 trillion in full-discretion assets under management by outsourced chief investment officer firms. That’s a year-over-year jump of $292 billion – or 18 percent – since September, 2016. The number of reported RFPs is also rising as institutions seek better returnsRead More



International Debt Enforcement: Nautical Twists and Turns
Since sovereign debts and collection issues we shall always have with us, it is not amiss to look back four years to a decision by the Supreme Court of Ghana issued in June 2013, on NML Capital’s effort to enforce its judgment against the Republic of Argentina through the seizureRead More



TALK FOR SHOW, BLOG FOR DOUGH
By Diane Harrison Despite being overused in finance, the golfing analogy ‘Drive for show, putt for dough’ bears relevance in alternative investments. While the bigger, flashier managers in alternatives often garner the most media and investor attention, smaller managers have a real chance to exhibit their investment acumen through theRead More



Private Credit Industry: Supply and Demand
The Alternative Credit Council, an affiliate of the Alternative Investment Management Association, has put out a paper on the present state of the private credit industry, considering both the demand (from borrowers) for its services and the supply (from investors) of capital to lend. In preparing this paper, the ACCRead More



EDHEC, New Research, and Hyper-illiquid Assets
The EDHEC Infrastructure Institute – Singapore has published a new paper describing what it calls the “very first results of an ambitious project to create investment benchmarks for long-term investors in infrastructure.” The Institute is host to a dedicated team, who for years now have been collecting and aggregating primaryRead More



Alpha Generation and Real-Time Data
In a recent paper, Michael W. Brandt and two colleagues look into whether hedge funds “adjust the conditional market exposure in response to real-time changes in macroeconomic conditions, and whether doing so improves their performance.” The paper is a short one but it may punch above its weight in severalRead More



The State of Alternative Investments in Australia and New Zealand 
A new Preqin paper presents the state of the alternatives investment industry in Australia and New Zealand. Mark O’Hare, the CEO of Preqin, says in a Foreword that Preqin’s databases track 481 fund managers active in one or the other of those two countries, and 443 “significant institutional investors” TheRead More



Performance of SRIs: Funds and Indexes
A new paper by Giuseppe Risalvato, a Ph.D. candidate at Università Carlo Cattaneo, Italy, contends that there is no “ethical sacrifice” in investing. That is, there is no discount that investors who want to be socially responsible will have to pay for that choice. Risalvato makes two chief theoretical argumentsRead More



Alternative Investments in Target Date Funds
Vanguard, the manager of about 370 low cost traditional funds and ETFs, and an institution famously associated with low cost retail investing, has made public a new paper on the inclusion of alternative investments in target date funds. It isn’t enamored of the idea. Target date funds (TDFs), otherwise knownRead More



The Function of the High-Watermark: Not What You Think
A new paper in the Journal of Accounting and Finance discusses hurdle rates and high watermarks, and how they affect, or at least correlate with, performance. A hurdle rate is a minimum contractually specified rate of return that a hedge fund must achieve in order to collect performance fees. ARead More



AIMA and SGPS on Managed Futures and CTAs
The Alternative Investment Management Association and Societe Generale Prime Services have together put out a white paper about managed futures funds and the commodity trading advisers who manage them. A key themes of the paper is that managed futures strategies aren’t as risky as are typical investments in equity markets.Read More



Cautious Numbers Estimates: A Comparative Look
On August 29, we at AllAboutAlpha ran a summary of the latest Eurekahedge report, saying that total hedge fund industry assets around the globe were $2.33 trillion, and that this figure was up by $108.6 billion over the first seven months of 2017. We heard soon thereafter from a readerRead More



Hedge Fund Activism: The Facts Don’t Bear Out the Dire Warnings
Lucian Bebchuk, a professor at Harvard Law, has been at the heart of scholarly arguments over corporate governance for a long time, perhaps since 1990, the year he edited a textbook on Corporate Law and Economic Analysis. That was also the year Bebchuk, along with Marcel Kahan, authored a seminalRead More



SUNY Scholars: Hedge Funds are Smart about PIPES
Two scholars affiliated with the State University of New York at Albany recently looked into the roles of hedge funds in corporate misreporting. Specifically, they used a database of PIPE issuers. The resulting paper, by Na Dai (Associate Professor of Finance at SUNY) and Alfred Zhu Liu (Assistant Professor ofRead More



Barnes on Swaps Transparency under  MiFID II
A recent blog in the TABB Forum, by Chris Barnes of Clarus Financial Technology, looks at recent developments in the realm of MiFID, and looks forward. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in August of this year authorized certain Approved Publication Arrangements (APAs) for reporting under MiFID II.  The authorization ofRead More



A PRACTICUM FOR AUM
By Diane Harrison There’s no denying that one of the biggest challenges small managers face is raising capital. To become large enough to turn a profit and expand is a common migraine that keeps emerging managers up at night. Forget fretting over last quarter’s performance: most of these managers obsessRead More



Aon: Alternative Risk Premia Viable for Many
A new report from Aon discusses the contemporary market for alternative risk premia: where it is, how it got here; where it may be headed. The authors, Matthew Towsey and Chris Walvoord, begin with some very basic considerations of what ‘risk premia’ are. They are, on the one hand, theRead More



A Call to Norway to Invest in Renewables
A new paper from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis looks at Norway’s pension fund, which is now in the process of increasing its investment in stock from 62.5% of the portfolio to 70%. The total portfolio value is now $7.5 trillion NOK, or about US $976 billion.Read More



Below the Black: A Review of Risk Reduction Strategies
Excerpted from the Alternative Investment Analyst Review, Volume 1, Issue 4 The Alternative Investment Analyst Review is the official publication of the CAIA Association. Access to the most current issue is an exclusive benefit of CAIA Membership while archived issues are available to the public in the Perspectives section atRead More



M&F Worldwide: Not Just for Squeeze Outs Anymore
In 2014, hearing litigation over the fate of M&F Worldwide, the Delaware Supreme Court set out rules as to what a controlling shareholder has to do in order to keep his/its decisions within the safe domain of the “business judgment rule.” Last month, in a decision that may be ofRead More



Paying the Top Guns of Institutional Investing
By Charles Skorina Last month in Part One of this report we focused on relative performance.  We ranked 107 CIOs by trailing 5-year returns. Now, we focus on how much institutions pay these excellent people. The bare comp numbers lead us to the tricky and perennial question of whether their payRead More



Wide Range of Investors Has Wide Range of Opinions on their Managers
Intralinks, in partnership with Global Fund Media, has surveyed the opinions of limited partners: they’ve been asking LPs what they think about their GPs/managers in the alternative investment context. The bottom line of the survey is that LPs are looking in the near future to increase their allocations in alternatives.Read More



Sovereign Wealth Funds: Partners and Capability
Sometimes it pays to read footnotes and end matter, because that turns out to be where the story is. Bocconi University’s Sovereign Investment Lab has published its latest annual report on sovereign wealth funds, and this gives us a case in point. The report says that 2016 was far fromRead More



The Consequences of Auditing the Auditors
Nemit Shroff, an associate professor of accounting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, has written a study of the consequences of auditing for the auditees. He has concluded that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) “adds significant value to the financial reporting process,” with aRead More



Investor Sentiment: Fees, Redemptions, Structures
Credit Suisse, in its new report on its mid-year survey of hedge fund investor sentiment, says that there is “continued appetite to allocate to hedge funds” and that there is increased interest, especially, in quantitative strategies. Specifically, 81% of investors say that they will likely make allocations to hedge fundsRead More



High-Frequency Trading and Spoofing   
Six years ago Michael Coscia placed orders through the CME Group’s Globex platform via a trading algorithm that amounted to “spoofing.” He placed both large and small orders in the copper market, for example, with the large orders (cancelled within milliseconds) designed to create the illusion of market movement inRead More



Eurekahedge Reports: Total Industry Assets Stand at $2.33 Trillion
Eurekahedge’s August report says that the Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index grew by 0.88% in July 2017, while the underlying markets represented by the MSCI World Index grew by 1.64%. For June, overall, managers reported performance based losses of $8.4 billion, so that the industry growth was due entirely to netRead More



Can We All Participate in The Next Unicorn?
Excerpted from the Alternative Investment Analyst Review, Volume 6, Issue 1 The Alternative Investment Analyst Review is the official publication of the CAIA Association. Access to the most current issue is an exclusive benefit of CAIA Membership while archived issues are available to the public in the Perspectives section atRead More



NEPC Surveys E&F Managers About Alternative Investments
NEPC, the investment consulting group that caters especially to endowments and foundations, has posted a survey about what such institutions think of marketable alternatives. This broad category “marketable alternatives” includes direct hedge funds, funds of hedge funds, liquid alternatives, and global asset allocation. Eighty-seven percent of the E&F respondents inRead More



Transparency in Alternative Investing
In February of this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 200 senior asset managers and institutional investor executives to learn what factors are most important in the way they make their decisions. Several different types of institution were involved, including hedge funds, private equity firms, insurance companies, and nonprofits. Also,Read More



SITUATIONAL AWARENESS: INVESTMENT PERSPECTIVE INTENSIFIED
By Diane Harrison Situational awareness means honing your ability to analyze the surrounding environment as an automatic practice while carrying on regular activities. The U.S. Coast Guard defines situational awareness as the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening with regards toRead More



Jacobs, Levy, and Markowitz on Portfolios
Bruce Jacobs and Kenneth Levy, the founders and Chief Investment Officers of Jacobs Levy Equity Management, have brought out a new and considerably thickened edition of their classic collection of articles on equity investment. This second edition of Equity Management contains all 15 articles from the original, and 24 ofRead More



Risk Parity: Is it a Strategy for a Sprint or a Marathon?
Excerpted from the Alternative Investment Analyst Review, Volume 1, Issue 4 The Alternative Investment Analyst Review is the official publication of the CAIA Association. Access to the most current issue is an exclusive benefit of CAIA membership, while archived issues are available to the public in the Perspectives section atRead More



Half-Time Report on PwC’s Vision for Asset Management
Three years ago PwC published a paper on what they expect the asset management world will look like in 2020 – which is, as it happens, three years from now. We have reached the half-point in the hypothetical timeline. Much in the report still holds up, though of course itRead More



Blockchains, Innovations, and Intermediaries
A new paper by Wulf A. Kaal, an Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, looks at the proliferation of blockchain-related innovations in the world of private investment funds. In an earlier paper, Kaal discussed the impact this is having on the fee structure of that industry.Read More



Build Value: Don’t Just Meet Quarterly Targets!
FCLT Global, a new not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote long-term thinking in business and finance, has issued a manifesto, “Rising to the Challenge of Short-Termism.” The paper was written by Dominic Barton, Jonathan Bailer, and Joshua Zoffer. Each is affiliated with McKinsey & Company, which is one of theRead More



Boston College’s CRR on Alternatives in Pension Portfolios
The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has put out a white paper about public pensions and alternative investments.  It asks two questions: which plans have made the largest shift into alternatives? And, how has that shift mattered to their returns and risk? The report begins with the observationRead More



Real Estate Tops the Willis Alternative Investment League Table
Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) recently posted its Global Alternatives Survey. WLTW is a consultancy with a long history, roots going back to 1828, and that now has 40,000 employees serving clients in 140 countries. The gist of its new report is that the alternatives asset industry has grown toRead More



Networks, Modeling, and Funds of Funds
Two scholars affiliated with FERI Trust, a leading investment manager of the German-speaking countries of Europe, have written a study of hedge fund strategies that uses a “network-based analysis” thereof. The two authors, Eduard Baitinger and Thomas Maier, argue that hedge fund strategies show “numerous network-based properties” which help explainRead More



Boom or Bust? Are Advisors Ready For Baby Boomers To Retire?
By Diane Harrison According to US census figures, Baby Boomers (defined as those born between 1946 and 1964) represent about 28% of the US population in 2017, and are currently between 53 and 71 years old. Give or take an error margin of several thousand, this translates to about 76Read More



A Simple Approach to the Management of Endowments
By Hossein Kazemi & Kathryn Wilkens, CAIA Endowments and foundations are tax exempt and charitable organizations that rely on permanent pools of capital to fund their activities. These pools of capital are owned by institutions such as colleges, universities, hospitals, museums, scientific organizations, charitable entities, and religious institutions. When well-fundedRead More



Til and Heckinger on Commodity Debacles, Part II
A new paper available at SSRN looks at two infamous commodity industry melt-downs: Amaranth and MF Global. It offers a diagnosis of each. The paper is co-authored by Hilary Till, of EDHEC – Risk, and Richard Heckinger, of the Working Group on Financial Markets, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. InRead More



Til and Heckinger on Commodity Debacles, Part I
A new paper available at SSRN looks at two infamous commodity industry melt-downs: Amaranth and MF Global. It offers a diagnosis of each. Hilary Till, of the EDHEC – Risk Institute, and Richard Heckinger, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, share the by-line. They acknowledge research assistance from KatherineRead More



KPMG: Alternative Investment Industry Deal Momentum Continues
The auditing giant KPMG says in a recent report on merger and acquisition activity in the alternative asset management world that there was a dip in activity in this space in 2015, that there was a rebound “to more normalized levels” in 2016, and that the momentum off of thatRead More



An Alternative Approach to Responsible Investing
On May 18, 2017, CAIA’s Boston Chapter held a panel discussion at the InterContinental Boston on “An Alternative Approach to Responsible Investing.” Moderated by Bill Kelly, CEO, CAIA Association, panelists included leading ESG investing experts Tim Brennan, Treasurer & CFO, Unitarian Universalist Association; Jeff Finkelman, CFA, Research Associate, Impact Investments,Read More



Hedge Fund Gigantism is Not Necessary
A joint survey by the Alternative Investment Management Association and GPP, the financial services firm formerly known as Global Prime Partners, disaggregates the hedge fund industry by size. It finds that the dynamics of the smallest (emerging-funds) sector looks very different once the “billion dollar club” and even the medium-sizedRead More



Hedge Funds in the United Kingdom
Just prior to the June 8 election in the UK this year, Preqin took a look at the state of the hedge fund industry there. Interest in this subject matter is high for the alternative industry globally, given London’s centrality and the great deal that is riding on how theRead More



AIMA Gets Its Groove On: Two New Guides
The Alternative Investment Management Association, the global AI industry group, has been busy of late. Its recent publications include a Best Execution Guide for the European Union’s revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID 2) and a guide to fund administration. Fund Administration The AIMA guide on fund administration reworksRead More



Lessons from University Endowments
In a recent article for The Journal of Investment Consulting, John Mulvey and Margaret Holen look at the practice of asset allocation among large U.S. university endowments. They focus on asset category definitions in the hope of throwing some light on “the movement to define asset categories with reference toRead More



Brief Thoughts on the Impacts of Autonomous Learning Investment Strategies on Investment Management and Employment
By Michael Weinberg, CFA In our thought piece, “The Intelligent Investor in an Era of Autonomous Learning,” we explained why we believe the investment world will be transmogrified by Autonomous Learning Investment Strategies (ALIS).  In this brief follow-up, we will address a question that many of our investors and othersRead More



Preqin and NXT Capital on the Filling of a Post-GFC Vacuum
Preqin, in collaboration with NXT Capital, has surveyed institutional investors about the U.S. lower middle-market direct lending space, and has issued a report on their attitudes. The gist of the report is that investor appetite for the lower middle market “has steadily gained momentum in the past decade and …Read More



A Critique of the Listed Infrastructure Sector
A new study by EDHECinfra (EDHEC’s infrastructure institute based in Singapore), has a striking point of view on the whole “listed infrastructure” sector, which it says is based on the “fallacy of composition.” In economics and in logic, the term “fallacy of composition” refers to the general prejudice that ifRead More



Skin in the Game: Testing a Cliché
One of the most well-worn clichés in the hedge fund industry is the phrase “skin in the game.” Investors want managers who have “skin in the game,” that is, managers who risk/hedge their own money the same way they are risking/investing their outside investors’ money. A recent paper by ArpitRead More



Real Estate: A Global Outlook
PWC and the Urban Land Institute have jointly issued a report on “emerging trends in real estate” around the globe, which stresses that real estate’s attraction as an investment, even as a cross-border investment, has held up notwithstanding unprecedented levels of concern about geopolitics. The “global drift back to domesticRead More



The 100+ Top Guns of Institutional Investing
By Charles Skorina This letter looks at the most recent five-year performance of over one hundred of the world’s best institutional investors. Endowment chief investment officers have an infinite investment horizon, a global playing field, and can invest in anything anywhere – within the broad policy limits set by theirRead More



Pensions: On Mortality and Long-Duration Corporate Bonds
Milliman, an actuarial and consulting firm headquartered in Seattle, has completed a white paper on corporate pension funding based on its 17th annual analysis of the disclosures of the “Milliman 100,” that is, of the 100 biggest corporate defined benefit plan sponsors in the U.S. The funded ratio of theseRead More



Alternative Risk Premia Investing
Unigestion has posted a research paper by Olivier Blin, Joan Lee, and Jérôme Teiletche, on “some of the practical considerations that should help investors get the most out of their allocation to” alternative risk premia (ARP) strategies. Unigestion is a boutique asset manager, and Blin is its head of crossRead More



Accounting Issues and Investing in Timberland
On May 3, 2017, Ernst & Young made available the bullet points for a presentation on the “accounting, financial reporting, and regulatory considerations” affecting investment vehicles in this space. Mark to market or historic cost In general, the presentation says, the accounting treatment depends on where on a spectrum ofRead More



Wine: French Producers, U.S. Consumers, the World’s Investors        
Agrifrance recently posted a report looking at the French wine industry, with an especial focus on export to the United States. The U.S. “has been the world’s leading wine market by value since 2013,” says the company head, Benoit Léchenault, in a preface to the report. France is the secondRead More



Timberland Investors See 0% Growth Rate for Harvesting Costs
Today, we’ll look at  KPMG’s effort to determine who exactly the investors in timberland are, what their underwriting assumptions are, and what are their expectations for the coming 12 months. The firms surveyed included North America’s timberland investment market participants with five different structures: appraisal or consulting organizations; integrated forestRead More



New Numbers on Catastrophe Bond Insurance
A new report from an Alternative Risk Transfer research service, Artemis, looks at the catastrophe bond and insurance-linked securities market in the (recor- breaking) first quarter of 2017. Bond and ILS issuance reached the unprecedented level of $2.76 billion this Q1. That involved 25 tranches of notes from 14 deals,Read More



THE BOOK TOUR APPROACH TO LAUNCHING A NEW FUND
By Diane Harrison The only thing harder than running a successful alternatives fund is launching it. Getting noticed in the crowded and naturally skeptical alternatives market can be a Herculean feat without a plan of implementation.  It goes without saying that having a great investment strategy, financial backing, and well-craftedRead More



New Technologies Adding to Pressure on Fees
A new paper proposes that emerging technologies (blockchains, Big Data and artificial intelligence) have increased pressure on the traditional hedge fund fee structure of 2 + 20. Its author is Wulf A. Kaal, an Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas and director of the Private Investment Fund Institute.Read More



Sovereign Funds: Illiquidity and Transparency
News reports in the waning days of the second quarter of 2017 indicate that sovereign wealth funds, especially those of the Middle East, have turned in a big way toward real estate. Invesco says that the region’s SWFs allocated 11% of their portfolios to international real property in 2016. RealRead More



Do Teachers Pensions Need Trumpian Negotiators?
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has issued a lengthy rebuke to and critique of the fee structure of the alternatives investment industry; in a position paper it calls The Big Squeeze. Should the title be considered obscure, the subtitle is clearer about the paper’s thesis, “How Money Managers’ FeesRead More



Venture Capital Top 100 List(s): GP and LP
Preqin has named its top 100 Venture Capital firms, ordered by the amount of capital each firm has raised in the last 10 years. The top 10, with their headquarters city, are as follows: Tiger Global Management, New York New Enterprise Associates, Menlo Park Sequoia Capital, Menlo Park DST Global,Read More



Growth and Challenges for Asset Management in Italy
A recent (May 2017) Deloitte white paper discussed asset management in Italy. The paper begins with the observation that key institutions in Italian finance have a relatively short history: going no further back than the mists of the 1990s. The Società di Intermediazione Mobiliare (SIM) – literally, the phrase meansRead More



What They’re Saying About Smart Beta, Tactics, and Strategy
For four years now, FTSE Russell has surveyed global institutions, asking about their interest in smart beta indexes and about their allocations to investable products based on same. The 2017 survey results are in. The new survey finds (as did the earlier ones) that risk reduction, return enhancement, and improvedRead More



Pension Funds’ Portfolio Decisions: The Dutch Data
DeNederlandscheBank (DNB) issued a working paper this spring about the impact of liquidity and capital constraints on defined benefit pension plans. The paper has three authors, Dirk Broeders, Kristy Jansen, and Bas Werker. The first named author, Broeders, is the only one formally affiliated with DNB. The others are affiliatedRead More



Institutions that Integrate ESG Considerations: 6 Types
A new white paper from the Investor Responsibility Research Center (the IRRC Institute) in conjunction with Sustainalytics looks at the various approaches that investors, institutional investors in particular, might and do take to integrate ESG issues into their portfolio decisions. Specifically, the IRRC and Sustainalytics, two Manhattan-based research groups longRead More



Leading the charge into OCIO battlespace: 2 Harvardians invent an industry
By Charles Skorina In 1973, two former Harvard roommates and budding entrepreneurs – Jim Bailey and Hunter Lewis – took on an assignment to review the investments held in their school’s endowment. Things were very different back then.  A treasurer of the Harvard Corporation with the wonderfully Bostonian name ofRead More



New Zealand PE and VC Activity on the rise
An increase in total buy-out investments proved a big factor in the growth through 2016 of the private equity and venture capital market in New Zealand. A new report looks at this growth and concludes that fund-raising activity there has reached a milestone, hitting again a levels not seen sinceRead More



Lawsuit in California, Survey in Europe: On ETF Managers and Investors
Late last year a California state court found that the plaintiffs in a class action suit stated a cause of action when they alleged that the defendant, iShares Trust, had failed to disclose the material risk of using market or stop loss orders in connection with ETFs. This spring theRead More



BIS Numbers and the Market for Forex NDFs
A little over a year ago, the Bank for International Settlements announced its 11th Triennial Central Bank Survey of Foreign Exchange and Over the Counter Derivatives Market Activity. In recent days, Pragma Securities has referenced those BIS numbers in explaining the market for its latest service, an expansion of PragmaRead More



How Do They Get Those Non-Correlated Returns?
In a recent paper Mark Shore, of Shore Capital Management, has discussed overlaying of strategies in managed futures, saying that it is something he covers in his course on managed futures at DePaul, but that in general it “is not discussed as much as it should be.” Behind that question,Read More



Broad Commodities: Value, Inflation, Implementation
ETF Securities (US) LLC, a New York-based asset manager and manufacturer of ETP’s (Exchange Traded Products),” has issued a white paper written by its Director, Investment Strategy, (Maxwell Gold), on “broad commodities,” that is, on the use of a broad basket of commodities, as a way of allowing an investor’sRead More



The Intelligent Use of Smart Beta     
This is the first of a series of articles on smart beta. By Scott Opsal, The Leuthold Group Understanding Factor Returns And Market Conditions Quantitative investing has become an integral component of professional investment management, and smart beta funds have become popular vehicles for advisors as they assemble actively-managed clientRead More



Marketplace Lending: Just Because I’m Disruptive Doesn’t Mean We Can’t Be Friends!
Mark Shore, chief research officer of Shore Capital Research, and an adjunct professor at DePaul University, has prepared an “overview” of marketplace lending for institutional investors and wealth managers. The practice under discussion is also known as peer-to-peer, or even in these character economizing days as P2P, lending. Shore explainsRead More



Evidence that Sovereign Wealth Funds Mitigate the Agency Problem
Ever since the 1930s, scholars have discussed the “agency problem” built into the structure of publicly owned corporations. This was a theme of Ronald Coase’s landmark article, “The nature of the firm” in 1937. Shareholders presumably want a company managed in a way that maximizes their – the shareholders’ –Read More



First Quarter: An Industry Recovers From a Dry Spell
Preqin’s review of the hedge fund space in the first quarter of 2017 describes the quarter as a time of “return to form” after a dry spell. Two thirds of the investors interviewed by Preqin at the end of 2016 had said that their hedge fund investments had failed toRead More



Making a Case: Divestiture is the Wrong Tool Re Climate Risk
Sarah Bernstein, of the Pension Consulting Alliance, has prepared a discussion paper for the benefit of the Vermont Pension Investment Committee, on climate risk divestment.  Specifically, Bernstein wrote in reply to a request from the VPIC to examine three divestment tracks of common intent but differing levels of generality:  thermalRead More