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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: Wed, 21 Feb 2018 17:48:44 +0000


What Family Offices Want From Alternative Investment Managers
By Diane Harrison Competition within the alternatives sector for family office investments is at an all-time high, as these investors get more comfortable with the range of assets available to them and their general understanding of alternatives rises. Fund managers want to win these wealthy investors over, but often findRead More

Eurekahedge: Greater China Mandates Pay Off for January
A new Index Flash Update from Eurekahedge says that hedge funds are off to a positive start to 2018. The industry globally gained 2.26% in January. Among developed world mandates, North American hedge funds were up 1.89%, followed by those of Japan and Europe, which gained 1.28% each. Higher numbersRead More

A Cautionary Tale
By Bill Kelly, CAIA Association CEO Shadow or not, the groundhog brought volatility out of its burrow on February 2nd, and it is safe to say that it will persist for a lot longer than the six weeks of additional winter in the Northeast part of the USA.  Along withRead More

PE Funds and the Causal Arrow
A new report published by the Copenhagen Business School looks into the consequence of private equity investment on an industry-by-industry basis. The authors find that “industries where private equity funds invest grow more quickly [than others] in terms of total production and employment, and appear less exposed to aggregate shocks.”Read More

Urgent vs. Important: Barriers to Digitization in Alternative Investing
KPMG International and CREATE-Research have jointly prepared a report about the digitization imperative for alternative investment management. The report includes within that term both hedge funds and private equity. Early on, its authors list eight key digital innovations that are reconstructing the industry: Application programming interfaces; cognitive technology and machineRead More

PE and VC Opportunities in 21st Century India
ARA Law, a firm based in Mumbai and Bangalore, India, has issued a paper on private equity and venture capital in that country. In a foreword, firm founder Rajesh N. Begur observes that there is a positive dynamic now at work in India’s economy, one that in his view “canRead More

Gold as a Strategic Asset
The World Gold Council has recently posted its analysis of the continued relevance of gold. As one might expect from the source, the WGC finds that gold is a strategic asset that can play several valuable roles in a portfolio. Toward this end, the paper offers a chart of gold’sRead More

SSGA on Smart Beta
State Street Global Advisers has put out a “Complete Guide to Smart Beta.” A preface by Lynn S. Blake explains that the focus of the paper is not on equity products but on “exciting new developments in the fixed income world.” Within that space, multi-factor strategies will proliferate going forward.Read More

S&P on Reading VIX
S&P Dow Jones Indices has put out a paper offering market participants without patience for “academic rigor” an accessible guide to the so-called “Fear Index,” the VIX, calculated from the prices of a specific basket of S&P options. The contributors to the paper are: Tim Edwards, S&P Global senior director,Read More

What about beta?
By Bill Kelly, CAIA Association CEO As the 2018 calendar turned to February, the long-anticipated volatility came back with a vengeance, but why were so many, so surprised.  As long-term investors, I point out what might be the obvious.  The first fissures of this new normal arrived on Friday Feb 2Read More

Introduction to Khosla Price Sensitivity RatioTM (KPSR)                    By Tanuj Khosla, CFA, CAIA, MBA A typical issue of a Eurobond in Asian bond markets follows the below mentioned steps: The bookrunners take a company on an investor ‘roadshow’ across different global locations including but not limited to Hong Kong, Singapore,Read More

Ceres Report Evaluates Value of Early-Stage Clean Energy
A recent publication from Ceres, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting sustainability as a goal in both investing and corporate governance, looks at the value that early-stage clean energy products offer venture capitalists. The publication is the work of a team of five “lead authors and key contributors,” including threeRead More

Unsophisticated Techniques of Equity Factor Investing Still Prevail
EDHEC Risk Institute, in collaboration with ERI Scientific Beta, surveyed 114 investment professionals between June and September 2017 about their motivation and interests with regard to equity factor strategies. It found that many, especially on the asset owners’ side of things, were strikingly distant from the state-of-the-art in analytical approachesRead More

Sovereign Wealth Funds, UN Goals, and Hedge Fund Fees
Dr. Rajiv Sharma has written an extensive literature review of “sovereign wealth funds’ investment in sustainable development sectors” for the UN sponsored high-level conference on Financing for Development. Sharma is research director, global projects center, at Stanford University. He writes in this review that there are “a number of issuesRead More

Muster Drill: To the Value Lifeboats
By Scott Opsal While we’re not calling for an imminent market top, we are keeping a diligent watch from the crow’s nest for signs of a coming market correction. Equity investors worried that there is a bear-shaped iceberg looming somewhere in 2018 should be evaluating defensive portfolio strategies that wouldRead More

The Rationality (or Otherwise) of Public Pension Fund Managers
A new research paper from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business discusses the rationality (or otherwise) of the return expectations of institutional investors, with especial reference to public pension funds. It finds that the returns that pension fund managers expect from their investments are extrapolated from the returns thoseRead More

What CTAs Think about Bitcoin Futures
A new BarclayHedge study indicates that the majority of commodity trading advisers surveyed are unenthusiastic about the new Bitcoin futures. Specifically, asked “do you consider Bitcoin futures to be a valuable/useful addition to a diversified futures portfolio?” nearly three quarters (73%) said “no.” The sample for this survey included firmsRead More

KPMG’s Report Cards on Real Assets
KPMG has posted a new paper looking at the role of real assets (defined as “anything where there is a tangible/physical asset being traded”) within a portfolio, with a focus on opportunities for U.K. based institutional investors, especially pension schemes. It begins with a brief survey of the field. RealRead More

Firms of the Near Future: Process and Product Innovators
Last summer the Boston Consulting Group put out a report on the global asset management industry, called “The Innovator’s Advantage.” The title was an allusion to a landmark 1997 book by Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma, which in turn was a forceful restatement of some old Schumpeterian ideas about theRead More

Aquila Asks: Who’s Afraid of Pricey Markets?
A new paper from Aquila Capital Group looks at managed futures, and makes the case that they offer investments tools with which one can achieve a “robust and diversifying risk/return profile.” The paper begins with the concerns many investors have at present. Record long bull markets, high asset prices, andRead More

By Diane Harrison With traditional stock markets offering robust gains in 2017 and looking poised to continue their attractiveness in 2018, investors need strong persuasion to shift their equity allocations elsewhere. Enter the latest media darling: cryptocurrencies. The alternatives news feeds are awash in stories extolling the meteoric rise ofRead More

Stockholder Inspection Rights Survive Challenge in Delaware
On December 29, 2017, the last business day of the expiring year, the Delaware Chancery Court, in a memorandum of opinion by Vice Chancellor Slights, upheld stockholders’ statutory books-and-records inspection rights against a defendant corporation that sought to invoke and considerably to widen the scope of the Delaware Supreme Court’sRead More

By Nicolas Rabener, FactorResearch From Theory to Reality Summary: Long-short multi-factor portfolios generate attractive returns before fees Post fees charged historically returns are much less attractive However, some fees in the long-short space are likely justified given higher complexity INTRODUCTION Reality is the murder of a beautiful theory by aRead More

Searching for the Right Infrastructure Manager: 3 Case Studies
A new paper from bfinance (an independent financial services consultancy headquartered in London) discusses the “dramatically different era” into which infrastructure investing has entered over the last two years. The paper, “DNA of a Manager Search: Infrastructure,” looks at three recent unlisted infrastructure searches, in order to glean some insightRead More

Principles, ESG, and Credit Risk
The UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), an initiative working to put into practice six principles on the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aspects of investment decisions, in partnership with the UNEP Finance Initiative and the UN Global Compact, has issued a paper on the credit ratings agencies and theirRead More

A Proposal for a Monthly Art Market Index
It has long been understood that ownership of works of art isn’t just a collection or a hobby, or a way to brighten up the walls of one’s home. It’s a portfolio decision. But it is a portfolio decision that involves non-fungible and very infrequently traded assets.  So: how doesRead More

Global Macro: Valuable for Institutional Portfolios
The Mekata Investment Group has published a white paper on global macro hedge funds, contending that a position in such a fund is a valuable defensive tool for an institution. Global Macros are valuable because they perform best during turbulent or volatile markets, which is when defense is most needed,Read More

Women on Boards: Different Markets, Different Trends
The latest MSCI “Women on Boards Progress Report” notes that the advancement of women onto corporate boards and into the corporate suites of corporations with global reach has been slow. Until recently, MSCI had anticipated that 30% of the company board seats on the MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI)Read More

Top Hedge Fund Industry Trends for 2018
By Don Steinbrugge Each year, Agecroft Partners predicts the top hedge fund industry trends stemming from our contact with more than two thousand institutional investors and hundreds of hedge fund organizations. The hedge fund industry is dynamic, and participants are best served by anticipating, rather than reacting to, change. Below areRead More

How Random is the Walk? Bond Market Empiricism
A new paper, forthcoming in the Journal of Empirical Finance, looks at the corporate bond market, and looks specifically for behavioral biases. Although it finds some, it also finds that they are small, and can’t serve as the foundation for a profitable trading strategy. Though its route is roundabout, theRead More

Top 5 Alpha Stories of 2017
In surveying this year for dramatic alpha-related stories, we have much whence to choose. This was the year in which the Murdoch family announced its intention to sell some of their highest value holdings to Disney. Also, in 2017 the EQT Rice merger (contested, unsuccessfully, by one prominent hedge fundRead More

Deloitte on the 2018 Outlook for Managers
A new Deloitte report on the year ahead says that 2018, globally, “could be the year that records the highest average [mergers and acquisitions] deal value” for the investment manager sector. Also, this will be a big year for artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms; Deloitte predicts that 70% of newRead More

Hedge Funds: Myths and Pendulums
Steben & Co., a Gaithersburg, Maryland headquartered fund of fund manager, has issued a white paper on the various unfavorable myths that it contends surround the hedge fund market. It says that four different myths are discouraging investments, and indeed that they are promulgated precisely for that purpose. The myths:Read More

The Performance of Impact Investments
The Global Impact Investing Network has offered its own take on a much discussed question: do “impact investing” and its variants under various names – sustainable investing, socially conscious investing, ESG investing, etc. – work? And, if so, how well? It looks at this question in a very granular way,Read More

Rukaiyah Adams, CIO Meyer Memorial Trust – doing good and investing well
By Charles Skorina The $90 billion Oregon Pension ranks among the top 15 in the US, but how many in the industry know the current board chair, Ms. Rukaiyah Adams? Ms. Adams was born in Berkeley, CA, grew up in diverse, northeast Portland, and returned to her home city afterRead More

Benchmarking Distributed Ledger Technology
Two scholars affiliated with the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, in Great Britain, have prepared a fascinating overview of the present state of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT). Dr. Garrick Hileman and Michel Rauchs, respectively a Research Fellow and a research assistant, have gathered data from more than 200Read More

HARK! The Allocators Sing…
By Diane Harrison 2017 will be a hard year for allocators and investors to get excited about hedge fund performance versus US equities. Hedge funds returned on average about 6% in the first 11 months of 2017, significantly lagging the stock market, which was up over 20% for the sameRead More

Blackstone Looks at the Secondary Private Equity Market
An October paper put out by Strategic Partners Fund Solutions, of Blackstone, argues that (despite risks and drawbacks) investing in the secondary private equity market  can still be a smart play, offering “accelerated returns with lower volatility, lower loss rates, and greater downside protection” than the primary market. The secondaryRead More

Institutional Investors Expect More Vol, Higher Interest Rates: But They Fear Not
Natixis Investment Managers has released survey data on the mood of institutional investors around the world. Natixis, which has $961 billion in assets under management, polled the decision makers of 500 institutions that together represent more than $19 trillion of assets. Among the takeaways: investors expect more volatility, in bothRead More

The Transformation of the Global Reinsurance Industry
A new paper from Milliman, a consultant to the insurance and financial services industries, discusses the ongoing transformation in and of the global reinsurance industry that alternative investment has created. About 20 years ago, in the wake of Hurricane Andrew and the Northridge earthquake, catastrophe bonds caught on as aRead More

State Street Forecasts on Smart Beta
State Street Global Advisors has a new paper out that seeks to help State Street clients “refine their own strategic asset allocation” especially insofar as their portfolios include smart beta investments, by explaining how State Street forecasts returns, and where the forecasts as to some of the factor returns standRead More

University endowments in the crosshairs
By Charles Skorina The U.S. has the greatest university system in the world.  But it’s expensive.  And congress is about to make matters worse by taxing the endowment earnings of “large” private college and university endowments. The latest congressional proposal aims to slap a 1.4 percent excise tax on theRead More

Deloitte on Initial Coins Offerings (ICOs) as IPOs
An October 2017 white paper from Deloitte discusses the extent to which the offerings of tokens built upon blockchains have become the new IPOs of the crypto era. There are no binding rules about how to execute an initial coin offering (ICO). Nonetheless, there have been enough of these soRead More

Around the World with a Timberland Outlook
New Forests, an Australia-based investment manager focusing on strategies in forestry, land management, and conservation, has published its 2017 Timberland Investment Outlook. This paper begins with the observation that institutional investment in timberland now amounts to more than $100 billion. This makes it still a “relatively small” asset class, butRead More

Regulatory Challenges Posed by Crypto Funds
A forthcoming paper in the Stanford Journal of Law, Business, and Finance looks at the cryptocurrency markets (bitcoin and its kin), the hedge funds that look to make money from them and the operational issues involved. Two independent scholars collaborated on writing the paper: Edmund Mokhtarian and Alexander Lindgren. AlthoughRead More

Bain on Dry Powder and High Asset Prices
Bain & Co., a consultancy to the private equity industry, has issued its Global Private Equity Report 2017. One central theme of the report is that prices of desired assets aren’t merely high, they are “structurally high,” and thus likely to remain so. They are high because there is aRead More

PwC Charge: Asset Managers are Digital Tech ‘Laggards’
A new paper from PricewaterhouseCoopers on the coming transformations in the asset and wealth management industries says that firms in this market must adapt or die. And the adaptation the authors have in mind isn’t just the usual Darwinian metaphor – managers must “become business revolutionaries, even disruptors” in orderRead More

By Diane Harrison With year-end holidays approaching and investment action wrap-up and forward planning in process, investors are bracing for change in many formats. November seems like a good time to take an industry snapshot survey of portfolio managers, wealth advisors, regulatory professionals, and the like, and ask them aRead More

A look at the European pension industry
Three years ago, Amin Rajan, the CEO of CREATE-Research, prepared a study of the way that pension plans had reacted to the global financial crisis and to the subsequent financial conditions.  His study continues to be worthy of attention in 2017. The study included a survey of 190 pension plansRead More

Introduction to TK Fee-to-Alpha ratioTM (TKFA)                    By Tanuj Khosla, CFA, CAIA, MBA INTRODUCTION The construction of hedge fund portfolios by institutional investors around the world has been a combination of both science and art over the years. While some use a strict quantitative methodology like Risk Budgeting and/or SharpeRead More

Exley on Cashflow-Driven Investment
A new paper by Jon Exley, solutions manager of Schroders, discusses cashflow-driven investment (CDI) as a system of portfolio management that accepts and builds upon liability-driven investment (LDI). The idea in both cases is to match all future projected liability payments as they fall due, which is definitionally the imperativeRead More

Interest Rates and Hedge Fund Returns
A paper put out in October by an Associate Director and a Managing Director at Pavilion Alternatives Group says that hedge fund performance can suffer from a performance fee drag as a consequence of rising interest rates, and from the increasing cash rate that comes with that rise.  They explainRead More

Artificial Intelligence and Productivity: NBER Takes a Look
A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, in Cambridge, Mass., discusses what its authors see as a paradox: although artificial intelligence has made astonishing advances in the last 20 years, taking along with it related technologies and stock prices, real income has stagnated, and productivity seemsRead More

By Nicolas Rabener, FactorResearch Factor Investing in the Wild West of Financial Markets Summary: Cryptocurrencies have reached a market capitalisation of > $150bn Backtesting quantitative strategies is difficult given a limited trading history & universe Short-term Momentum works very well, classic factor investing strategies less so INTRODUCTION The year 2017Read More

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

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

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

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

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