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Alternative Market Briefing

Investors and hedge fund managers must come to a common understanding about what is possible

Thursday, December 13, 2012

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Dr. Sassan Zaker
Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva:

According to Dr. Sassan Zaker, head of Alternative Investments at the CHF2bn Julius Baer Pension Fund, the key to investing is simplification.

This summer at the GAIM conference, Zaker reportedly called for fundamental changes to the way institutional investors approach hedge fund manager selection and suggested pooling with other pension funds to create a fund of hedge funds.

A lot of people are looking for new ways of defining risk and returns for various asset classes and hedge funds nowadays, he said during Terrapinn’s Hedge Funds World conference in Zurich last month.

But back in the days, "it was like 'Hedge Fund Bazaar’," he noted during his presentation. "You went to the bazaar; you selected hedge funds across asset classes. But a better way of investing in hedge funds is that, we investors define our targets returns and risk budget and then we go to hedge funds and say "can you manage this or not?" This is much more efficient and reduces costs."

Let’s say pension funds in Switzerland, which seek returns of 5% and have $800bn in assets, want to invest 10% in hedge funds, he continued. They send a Request For Proposal and ask hedge funds if they can achieve 5% net. Of course, no hedge fund man......................

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