Sun, Oct 4, 2015
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Opalesque Futures Intelligence

Manager Profile Multi-billion-dollar quantitative shop AQR has a new managed futures fund. Take a look at it.

Friday, April 09, 2010

AQR Managed Futures

Well-known hedge fund manager AQR Capital launched a series of mutual funds in the past year. This January it launched a managed futures fund. There’s good news and bad news about this new vehicle. On one hand, the fund lost 4.30% in its first two months.

At the same time, assets grew from the $10 million seed capital AQR put in to almost $59 million. That’s a small part of the firm’s $23 billion in total assets (as of 2009) but growth has been strong.

AQR managed futures follows what sounds like a fairly standard trend-following strategy and its returns are roughly in line with most trend followers. Below we present selected highlights from the prospectus. 

When AQR started up in 1998, big investors were drawn to the hedge fund because of the reputation of the former Goldman Sachs managers who founded the firm. The experienced team is a draw also for the new fund. However, the Goldman Sachs attraction may have faded somewhat with the weak performance of the bank’s quantitative hedge funds in recent years.

AQR founder Clifford Asness was a managing director and head of quantitative research at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. John Liew, another founder, was vice president and portfolio manager at Goldman and before that worked at Trout Trading Company.

Brian Hurst was an associate in Goldman’s quantitative research group. All three are among the AQR futures fund’s managers.

Another manager, Lasse Pedersen,  was professor of finance at  New York University’s Stern School of Business before joining AQR in 2007. He has been consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and served on the economic advisory board of NASDAQ. Yao Hua Ooi was an analyst at UBS before coming to AQR.

The fund pursues absolute returns using proprietary quantitative models to identify price trends in equity, fixed income, currency and commodity instruments. Once a trend is determined, it takes either a long or short position. The investment philosophy aims to profit from behavioral biases and inefficiencies in markets—described in this issue’s Futures Lab, based on papers from the AQR team.

Short and Long Terms

Several strategies are used. Thus the short-term strategy has the goal of taking advantage of market inefficiencies due to anchoring bias, which slows down price changes, disposition effect, which impedes price responses to events, and the interventions of price-insensitive market players like central banks. These factors cause trends to start.

The long-term strategy targets other behavioral patterns that cause trends to continue— in particular investor herding, confirmation bias and certain risk management tools.  For instance, people project recent data into the future, which leads to piling into investments that recently made money. Some risk-management schemes will sell in down markets and buy in up markets. These behaviors cause trends to persist for some time.

Another piece of the AQR manages futures approach is the over-extended trend strategy. This component signals when a trend is over-extended and is likely to reverse, on the basis of trend velocity and length and magnitude. Trends that move very quickly or have persisted for a long period and moved prices substantially have a higher tendency to reverse. 

AQR uses a proprietary drawdown control system engineered to reduce the size of drawdowns. Despite risk control measures to limit drawdowns, the managers expect the fund’s returns to be volatile over short-term periods because of the inherent leverage in futures instruments. The target annualized volatility is 10%, with a range between 5% and 13%.   

Regarding trading costs, the fund relies on the proprietary portfolio optimization techniques and electronic order placement algorithms AQR developed for the various quantitative trading programs it runs. The net expense ratio for retail investors is 1.50%.

Like other managed futures programs, the fund is expected to have low correlation to stock, bond, currency and commodity markets over a market cycle and hence add diversification to investor portfolios.

David Kabiller, AQR head of client strategies, says that given the strategy’s close to zero correlation to other asset classes, it can provide significant diversification to both alternative and traditional stock and bond portfolios, particularly during a bear market.

This article was published in Opalesque Futures Intelligence.
Opalesque Futures Intelligence
Opalesque Futures Intelligence
Opalesque Futures Intelligence
Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing

  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. Performance - Hedge fund moguls Einhorn, Loeb, Rosenstein lose money in September, Risky strategy sinks small hedge fund[more]

    Hedge fund moguls Einhorn, Loeb, Rosenstein lose money in September From Billionaire stock pickers David Einhorn, Daniel Loeb and Barry Rosenstein on Wednesday told their wealthy investors they lost money in September as market turmoil inflicted more pain on some of America'

  2. Opalesque Exclusive: IRAs represent billions of untapped capital for hedge funds[more]

    Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva: Retirement accounts might not be the first source that comes to mind for those looking to raise funds, but they may represent billions of untapped capital. Unlike traditional retirement accounts,

  3. Opalesque TV: One way to access market hedge funds in the EU under the AIFMD radar[more]

    Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva: While the Cayman Islands, the US and Hong Kong await the pan-European marketing passport to be extended to alternative investment fund

  4. Investing - U.S. biotech bloodbath hits hedge funds but some bargains emerge, Computer-driven hedge funds betting on further stock selloff[more]

    U.S. biotech bloodbath hits hedge funds but some bargains emerge From A seven-day selloff of U.S. biotechnology stocks has hit sector investors - especially hedge funds - hard. But some managers say it was overdone and are already eyeing bargains such as Gilead Sciences Inc

  5. Vilas’ equity long bias hedge fund generates market-beating results[more]

    Komfie Manalo, Opalesque Asia: The Vilas Fund, an equity long bias fund managed by Chicago, Illinois-based Vilas Capital Management, posted five-year annualized returns, net of fees, of 23.47% vs. 15.87% for the S&P 500 Index, including divid