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Opalesque Futures Intelligence

News Briefs: New fund, new data service, wine futures.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Aquila Launches UCITS CTA

Aquila Capital Group has made its Pharos managed futures program available as a European mutual fund product with daily liquidity within the UCITS III legal structure.

Pharos Evolution Fund, launched March 6th, is subject to Luxemburg regulators' requirements such as having a custodian and independent administrator.

Lauren Damask, an executive at Aquila, said daily liquidity is possible because the fund does only intra-day trades and does not carry positions overnight. Positions are closed at end of each trading session if not earlier. She says this is the first UCITS commodity trading advisor fund.

The investment strategy has been in operation since 2001 in other investment vehicles and made 24.7% in 2008. According to Aquila, the Pharos program was ranked in the top 20% of more than 2,000 hedge funds tested by Harry Kat, an academic researcher and specialist in replicating hedge fund returns.

Professor Kat found that Pharos generates 41 basis points of returns per month that cannot be replicated.

Aquila Capital has about $2.4 billion of assets under management and is not a newcomer to UCITS regulation. It manages SVMN Multi-Asset Fund, another UCITS III pool. SVMN returned 11.3% in 2008.

Ms. Damask says alternative strategies are being increasingly offered in the UCITS framework but there aren't too many such funds and Aquila is a pioneer in this area.

Price Group Expands

Chicago-headquartered Uhlmann Price Securities LLC and its affiliate Price Group opened a new office in Lake Oswego, Oregon, that will be managed by Dick Ebel. Mr. Ebel joined Uhlmann and Price Group after 35 years with UBS Securities. He has experience in both securities and commodities

“This is an opportune time to be expanding our market reach when many firms are downsizing,” said Tom Price, president of Price Futures Group. “Dick will be instrumental in recruiting new brokers for our companies in this location as well as other areas we have strategically selected.”

Uhlmann Price Securities, founded by Fred Uhlmann, former chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade, is a securities broker and investment advisory firm that offers traditional and alternative investments including managed futures products and commodity index funds.

Price Group is an independent introducing broker with MF Global and has branch offices in Arizona, Florida, Georgia Nebraska and Texas.

Stark Offers New Data Service

Managed futures consulting and research firm Daniel B. Stark & Co. started a web-based version of its commodity trading advisor database, available by subscription.

“Not only will users of the database have expanded access to both qualitative and quantitative CTA information, but the development of the new system will allow us greater flexibility to continuously add new functionality and improved research and analysis tools,” Mr. Stark said in a statement.

The firm, which goes back to1987, tracks the performance of nearly 600 CTA programs and futures funds. It publishes 12 proprietary CTA and fund indices. The new STAR CTA database includes CTA rankings, corporate profiles and individual program profiles covering a variety of quantitative information and analytics.

Wine Futures Weaken

According to The New York Times: The crowd of merchants, consumers and investors that flock to Bordeaux every year for tastings has thinned out. The tastings are done to sell wines still in the barrel and are known as the futures campaign. Financial industry bonuses in the go-go years may have created a wine bubble that is now deflating as buyers turn to sellers. An index of fine wines, the London International Vintners Exchange's 100 Index, nearly tripled in dollar terms from February 2005 to August 2008. Then it plunged 48%. But a specialist quoted in the NYT story says people have not reduced their overall consumption of wine, rather they've traded down in price.

This article was published in Opalesque Futures Intelligence.
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