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Bitcoin: Crypto Currency, E-Barter or Simply Sophisticated Software?
Radio Feature 91: Sona Blessing in conversation with Izabella Kaminska
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - CFA Switzerland Forecast Dinner Event, Zurich
img In this podcast Izabella Kaminska, an avid Bitcoin blogger, questions whether virtual currencies such as Bitcoin could be the future of money?
She also addresses the emergence of such a phenomenon, the purpose it serves, its true potential ...
She arrives at the conclusion, "for now, unfortunately, Bitcoin confuses value with collaborative efficiency. And it is here that its greatest weakness lies."

2014: Identifying Favourable Investment Opportunities in Equities and Bonds
Radio Feature 90: Sona Blessing in conversation with Christina Boeck and Chris Iggo
Thursday, January 16, 2014
img At AXA Investment Managers, Christina Boeck is CIO (Switzerland), Head Solution Strategists Central Europe, and Chris Iggo is CIO, AXA Fixed Income.
In this podcast they share their global market outlook for 2014 and some of their asset allocation picks including a preference for European equities over their U.S. counterparts; small caps; opportunistic emerging market bond investments in for e.g. Nigeria and Eastern Europe, and why an allocation to sovereign bonds such as the Bund could strategically serve as an investment hedge ...

Hedgegate Series VI: Active Risk Based Allocation
Radio Feature 89: Sona Blessing in conversation with Cédric Baron
Friday, December 13, 2013
img Cédric Baron is a multi-asset fund manager, ARMA Funds, at Lyxor Asset Management (AM).
He has been with Lyxor AM since 2005 - when he was a fund manager in charge of quantitative strategies on equities and volatility.
In this Hedgegate Series podcast he shares how active risk based allocation can be applied to a long only portfolio that seeks to achieve absolute returns …

Economic and Financial Outlook for 2014
Radio Feature 88: Sona Blessing in conversation with Anton Brender & Florence Pisani
Thursday, December 05, 2013
img Anton Brender is Head of the Economics Studies Department of Dexia Asset Management and amongst others he is Associate Professor at the Université Paris‑Dauphine. A macro-economist, he specialises in the study of international monetary and financial problems
Florence Pisani is an economist at Dexia Asset Management. She lectures at the Université Paris‑Dauphine.
In February 2010 they published “Global Imbalances and the Collapse of Globalised Finance.”

Are we in an Equity Bubble?
Radio Feature 87: Sona Blessing in conversation with Prof. Dr. Didier Sornette
Friday, November 08, 2013 - Ayaltis Annula Investor Event 2013
img Amongst his numerous academic accomplishments, publications and titles, Dr. Didier Sornette is Professor on the Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks at the Department of Management, Technology and Economics (D-MTEC) ETH Zurich. He is Founder and Director of the Financial Crisis Observatory, Co-founder of the ETH Risk Center, Member of the Swiss Financial Institute.
He has authored the monograph “Why Stock Markets Crash (Critical Events in Complex Financial Systems), and “Extreme Financial Risks (From dependence to risk management).”
His research priorities include:
Prediction of crises and extreme events in complex systems and risk management, with applications to social systems (financial crashes, economic systemic recessions, cyber risks) and natural systems (earthquakes, rupture, epileptic seizures, immune system collapse).
In this podcast he shares insights and observations on the formation of bubbles in financial markets, capturing performance in times of crises and more ...

U.S. Small Caps: "Outsource Value Creation"
Radio Feature 86: Sona Blessing in conversation with Frank Alonso
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
img Frank Alonso is an investment analyst in the U.S. Equity Division of T. Rowe Price. He has has 13 years of investment experience, and has portfolio management responsibilities in the firm's U.S. Structured Research Equity Strategy. In this radio podcast he elaborates on their fund's investment philosophy, portfolio construction, equity exposure that spans deep value and aggressive growth companies ...

Addressing Operational Challenges Facing Hedge Funds with Cloud Solutions
Radio Feature 85: Sona Blessing in conversation with Bob Guilbert
Friday, October 25, 2013
img Bob Guilbert is Managing Director at Eze Castle Integration, the leading provider of technology consulting and private cloud services to the hedge fund and investment firm industry worldwide.
With more than 20 years of IT experience, he is responsible for leading all of the firm's marketing, partnership and product development functions. In this radio podcast he shares their survey findings and elaborates on cloud usage within the alternative investment industry.

Hedgegate Series V: A 40 Year Track Record of Investing in Hedge Funds
Radio Feature 84: Sona Blessing in conversation with Bertrand Bricheux
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
img Bertrand Bricheux is Head of Mirabaud Asset Management’s Fund Marketing (alternative investments and traditional funds). He has over a decade of experience in the asset management industry. Prior to joining Mirabaud & Cie in 2011, he headed the Marketing and Business Development of UBP Asset Management and their Product Specialists team. He has also been a Partner at Allianz Hedge Fund Partners.
In this Hedgegate Podcast he shares the perspectives of one of the earliest hedge fund investors...

Hedgegate Series IV: Challenging Environment for Investing in Currency Strategies?
Radio Feature 83: Sona Blessing in conversation with Thomas Suter
Friday, September 20, 2013
img Thomas Suter is CEO of Quaesta Capital AG, which manages in excess of USD2.5bn in investment products and currency risk management mandates. He has more than 20 years of experience in financial markets and has been with this company since it was founded in 2005.

Investing in Illiquid Collateralised Reinsurance Contracts vs. Cat Bonds
Radio Feature 82: Sona Blessing in conversation with Michael Stahel
Monday, August 12, 2013
img Michael Stahel is a partner and portfolio manager at LGT Insurance-Linked Strategies in Switzerland, which has already raised USD 400 million from three pension fund mandates this year.

He played a key role in LGT’s acquisition of Clariden Leu’s Insurance-Linked Investments boutique in Q1 2012. In his current role, Michael maintains the responsibility for the main investment strategy for all insurance-linked funds and mandates.

In this podcast he elaborates on market developments within the insurance linked securities space and shares his insights on the observed shift towards investing in illiquid collateralised reinsurance contracts...


Why Invest in Emerging Market Corporate Debt?
Radio Feature 81: Sona Blessing in conversation with John Peta and Zara Kazaryan
Monday, August 05, 2013
img John Peta is Portfolio Manager, Co-head of Emerging Market Debt and Local Currency Strategy Leader. Zara Kazaryan is Fund Manager of Emerging Markets Debt and Corporate Strategy Leader. Both are members of Threadneedle’s Emerging Markets Fixed Income Team.

"The acceleration in rating upgrades for emerging markets corresponds with a vast improvement in the macro backdrop and net creditor status for emerging market countries in aggregate. Government debt to GDP for emerging market countries has declined to 34% of GDP 94.4% of GDP in 1993."

In this podcast they elaborate on the upside in emerging market debt and how it could be captured ...


"From Soil to Oil"
Radio Feature 80: Sona Blessing in conversation with Mark Wills
Thursday, July 25, 2013
img Mark Wills draws on two decades of experience in the world of banking and financial services. Amongst others he has worked at Royal Bank of Scotland's private banking division, specialising in tax planning and portfolio management for high net worth investors, and was also responsible for co-establishing International Financial Services in Singapore.
In this podcast he elaborates on how and why he thinks investors with a shorter timeframe can still invest in timber, as an asset class, and expect a conservative annualised ROI of 14% ...

Hedgegate Series III: Convergent Divergent Strategies
Radio Feature 79: Sona Blessing in conversation with Andrew Fisch
Friday, July 19, 2013
img Andrew Fisch is Co-Chief Investment Officer, Hedge Fund of Funds at SSARIS Advisors. Andrew has been in the hedge fund and alternatives industry for 28 years. Prior to joining SSARIS, he was a founding partner at Aurum Capital Management.

In this podcast, Andrew explains what a convergence-divergence strategy is and how it can help investors achieve superior risk-adjusted returns. How it tends to work in a bull market, a bear market and under trend reversing market conditions...


"Modest Risk-On": Equities Favoured; Regional Picks Include Japan, the US, Germany
Sona Blessing in Conversation with Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen
Thursday, July 11, 2013
img Valentijn van Nieuwenhuijzen is Head of Strategy, Strategy and Tactical Asset Allocation Group, ING Investment Management (International AUM as of 31.3.2013 ~EUR 184 bn.)
He is responsible for formulating the firm's macroeconomic outlook and fixed income tactical asset allocation. Focused on tactical allocation between cash, fixed income, equities, real estate, and commodities, and particularly between specific fixed income markets such as treasuries, intergovernmental credits, high yields, and emerging market debt.
Valentijin is a recognised expert in growth, inflation, and central bank policy in the major economic blocks and the global dynamics that influence different regions.

In this podcast he share's the rationale behind their mid year asset allocation review and explains why "The road is slippery but we are not stuck in the mud!"


Attractive Valuations Support Entry Point in Small and Mid Cap Indian Equities
Radio Feature 77: Chrys Kamber in Conversation with Sona Blessing
Monday, July 01, 2013
img Chrys Kamber advises the Luxembourg domiciled Gate of India fund, a fund managed by MM Warburg which focuses on listed Indian small and mid cap enterprises. .
Prior to this she was a fund manager - asset management equities - at Clariden Leu Ltd, Zurich. She has also served as an assistant relationship manager, private banking/Middle East desk at Crédit Agricole Indosuez (Suisse) SA, Geneva.
Chrys is a seasoned equity investor and manager and has over a decade's experience in investment strategy, project management and private banking.

Hedgegate Series II: The Benefits of Mulit Strategy Hedge Funds
Radio Feature 76: Ivo Zonev in Conversation with Sona Blessing
Friday, June 14, 2013
img Ivo Zonev, is a Director, Hedge Fund Analyst and Portfolio Manager at Prime Capital. Formerly he worked at Feri Finance Group as a Hedge Fund Analyst. He is a specialist in tactical trading strategies. As part of the Hedgegate Series on Opalesque Radio, and in this feature, Ivo shares Prime Capital's research findings on the benefits of multi strategy hedge funds.

Q-Eternity?
Radio Feature 75: Robert Schumacher in Conversation with Sona Blessing
Wednesday, June 05, 2013
img Robert Schumacher is Head of US Fixed Income, Strategist/Senior Portfolio Manager with AXA Investment Managers. He has 37 years of capital markets experience, with hands-on experience in sales, trading, management, marketing and investment management of retail and institutional assets.
In this Opalesque Podcast, Rob shares his interpretation and analysis of the Fed’s Monetary Policy Path - its impact on the economy and on other asset classes. Is there an up-side to exiting Quantitative Easing "early"? Is there an exit strategy and why we should be braced for "Q-Eternity"...

Impact Investing: Another Form of Philanthropy or A Viable Investment Approach?
Radio Feature 74: Julia Balandina Jaquier in Conversation with Sona Blessing
Friday, May 31, 2013
img Dr. Julia Balandina Jaquier is an acknowledged authority on Impact Investing and founder of JBJ Consult.
A seasoned impact investor, Julia works with institutional, sovereign and private investors, as well as philanthropists and private foundations.

She is also author of "Guide to Impact Investing For Family Offices and High Net Worth Individuals". She teaches impact investing and social entrepreneurship at the University of St.Gallen and has been a guest lecturer at Yale.

In this Opalesque podcast she talks us through the scope and breadth of impact investing, the challenges, measuring social and environmental impact, allocating to and integrating it within a portfolio...


US Equities: "The Re-Emerging Market?"
Radio Feature 73: Cormac Weldon in Conversation with Sona Blessing
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
img Cormac Weldon is Head of US Equities at Threadneedle Investments. He manages the Threadneedle American, American Select and American Smaller Companies funds, as well as the Allied Dunbar North American Growth fund. Cormac started his career with KPMG. He has also worked for Provident Mutual as an analyst on their North American equities team and British Gas Pension Fund as a fund manager on their North American equities team.

In this radio feature/podcast he talks about the US themes for 2013: strong franchises, the housing recovery, the energy advantage, cheap cyclicals with capital returns, bond proxies, growth, and how these could translate into capturable performance.


Hedgegate Series I: Analysing Asian Hedge Fund Performance and the Investment Landscape
Radio Feature 72: Lanny Lim in Conversation with Sona Blessing
Thursday, May 02, 2013
img Lanny is a portfolio manager at SAIL Advisors, one of Asia’s leading hedge fund research and investment specialists. He has almost two decades of experience in the Asia Pacific capital markets. Prior to SAIL, he was a Partner and Senior Analyst at Austral Capital Ltd., a multi-strategy hedge fund. Amongst others he has been Global Head of Emerging Markets Credit Research at ABN Amro Bank in Singapore.

Featured in the first podcast of our Hedgegate Series, Lanny shares his insights on the Asian hedge fund investment landscape, performance potential in Japan and in Chinese onshore convertible bonds ...


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  1. Opalesque Exclusive: Ex-Citi trader launches 'sleep-at-night’ long/short equity fund[more]

    Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva for New Managers: After working at Citi's proprietary trading desk, managing a large portfolio between 2008 and 2011, Joel S. Salomon founded SalauMor Management in New York

  2. Investing - U.S. investors favor currency hedged Europe ETFs as euro tumbles, Quants win back investors as Swiss franc fuels volatility gains, David Einhorn's $7bn hedge fund is loading up on this stock, Hedge fund BlueMountain Capital unveils Ocwen Financial short, claims default on notes[more]

    U.S. investors favor currency hedged Europe ETFs as euro tumbles From Reuters.com: U.S. investors stung by the falling euro who want to stay invested in Europe are turning to exchange-traded funds designed to strip out the impact of the region's currency. The biggest among so-called "cur

  3. News Briefs - Millennials use tech tools to jump into investing, Winklevoss twins to launch bitcoin exchange with FDIC insured deposits, Robertson’s legacy from hedge funds to New Zealand, Real estate managers exploring smaller open-end funds[more]

    Millennials use tech tools to jump into investing It is the Facebookification of monetary investing. From social networking platforms that enable young investors to stick to every other's stock-picking mojo, to internet sites for initially-timers hungry for a piece of the Silicon Valley

  4. Update: Prosecutors seek 12 years for hedge fund manager Francisco Illarramendi[more]

    Komfie Manalo, Opalesque Asia: Federal prosecutors have asked the court to sentence convicted hedge fund manager Francisco Illarramendi to 12 years imprisonment for running an elaborate Ponzi scheme that bilked investors hundreds of millions in dollars, including a Venezuelan pension fund, report

  5. Institutions - Ontario pension fund leader calls all asset classes ‘expensive’, Taiwan's BLF plans $2bn in alternative mandates[more]

    Ontario pension fund leader calls all asset classes ‘expensive’ From WSJ.com: The head of one of the world’s largest pension funds said that across asset classes, “everything is expensive.” Ron Mock, who leads Canada’s $141 billion Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, said that the plan would