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Opalesque Roundtable Series - Geneva 2012

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Geneva is described by some as the place where the godfathers of the funds of hedge funds industry can be found. And interestingly, this has not changed.

The city’s hedge fund industry is still recovering from ’08, though. There has been a slight increase of funds (to around 130) and of assets under management (to around $20bn+) this year in Switzerland since last year, but for Geneva, 2011 was quiet. It was a good time for funds of hedge funds to sharpen their raison d’être, for hedge funds to focus on performance, innovative products, and new selling angles, and for consultants and marketers to follow the flow of shifting demands from investors. All of this and more was discussed during our 2012 Geneva Roundtable, around Caliburn Partners’ famous red table:

Funds of funds must justify their existence as there is huge pressure on fees, on research efforts, on alpha generation. Being contrarian is one way to succeed, through showing high conviction in their managers, investing in managers when those are down, in niche or small managers, etc. The question of whether only local underlying managers should be used was raised. And it was also said that the model of using hedge funds right across the portfolio is now a model of the past.

Investors still want some liquidity in their portfolios but are now also looking at illiquids too, such as niche strategies. Some are seeking newer and emerging managers. Many are simply not moving their capital at the moment, and sticking with their funds if they are already invested. Others are hunting for non-financial products (art, real estate, etc.)

Hedge funds trends:

  • What kind of year has 2011 been for global macro and equity long/short strategies? The new way European investors are qualifying their investments in equity long/short funds.
  • Are hedge funds reducing their exposure, their leverage, increasing their cash levels? How do they prepare for the unexpected?
  • Some have observed that hedge funds are now trading more, doing less fundamental analysis, and that more tail-risk funds are coming out.
The participants:
  1. Katherine Hill, Managing Director, Palladio Alternative Research S.A.,
  2. Cédric Kohler, Head of Advisory, Fundana S.A.,
  3. Simon Collard, CEO and Founder, Collard Capital S.A.,
  4. Tony Morrongiello, Managing Partner, Caliburn Capital Partners S.A., (host)
  5. Anne-Cathrine Frogg Spadola, First Vice-President, Mirabaud & Cie,
  6. Cyrus Fazel, Hedge Fund Advisor, Aramis Capital S.A.,
  7. Philippe Bonnefoy, Chairman, Cedar Partners, Eleuthera Capital, Newscape Capital Group
also talked about:
  • New products: Mirabaud’s innovative emerging market fund (in collaboration with Interpeace) and Eleuthera’s new currency funds;
  • Mixed feelings about upcoming worldwide regulations and the way FINMA, the Swiss financial supervisor, is trying to adapt to them;
  • How fund managers and investors in hedge funds are positioning themselves with regards to the current uncertainties in Europe;
  • Why Greater China, Japan are some of the favourite picks. What about emerging markets in general?
  • Why 2012 could be an interesting stock picking environment;
  • Why is due diligence always necessary, whatever the format of the fund – even for UCITS-compliant funds?
  • The advent of bank platforms and seeding platforms;
  • The role that ETFs can have in portfolios;
  • Where are asset flows in Geneva coming from?
The 2012 Opalesque Geneva Roundtable took place in December 2011 at the offices of Caliburn Capital Partners. We want to thank the 2011 Roundtable Series sponsors Taussig Capital and Custom House for their support.

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