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Geneva's fund of hedge funds power houses advance through innovation, new products

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Did hedge funds have a good year in terms of performance in 2013 in the end?

It really depends on the strategy and the context, according to the participants at the latest Opalesque Geneva Roundtable. An absolute return strategy with LIBOR + 400bps and 2.5 Sharpe Ratio objectives may have had a fantastic year achieving 600 points and an equity manager who returned 20% might have had a terrible year.

Most hedge funders agree that overall, the performance of hedge funds has been pretty good, especially that of long/short, distressed and credit funds – and especially compared to the assessed equity risk of the portfolio. However, there may still be a problem with certain defensive or tactical trading strategies. Some also observe a wide diversity in manager performance in 2013, of which several look very interesting.

The top echelon of Geneva's fund of hedge funds power houses have used the post crisis years to work on an impressive product innovation and client-centric offerings.

In this Roundtable, the participants furthermore discuss new products and services based on thorough innovation, hedge funds fees, especially the new rules around fees that apply to institutions (including the TER), and the way U.S. pension funds (that tend to go direct now) treat fees compared to their European counterparts.

They ask how much of the TER would one want to use in order to achieve performance, and explain why, when it comes to fees, investing in hedge funds could be compared to investing in a pair of shoes.

The timely topic of bond investing was also on the table, their substitutes (such as some UCITS); as well as that of the supposed asset outflows from Switzerland.

The group also discussed:

  • What some of the Geneva-based fund of hedge funds houses such as UBP, Unigestion and Mirabaud are up to these days, and what the “new name of the game” is for their group;
  • Emerging manager Martek’s new long-term value public equities fund;
  • The decline of hedge fund investments from European clients and what needs to be done to regain their interests;
  • Why funds of funds in America get the bigger mandates;
  • Why one of the next biggest opportunities for the hedge fund industry will come with the fixed income bear market;
  • What IDS is doing to counteract the squeeze from “fortress Europe”;
  • What may happen to and around long term interest rates;
  • The different sub-markets for different kinds of clients;
  • The current tail risks;
  • The risks of private equities and latest developments within private equity funds;
  • And why insurance, reinsurance, and banking are attractive sources of funding.
The 2014 Opalesque Geneva Roundtable took place in December 2013 at the sophisticated offices of Mirabaud Asset Management. It was sponsored by the IDS Group, Taussig Capital and the Eurex Exchange Group.

The Roundtable’s esteemed guests were:

  • Arié Assayag, Global CEO of UBP Alternative Investments
  • Patrick Fenal, Deputy Chairman, Unigestion
  • Marc-Henri Barrail, Head of Advisory Hedge Fund Services, Mirabaud Asset Management
  • Ian Hamilton, Founder and Head of IDS Group
  • Jacques Bally, Founder and Head of Bally Capital Advisors
  • Joe Taussig, Founder and Head of Taussig Capital
  • Kevin Martelli, Founder and Head of Martek Partners

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