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New Managers February 2018

BULLETIN: Global Sigma captures February's long-vol trade, Small cap hedge funds offer alternative for cannabis investing, A&P Emerging Manager Index


Global Sigma captures February's long-vol trade

Florida-based Global Sigma rode February's volatility to new highs. The firm's AGSF strategy is up +2.8 percent through February 16 and +4.2 percent YTD and its Vol/Arb program is up +14 percent through February 16 and 19.6 percent YTD.

Global Sigma CIO Hanming Rao tells Opalesque that he opted to go long-volatility in the second half of 2017 and maintained his positioning through the start of the year. That bet paid off earlier this month when the VIX hit new highs. "We expect that VIX will revert to more historical ranges - mid-teens to 20s over the remainder of the year," Rao says.

Global Sigma runs high turnover strategies that trade weekly expiry options. The firm's AGSF program has typically been short-volatility, but as VIX hit new lows and stayed there in 2017, Rao felt the index was likely to revert to its historical mean in the near term and opted to adjust the portfolio's position. Global Sigma's models generate one-day forecasts designed to help the investment team identify mispriced options. In the second quarter of last year, the team added a long VIX tail risk hedging model into its forecasts. With the addition of this model, the portfolio transitioned to a net long volatility/vega exposure

The Vol/Arb strategy uses the same one-day forecast model to take a view on the VIX. The strategy looks for price and correlation inefficiencies in the VIX futures market and will go both long and short VIX based on the forecast

According to Rao, the return of volatility is likely to have a more significant impact than many expect. For options strategies like Global Sigma's the return of volatility could be a boon as the strategy will benefit as the VIX rises but other strategies may have a harder time. "It's likely th......................

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This article was published in Opalesque's New Managers a top-down monthly analysis, news and research publication on the global emerging manager space.
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