Editor's note

Recommended Reading:

The Great Disruption: Innovation, Digitization & Multiplicity of Value Systems - Opalesque's 221st Roundtable (18 million Roundtable PDFs distributed since 2008)

Download here for free: https://www.opalesque.com/RT/InnovationRoundtable.html

Innovation in Fintech happens in many different areas, but we should monitor innovation also outside of finance. One area that's particularly fascinating is deepfakes where you already can, for example, listen to Frank Sinatra songs that Sinatra never performed. If you can imagine a deepfake in the financial world, it could create chaos like we've never actually seen.

Ultimately, innovation is impacted by the underlying value paradigms. The new digital peer-to-peer environment allows new conceptualizations and expressions of value.

While Bitcoin may not be the final answer for cryptocurrency it does allow us - even challenge us - to think and speak in terms of "extrusive" value creation as opposed to the extractive models that are winding themselves down in a changing world. When you get to this community or "human-based" value shift - here we talk about value extrusion or amplification - then you actually change the nature of money itself.

A deeply insightful conversation with Hannah Terhune, Lisa Lou, Rebecca Jack, Denis de Montigny, Lodewijk Van Setten,Rik Willard, Simon Gray and BVI Finance Limited.

The group also discussed:

  • Why the BVI is the sweet spot for the crypto sector at the moment (page 16). Why the BVI Incubator Fund enjoys massive traction with the hedge fund industry (page 11, 14, 20). The attraction of BVI Approved Funds for family offices and innovators (page 14) and Private Investment Fund regime for VC and PE (page 11)
  • Understanding TikTok and the real reason it got into trouble in the US (page 6)
  • The Digital Banking revolution (page 8-9)
  • Usefulness and differences of Sandbox regulatory regimes (page 9-11, 13, 18). Which legal deficiencies should founders "clean up" before approaching any Sandbox? (page 10)
  • The "real value" concept (page 9, 17) and why Bitcoin isn't the final answer for cryptocurrency (page 12). Why money will bifurcate into at least two distinct forms of value (page 15-16)
  • How to avoid getting "Zuckerberged". Stay cautious: Many lawyers do not know how to protect the "real value" because they barely understand it (page 17)
  • Innovation in startups vs. larger firms (page 13)
  • Why the regulated world (and the tax man) struggle with decentralized offerings. Innovations with block chain-based KYC (page 18-19)
  • How universities and research hubs can effectively de-risk innovation while protecting intellectual property for later commercial exploitation (page 20-21)
Download here for free: https://www.opalesque.com/RT/InnovationRoundtable.html

And finally, make sure to join 500 investors for our Investor Workshop: BEHAVIOURAL INVESTING with Julian Robertson, Roy Niederhoffer, Robert Zuccaro, CFA and Julien Messias - Jan. 26th 10 am EST

Today's Headlines

Breacher Capital Management ends 2020 up more than 55%

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York for New Managers:

Emerging manager Breacher Capital Management ended 2020 on a high note. According to performance information for investors reviewed by Opalesque, the BCM Partners fund ended 2020 up 58.19%. The other two BCM strategies - the Enhanced and Core funds were up 36.85% and 12.00%, respectively.

Breacher's year was impressive overall. The strategies were initially featured in our Corona Fighters Series after managing successfully through the abrupt market plunge in March 2020.

The strategies were developed by Art Holly, CIO and Portfolio Manager. Holly was previously with Man Group.

Breacher runs three variants of its long/short strategy, increasing in risk tolerance. The Partners long/short strategy is a concentrated portfolio that can take a contrarian view of the market as it looks for investment opportunities. The Enhanced fund is a slightly less aggressive version of this strategy and the Core fund is a market-neutral fund with the lowest risk of the three.

All three funds have a risk management overlay that is designed to preserve capital especially during times of market volatility. The investment team uses a combination of fundamental analysis and market catalysts to determine its positions. The average hold time for long positions is several months. Short positions are typically held for less time.

A portion of the fund profits are allocated to military families in need. Breacher is in the process of setting up its own nonprofit to manage donations and identify veterans-focused partner organizations. Investors can also specify where they would like donations to go.

In a recent note to investors reviewed by Opalesque, Breacher said that 2020 was a year that highlighted the need for strong risk management. "We are aware that in each of the stress periods witnessed in history, risk management was a critical component for those that survived," the note said. 2021 is poised to be no different.


Access Holdings wraps up debut fund at $340m

Laxman Pai, Opalesque Asia:

The Baltimore-based mid-market investment firm Access Holdings has raised $340 million from 15 institutional investors for its first private-equity fund.

The final tally for Access Holdings Fund I exceeded its $250 million goal in a particularly challenging market for first-time funds.

A press release from the midmarket firm focused on buy-and-build strategies said: "The fund, was oversubscribed and exceeded its target by 36% despite difficult circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant drop in the number of first-time private equity funds closings."

"I believe today's fund closing demonstrates that Access Holdings is well-positioned to continue our purposeful buy-and-build approach," said Access Holdings Founder and Managing Partner Kevin McAllister.

Access Holdings utilizes an innovative hands-on investment strategy, operating a concentrated portfolio with five to seven platforms per fund. The firm deploys extensive research capabilities to identify and acquire platforms in niche essential service-based industries with stable demand characteristics such as pet cremation, end-of-life services, car wash, sports multi-media, and life insurance.

The firm partners with entrepreneurs to scale businesses with quantifiable value propositions and strong fundamentals. Access implements several contemporary and technologically enabled value-creation programs within its portfolio companies.

Access endeavors to systematically drive expansion through these replicable programs and the advancement of exceptional executive leadership. Together Access believes these capabilities support the development of enduring market-leading businesses.

Access Holdings was founded in 2013 and raised over $280 million as an independent sponsor. Currently, the firm manages more than $1 billion of assets.

LGPS Central launches global active EM bond fund

Laxman Pai, Opalesque Asia:

The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Central, one of the UK's eight local authority pension asset pools, has launched its global active emerging market bond fund.

The fund has been launched with an initial investment of £630m ($858m) from four of the pool's eight partner pension funds: Cheshire Pension Fund, Leicestershire Pension Fund, Nottinghamshire Pension Fund, and West Midlands Pension Fund.

According to a press release from LGPS, which has £45bn in collective assets, the mandate is split in half between the two fund managers, who were selected from more than 70 who expressed an initial interest in tendering.

The assets have transitioned to the selected managers with the full support of BlackRock as transition manager. According to sources, the fund is to be managed by Amundi and M&G Investments; each will receive half of the total mandate

LGPS Central Limited CIO and Investment Director for Fixed Income, Gordon Ross, said: "We're extremely pleased that our Emerging Market Bond Fund has now launched as we continue to provide Partner Funds with the products they require to pay their scheme members and dependents for the long-term. I'd like to thank the fantastic collaborative effort that the Central team and our Partner Funds have made to launch this fund, as well as the invaluable support of our transition manager. We look forward to working with both our chosen fund managers to achieve a strong performance moving forward."

Tom Davies, Assistant Director - Investment Strategy at West Midlands Pension Fund, said: "WMPF are delighted to invest in this fund at its launch. EMD plays an important role in fulfilling our long-term obligations and objectives and this launch represents the continued development of our strategy for the asset class. We have been very pleased to work with LGPS Central Limited and other Partner Funds in the development and launch of the product."

Amundi institutional sales manager Ross Matsentides added: "Amundi has long been committed to the LGPS sector and to emerging markets where we have invested continually to ensure our investment capabilities stay ahead of the curve. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with LGPS Central and its partner funds."

Third Point staged a big turnaround in 2020, Crispin Odey's fund falls by third, Citadel, Millennium, other multistrats posted best gains in years in 2020, Billionaire Christopher Hohn hedge fund recoups pandemic losses

Third Point staged a big turnaround in 2020

From Institutional Investor: Dan Loeb's Third Point Offshore capped a strong fourth quarter with a 7.2 percent gain in December. As a result, the multistrategy fund finished the year with a double-digit gain, a stark turnaround from the fund's punishing first quarter. Third Point Offshore gained 20.6 percent in 2020.

The multistrategy firm posted its best performance since 2013 thanks to a huge gains in the equity book in the final two months of the year. More: Source

Dan Loeb's Third Point tops the market in 2020 after big December

More: Source

Crispin Odey's fund falls by third

From The Times: Crispin Odey has been dealt a blow after his main hedge fund fell by almost a third last year, marking the fifth time in six years that it has lost money. The Odey European Inc fund was down by 30.5 per cent, having also declined by 10 per cent in 2019.

Last year's fall, which was first reported by Bloomberg, is a setback for one of the City's best-known hedge fund bosses, who made his name before the 2008 financial crisis by making lucrative bets against banking shares. More recently he has drawn attention for being a prominent backer of Brexit. More: Source

Odey's slump deepens as his hedge fund loses another 30.5%

More: Source

Related News: Odey crisis deepens as hedge fund dives again with millionaire Tory donor fighting sex assault charge

More: Source

Citadel, Millennium, other multistrats posted best gains in years in 2020

From Institutional Investor: Here is how the biggest multistrategy funds fared last year. Many major multistrategy funds, which employ a variety of investment strategies, generated their strongest performance in years in 2020.

Those gains may not have rivaled some of the gargantuan returns their long-short equity peers managed to achieve last year. But many multistrats posted gains in the mid-teens to mid-20 percent range. More: Source

Billionaire Christopher Hohn hedge fund recoups pandemic losses

From Bloomberg: Billionaire activist investor Christopher Hohn's hedge fund has racked up a 12th straight year of gains, overcoming record losses at the onset of the pandemic.

The Children's Investment Fund made about 14% in 2020 as its concentrated stock portfolio rose amid surging markets, according to people with knowledge of the details. That took the fund's assets to about $35 billion, a separate person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. More: Source

World's super-rich families want more hedge funds, survey finds, Hedge funds need to come out of the shadows

World's super-rich families want more hedge funds, survey finds

From Bloomberg: Family offices are heading back to hedge funds. More than a third of 185 investment firms for wealthy clans plan to boost allocations amid the economic upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to survey released Wednesday by BlackRock Inc. and Juniper Place, a London-based firm that helps asset managers raise capital.

Family offices and other investors soured on hedge funds in recent years, bemoaning high fees and lackluster returns. But the health crisis has given some of those managers a boost, particularly stock-pickers who benefited from aggressive bets on technology stocks and copious economic stimulus that drove equities to new heights. More: Source

Hedge funds need to come out of the shadows

From Bloomberg: One of the things that makes American capital markets so attractive is the amount of information available to even casual investors. On a typical day, hundreds of companies file documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which pledges that one of its core goals is to "inform and protect investors."

Yet late on a summer Friday afternoon, the SEC surprised many observers by seeking to slash the number of companies required to file a form that many market participants and journalists have come to rely on: the 13F. It's a bad move that highlights a challenge for the agency's next leader. More: Source

New Launches: Union Square Ventures rakes in more than $420m across two new funds, Mekong Capital gathers $246m for fourth enterprise fund, Pathlight Capital collects nearly $200m for sophomore fund

Union Square Ventures rakes in more than $420m across two new funds

From Alt Assets: Union Square Ventures has hauled in more than $420m across two new investment funds. Union Square Ventures rakes in more than $420m across two new funds first appeared on AltAssets Private Equity News. More: Source

Mekong Capital gathers $246m for fourth enterprise fund

From VN Express: Vietnam-based private equity firm Mekong Capital has raised a new fund worth $246 million, which it plans to invest mainly in consumer-driven businesses.

Mekong Enterprise Find IV Limited Partnership (MEF IV) is worth twice the value of the previous fund, its fourth, MEF III. More: Source

Pathlight Capital collects nearly $200m for sophomore fund

From PE Hub: Hingham, Massachusetts-based Pathlight Capital, a private credit investment firm, has raised over $198 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing. No target was listed in the document. More: Source

Institutional Investors: Wisconsin earmarks $100m for real estate debt fund, CDPQ looks to form more investment partnerships

Wisconsin earmarks $100m for real estate debt fund

From PIonline.com: State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Madison, disclosed a commitment of $100 million to Heitman Real Estate Debt Partners II.

The board, which manages $132.1 billion in assets, including the $109.7 billion Wisconsin Retirement System, closed the commitment between Sept. 14 and Dec. 11, according to Dec. 22 investment committee meeting materials. More: Source

CDPQ looks to form more investment partnerships

From Asian Investor: For the Canadian pension fund, Covid-19 has underlined the value of tie-ups with local and global institutions, and of its long-standing focus on renewable energy.

Canada's CDPQ is a big fan of partnerships with like-minded investors. The public pension fund is not alone in that, but it has been a particularly keen facilitator of sharing knowledge and networks. More: Source

Investing: Tesla will rally another 10% to street-high price target of $810, Billionaire Andreas Halvorsen's top 10 stock picks

Tesla will rally another 10% to street-high price target of $810

From Business Insider: Morgan Stanley analysts lifted their price target for Tesla to a Wall Street-high of $810, implying a 10% rally over the next 12 months from Tuesday's close.

The bank expects vehicle volume to reach 5.2 million units by 2030, aided by the opening of two new factories. The bullish note lifted Tesla as much as 5.1% on Wednesday to a record intraday high. More: Source

Billionaire Andreas Halvorsen's top 10 stock picks

The billionaire Andreas Halvorsen's Viking Global Investors LP has beaten the broader market index in 2020 by returning 25% after management and performance fees. This is not the first time the Greenwich-based hedge fund has topped the market indices.

Between 1999 to 2009, Viking Global's Equities III fund has generated average returns of 22%. Moreover, its returns stood around 119% between June 2005 and March 2010, outperforming the MSCI World Index return of 11%. More: Source

SPACs: The SPAC bubble may burst-and not a day too soon, VC firm Fifth Wall plans property technology-focused SPAC

The SPAC bubble may burst-and not a day too soon

Frm WSJ: There's a growing fad on Wall Street: special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. Touted as a better way to take companies public, SPACs have raised more equity in 2020 than over the entire preceding decade. But please, take a minute before jumping in-our research suggests that this trend will end poorly for a large majority of investors.

A SPAC is a shell company that a "sponsor" investor or group organizes and takes public in an initial public offering. Once public, the company has no operations. It simply holds cash-typically, $200 million to $400 million-and has two years to find a private company with which to merge and thereby bring public. More: Source

VC firm Fifth Wall plans property technology-focused SPAC

From Bloomberg: Fifth Wall, a Los Angeles-based venture firm, is planning to raise capital through a special purpose acquisition company, a sign that the momentum behind a vehicle that became mainstream in 2020 has continued into the new year.

The firm, founded by Brad Greiwe and Brendan Wallace, selected underwriters for a blank-check company that's set to seek out a target in the property-technology sector, said people with knowledge of the matter. A listing could occur as soon as the current quarter, one of the people said. More: Source

People: Euan Munro named CEO of BNY Mellon IM's Newton, State Street brings on J.P. Morgan executive for asset owners role

Euan Munro named CEO of BNY Mellon IM's Newton

Newton Investment Management (Newton), part of BNY Mellon Investment Management, announced today the appointment of Euan Munro as its chief executive officer (CEO), subject to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approval in the UK. Euan will join Newton on June 23, 2021 and will report to Hanneke Smits, CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management.

Euan's accomplished investment career spans three decades. Most recently, Euan was CEO of Aviva Investors and a member of the global executive committee for seven years. More: Source

State Street brings on J.P. Morgan executive for asset owners role

From PIonline.com: Benjie Fraser joined State Street as head of asset owners for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, a spokeswoman confirmed. Mr. Fraser joined the custodian on Monday. Further details about the position were not available.

State Street has $34.4 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration. Mr. Fraser was managing director and global pensions executive at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.'s securities services business. More: Source

Crypto: Bitcoin's biggest fans are hedge fund baby boomers, Crypto market cap breaks $1tn following jaw-dropping rally, Institutional investor executes one of the largest crypto trades in history on coinbase

Bitcoin's biggest fans are hedge fund baby boomers

From Bloomberg: Bitcoin is the ideal holiday gift for an underperforming hedge fund manager. Just ask SkyBridge Capital's Anthony Scaramucci, who is diving in after his fund of hedge funds posted its worst annual performance since 2008. That's unlikely to be a coincidence.

Whatever one's misgivings about the sustainability of the cryptocurrency's price rally - it has doubled in one month to a $35,000 record - it's a happier tale to tell the market than the bad structured-credit bets that saw SkyBridge clients ask for their money back. At around $40 million, this crypto bet looks like a fig leaf next to the firm's overall assets of $7 billion, but one in tune with the times. More: Source

Crypto market cap breaks $1tn following jaw-dropping rally

From Coin Telegraph: The total cryptocurrency market capitalization - a major bellwether for the overall health of the digital asset class - broke $1 trillion for the first time ever at 19:00 ET on Tuesday January 6th. Bitcoin briefly topped $37,000 around the same time, marking a new record high.

Measured by market cap, the crypto asset class has virtually doubled over the past month as Bitcoin (BTC) broke out to new all-time highs and Ether (ETH) cleared $1,100 for the first time in three years. Combined, both assets account for roughly two-thirds of the overall market. More: Source

Bitcoin ranks ninth largest asset in the world, moving closer to Alibaba and Tesla

More: Source

Institutional investor executes one of the largest crypto trades in history on coinbase

From Dailyhodl: Hedge fund management firm One River Asset Management has emerged as a major player in the crypto space after executing one of the largest crypto asset trades in history on Coinbase.

In a blog post, the crypto exchange's head of institutional sales Brett Tejpaul says that One River teamed up with Coinbase Institutional to complete a large transaction without moving market prices. More: Source

SWF: Norway wealth fund rides out pandemic with diverse portfolio, From hedge fund to sovereign wealth: Norway's investment chief eyes active approach

Norway wealth fund rides out pandemic with diverse portfolio

From Reuters: Norway's $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, said the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent financial market upheaval had shown the importance of a diverse portfolio.

The fund, which invests revenue from Norway's oil, holds stakes in around 9,000 companies and owns around 1.5% of all globally listed shares, as well as fixed-income and real estate. More: Source

From hedge fund to sovereign wealth: Norway's investment chief eyes active approach

From FT: Nicolai Tangen is used to turning heads in his native Norway. Several years ago, when he was a successful hedge fund manager in London, he arrived at the weekly regatta in a millionaires' playground in the south of the country in a shiny modernised vessel that put the other shabby chic boats in the shade.

"Everybody else turns up in fairly ordinary boats but Nicolai's looked like he'd spent a lot of money on it," said one onlooker in Blindleia, perhaps Norway's most exclusive area for summer cabins. More: Source

U.S.: Florida is fast becoming the second home for Wall Street

From Forbes: It's a cliche that New Yorkers move to sunny Florida when they retire. This trope is being updated. Now top Wall Street, hedge funds and financial services firms are moving out of New York and relocating or opening up offices in the Sunshine State.

Virtu Financial Inc, a highly successful electronic trading firm that made about "$9.6 million a day" during the third quarter of 2020, is the most recent Wall Street player to set-up shop in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. More: Source

Europe: Boutique lobby group steps up calls for post-Brexit fund structure, Investors face data gaps as they adjust portfolios to EU taxonomy

Boutique lobby group steps up calls for post-Brexit fund structure

From City Wire: The UK needs to develop a fund structure that can rival Ucits and Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) regimes and allow for greater regional growth in fund management, according to a lobby group that works on behalf of boutique asset managers.

New City Initiative (NCI), which is made up primarily of UK members but with some European firms, said the UK government needs to move beyond its London-centric view of the industry, which would necessitate development of a bespoke fund structure. More: Source

Investors face data gaps as they adjust portfolios to EU taxonomy

From SP Global: Investors face major challenges in plugging data gaps as they bring their portfolios into line with new EU sustainable finance regulations by 2022, and data is set to remain patchy for the coming years as investors and companies apply the new rules to their strategies.

By Jan. 1, 2022, investors managing environmental, social and governance-related funds will have to explain how they use an EU classification system, or taxonomy, to determine the sustainability of their investments. More: Source

Asia: China widens annuities asset options, adds HK access, Chinese fund managers rush to capitalize on investors' green fever, Hong Kong asset managers jumping at investors' need for income, Hong Kong IPOs forecast to raise record amount in 2021, PwC says

China widens annuities asset options, adds HK access

From Asian Investor: The country is letting its annuities retirement funds invest more capital into onshore equities and, for the first time, Hong Kong assets.

Chinese enterprise and occupational annuities funds have been permitted to invest up to 40% of their investment portfolio into equity assets and invest into Hong Kong-based assets More: Source

Chinese fund managers rush to capitalize on investors' green fever

From Reuters: Chinese money managers are rushing to launch new energy funds, seeking to capitalize on investors' green fever which has been fuelled by President Xi Jinping's carbon neutrality pledge.

China's first photovoltaic industry exchange-traded fund (ETF), launched by Huatai-PineBridge Fund Management Co in December attracted hot demand, with assets under management jumping nearly six-fold in just a month to 10 billion yuan ($1.55 billion). More: Source

Hong Kong asset managers jumping at investors' need for income

From The Asset: Hong Kong asset managers are jumping at the opportunity presented by investors seeking income post-pandemic by launching benchmark-agnostic, bottom-up managed funds, designed to source yield from Asian equities and high-yield bonds.

This week alone, HSBC Global Asset Management and Pictet Asset Management launched separate income funds designed for retail investors. Both funds are premised on the fundamental view that the Asian region will be the best-performing market in 2021 as the adverse impact of Covid-19 slowly dissipates with the advent of the vaccine. More: Source

Hong Kong IPOs forecast to raise record amount in 2021, PwC says

From Finance Asia: Initial public offerings in Hong Kong are poised to flourish for yet another year in 2021, with listings by biotech companies continuing to make waves, according to accounting and consulting firm PwC.

Total funds raised by IPOs in the city could rise to between HK$420 billion $54.2 billion and HK$460 billion $59.3 billion this year as companies form a beeline to raise funds for their corporate development. More: Source

PE/VC: Private equity and the leverage myth

From All About Alpha: The private equity market is on an astonishing growth trajectory. It grew by $4 trillion over the past decade and is forecast to grow by another $2 trillion in the next five years. At State Street, the feedback we are receiving from clients is consistent with this trend.

Many of our pension, endowment and sovereign wealth fund clients tell us that their demand for private equity investments continues to outstrip supply. The capital calls just don't come in fast enough for them to hit, let alone maintain, their target allocation to the asset class. They are chronically underweight. More: Source

Outlook: Investor outlook: What's in store for 2021, Investment key to successful COVID-19 recovery - World Bank

Investor outlook: What's in store for 2021

From Finance Asia: After the challenging year that 2020 turned out to be because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is where market participants at some of the most influential fund houses see the biggest opportunities and challenges of 2021.

Broad market trends remain favourable for the region in 2021 investor sentiment is strong following the US election positioning levels in risk assets remain uncrowded cash holdings are high financial conditions easy and expected to remain so even with an anticipated recovery in economic activity. More: Source

Investment key to successful COVID-19 recovery - World Bank

From PIonline.com: The recovery of the global economy will likely be subdued unless policymakers work to combat the pandemic and put in place investment-enhancing reforms, the World Bank has warned.

The bank said it expects the global economy to grow by 4% this year, assuming the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines becomes widespread. That forecast is down 0.2 percentage points vs. a projection made in June. More: Source

ESG: Investors see ESG conundrum - survey

From PIonline.com: Most institutional investors use internal research along with third-party sources to identify material ESG risks, but do not see ESG being widely implemented in investment decisions, according to a Bank of America survey.

Among attendees, 80% said they conduct internal research, and that their priority is standardized corporate disclosure. More than 80% saw ESG as helping to improve management of investment risks, double the rate of investors using ESG as part of their fiduciary duty. Yet Two-thirds of respondents believe that less than 50% of global investors are implementing ESG in their investment process, and that only one-third in private markets are doing so. More: Source

Activists: Prominent activist investors post record 2020 returns despite pandemic-muted activity, Sydney hedge fund plans hostile takeover of Amaysim

Prominent activist investors post record 2020 returns despite pandemic-muted activity

From Reuters: Some investors including William Ackman and Glenn Welling, who push corporations to perform better, posted record-breaking returns in 2020 when activist investors generally backed off demands during a year marked by wild and unexpected business conditions.

Ackman's publicly traded Pershing Square Holdings fund rose 70.2%, marking the best-ever return at his 16-year-old firm Pershing Square Capital Management and one of the best in the hedge fund industry. In 2019, the fund rose 58%, also a record. More: Source

Sydney hedge fund plans hostile takeover of Amaysim

From AFR: The battle for Amaysim has taken another extraordinary turn, as obscure Sydney-based hedge fund RAMCap has vowed to go directly to shareholders with its bid after the board of the $220 million telco refused to engage with an earlier offer.

The bid will rival an existing bid by Geoff Wilson's WAM Capital, which already has board approval. It had looked like a done deal before RAMCap made its surprise approach just before Christmas, which the board batted away. More: Source

News Briefs: The unbeatable Ed Hyman, Covid-19: Family offices warned portfolio response may be too little, Under government pressure, Alibaba seeks up to $8bn from bond sale, How to double the size of an investment firm in a pandemic

The unbeatable Ed Hyman

From Institutional Investor: It is a truth universally acknowledged that Edward S. Hyman Jr. is Wall Street's greatest living economist. And a nice guy too. The former has been documented every October since 1976 in Institutional Investor. The latter, most recently by everyone interviewed for this article.

After a total of 40 years as the No.1 analyst in economics on the All-America Research Team, another four in second place, and a single appearance as a runner-up, you might wonder when enough will be enough for Ed Hyman, who is now 75. I was tasked with finding out how much longer he plans to stay in the game. That would be a great scoop. Might he be architecting a graceful exit sometime soon? More: Source

Covid-19: Family offices warned portfolio response may be too little

From Funds Europe: The majority of family offices will not significantly alter their asset allocation strategies in 2021 despite the likely market turbulence and challenging economic conditions that lie ahead.This is the chief finding from a survey of family offices conducted by BlackRock. Of the 185 offices that were canvassed, only 23% said that they plan to make material changes to their asset allocations.

BlackRock ascribes this to the long-term investment outlook adopted by most family offices. However, the asset manager also warned against viewing the events of 2020 as simply short-term volatility and ignoring the likely long-term impacts. More: Source

Under government pressure, Alibaba seeks up to $8bn from bond sale

From Nikkei: Alibaba Group Holding is set to raise up to $8 billion this month in its first offshore bond sale since 2017 even as the company comes under unprecedented regulatory pressure in China.

According to three people familiar with its plans, China's largest e-commerce company is set to market at least $5 billion in bonds of varying durations that would be fixed after further discussion with prospective investors. More: Source

How to double the size of an investment firm in a pandemic

From Bloomberg: Doubling the size of an investment advisory firm is hard even without a pandemic. But Dave Welling, the chief executive officer of Mercer Advisors and this week's guest on the Masters in Business podcast, did it.

Welling explains how the firm, which has been around for 35 years, began to grow through acquisitions four years ago and kept it up last year. The Denver-based registered investment advisor has 450 employees and manages more than $21 billion. Welling's nontraditional career path, which included experience in consulting, private equity and technology, has given him a unique perspective on the financial services business. More: Source

And, finally: Of course what's needed is a committee now

From The Kathmandu Post: The 69 passengers who boarded Buddha Air Flight U4505 in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Dec. 18, expecting to fly to Janakpur, about 140 miles southeast, were surprised when they arrived instead in Pokhara, about 125 miles in the opposite direction.

Weather and flight delays may have been factors, an airline spokesperson told The Kathmandu Post, resulting in "a miscommunication between the ground staff and the pilots."

The passengers were promptly flown to their preferred destination a few hours behind schedule, and Buddha Air Managing Director Birendra Bahadur Basnet announced that a committee has been formed to investigate the incident.