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Maybe the current emphasis on (avoiding) volatility needs to be reconsidered - Opalesque Miami Roundtable

 

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After having attracted firms like Universa from California, or David Tepper and Ed Lampert from Connecticut, Miami and the South Florida financial market keeps growing and expanding. All participants at this Roundtable came over the past years to Miami and have created alternative investment firms or run strategies here, or they invest in them from Miami. Local investors are excited about their ability to tap into quality professionals and the development of a buy-side culture which is increasingly complementing the traditionally strong private-banking side.

Away from the “echo chamber” of a New York or London, the managers in Miami are convinced they are ideally set up for independent research, allowing them to come to conclusions which are “clean,” i.e. objective and unbiased. There is also a strong sense of community and cooperation not seen in the major asset management centers. However, while more and more hedge funds and alternative investment managers succeed operating from there, this doesn’t mean there are no challenges.

Maybe the current emphasis on (avoiding) volatility needs to be reconsidered

Howard Marks talks about the idea that volatility is not risk, so long as you can tolerate it. But today, it seems that different investor types who, based on the nature of their semi-permanent or permanent assets, theoretically could stomach volatility, are not willing to. Their demand is for lower volatility products, and the hedge fund industry will eventually react to what the clients want.

But in this case, when clients are potentially focused on the wrong factor, maybe it’s only natural that hedge funds, in reacting and managing for lower volatility, will also earn far lower returns. For example, equity hedge funds are among those who tend to be hedged during environments like the one we are in, but unless you were 100% long, the entire time from January 1, 2009 until now, at least in most markets, you’d be underperforming. So maybe this current emphasis on (avoiding) volatility needs to be reconsidered, especially for institutional investors. With such large pools of semi-permanent or permanent assets, well then, volatility is your friend.

Understanding the healthcare revolution: How to make money in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and specialty pharmaceuticals

Dr. Shaheen Wirk, who started his fund with a seed from Julian Robertson, graduated 13 years ago, and the difference between then and now in biotech and pharmaceuticals is that the technology and the science has now become widespread and affordable. Wirk said that when he was in medical school, anyone who was doing meaningful science or creating anything that mattered in the medical field worked either at a place like Pfizer or Harvard. That is no longer the case. There has been a vast dissemination of the skills, talent, and tools of discovery while the costs have simultaneously come down. The result is that there are many more opportunities for identifying meaningful medical innovation within companies that did not even exist 15 years ago. Wirk believes we are in the midst of an innovation cycle that will last on the order of decades.

The Opalesque 2017 Miami Roundtable took place at the office of the Downtown Development Agency in Miami with:

  1. Al Bhatt, Director - Investments, Forbes 400 Family Office
  2. Julie Neitzel, Partner, WE Family Offices
  3. Dr. Shaheen Wirk, Founder, Palkon Capital Management
  4. Pratik Sharma, Founder, Atyant Capital
  5. Joaquin Dulitzky, Director, BiscayneAmericas
  6. Scott Paige, Portfolio Manager, Apollo Aviation Group
The group also discussed:
  • What is the general thesis for inclusion of hedge funds in a portfolio? What are the responsibilities of the investor when doing so?
  • Was the Harvard endowment making more money when investing internally or when using external managers?
  • Why, despite the current boom, is original analysis and orthogonal thinking in healthcare actually uncommon?
  • Why should investors shift their focus from funds to exposures?
  • How are the mistakes hedge fund managers are making with the “Three Cs” (Cost, Capacity, and Concentration) affecting their business?
  • - Why does a hedge fund manager think that the industry needs to shrink by probably 65% or 70%?
  • How can quant overlays help fundamentally based managers?
  • At which level of concentration trusts “uber quant” Cliff Asness more a human than a computer?
  • Will infrastructure be the next wave of fiscal monetary stimulus? Opportunities in emerging market local currency bonds.
Enjoy!

Matthias Knab
Knab@Opalesque.com

Access the Opalesque Roundtable Series - Miami 2017 | Download here

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