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What is the right time to hedge a portfolio & how to better sell alternative investments - Switzerland Roundtable

 

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For a number of reasons, more quantitative and systematic investment managers have recently set up in Switzerland, whose pension system is also discussed in this Roundtable in great detail.

On the investor side we generally see a much higher degree of uncertainty than in previous years. Equity multiples are on the upper end, despite the recent October/November corrections; fixed income suffers from gradual quantitative tightening and the reversal of asset purchase programs by central banks; real estate and private equity are expensive and in their late stages while at the same time investors' required returns cannot really be much more reduced.

For 30 years, interest rates have come down, and most money managers these days have never experienced that when equity markets go down, that maybe they will lose on the bond and the fixed income allocation too. Given this outlook, it may be imprudent to skip alternatives or hedge funds per se. However, due to the perceived underperformance of hedge funds and the fact that illiquid asset classes have had a good run in the last ten years, many alternative investors have turned to those asset classes. But markets move in cycles, and passive investors will probably feel any future pain more.

Some investors and even consultants are therefore turning their attention to active liquid, unconstrained managers, particularly to quantitative and systematic strategies which generally have the benefit that they can be analyzed in greater detail. With the recently more normalized volatility regime, many of these strategies have also started to work better again. It's also easier to see weaknesses in systematic strategies because you can know better when they will work and when they will not work. This then also makes it easier, from a portfolio perspective, to find something that works well when the other one doesn't.

The Opalesque Switzerland Roundtable, sponsored by Eurex, took place in Zug with:

  1. Dr. Christian Kurz, Managing Partner & CIO, Strongbox Capital
  2. Daniel von Allmen, Chairman & CIO, Progressive Capital
  3. Eduardo Montes, Founder & CEO, MaCX Asset AG
  4. Ivan Popovic, Managing Partner & CEO, Tolomeo Capital
  5. Markus Matuszek, CFA, Managing Partner & CIO, M17 Capital Management
  6. Sebastian Schaefer, Managing Partner & Founder, Green Shoots Capital
  7. Vincenzo Zinnà, Equity and Index Sales, Eurex
The group also discussed:
  • Opportunities with semi-liquid niche alternative products (page 8). Investor-friendly: Sharing a single high watermark (page 24). What happened to 1 or 30 fees? (page 15)
  • Should investors be adding to Private Equity now? (page 7-8). Risks in fixed income and private debt (page 9)
  • What is the right time to hedge a portfolio? (page 8). How should you time hedge funds? (page 10, 12)
  • Swiss Pension Fund system: Risks of pure passive equities (page 9). Costs of lack of resources and specialization (page 15-16, 19-20). Reducing TER doesn't mean improving net returns at the same time (page 20). Why SUVA is leading the way (page 21)
  • What's a consultant's job, really? How to benchmark consultants (page 10, 19)
  • How to (better) sell alternative investments (page 12-21). Is the sales cycle for alternatives getting longer and longer? (page 13-14)
  • Why people got hedge fund analysis wrong, very wrong (page 13-15) Hedge fund transparency and why the mutual fund industry celebrated big time five years after 2008 (page 15)
  • Eurex' new six factor futures on iSTOXX and other innovations (page 22-23)

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