Yale’s Actively Managed Fund Performance Waning

The majority of the Yale University endowment fund is invested with active managers but, if you compare its returns to low-cost active strategies rather than to passive indices, “Yale’s active managers don’t look so special,” writes Bloomberg’s Nir Kaissar. In its recently released 2016 annual report, the article says the esteemed university’s endowment rebutted “fee bashers” by arguing, “The important metric is net returns, not gross fees.” Kaissar points out, however, that Yale’s attempt to substantiate high fees in the name of net returns is no longer valid.  While low-cost “smart-beta” funds haven’t been around long enough to allow a […]

Tiger Cubs are Licking Their Wounds

A generation of hedge-fund firms started by protégés Tiger Global Management’s Julian Robertson, known as “Tiger Cubs”, are “among of wave of stock hedge funds that fared poorly in 2016,” says a Wall Street Journal article from earlier this month. Last year, the article states, Tiger suffered losses of about $900 million (a 15.3% loss) and, according to Morgan Stanley data, only one-fifth of the 8.5% gained by the MSCI AC World index last year (excluding December) came from equity hedge funds, a relative return that was “the second worst since the 2008 financial crisis.” Tiger Cubs, considered “bottom-up” stock […]

Bridgewater Has Strong Showing in 2016

Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates earned almost  $5 billion for its clients last year according to a report by hedge-fund investor LCH Investments NV, versus losses suffered by rivals George Soros and John Paulson. This according to a recent Bloomberg article. In fact, the article points out, Bridgewater was the “most lucrative, in absolute terms, of the top-20 hedge funds ranked, and bucked the trend of a generally disappointing year for the industry.” In the report, LCH chairman Rick Sopher writes, “Even the managers with the greatest long-term records did not perform strongly and their results were no better than the […]

Pushing the Envelope Has Paid Off for Select Hedge Funds

On the whole, the past year hasn’t been great for hedge funds, but those who “ventured far afield” seemed to do better, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. Specifically, the article says that some of the biggest profits materialized in “areas less frequently traded” including: Russia and Central Asia: One of the world’s biggest Russia-focused hedge fund firms, Moscow-based Prosperity Capital Management (approximately $3.3 billion in assets), reported a 57% gain in its flagship fund (as of December 22, 2016). The article quotes their Chief Investment Advisor, Alexander Branis, who said he has been “encouraged by […]

Hedge Fund Managers Search for Alpha in Big Data

If the world’s annual data generation was loaded into iPad Air tablets, says a recent Financial Times article, “the pile would reach from the earth to the moon more than six times over.” Technology companies can harvest information from consumer emails and online receipts which can then be “scraped, aggregated and sold to investment firms looking for tradable signals, or to use the jargon—’market-beating alpha’.” However, the article explains, “The investment industry’s push into alternative data raises some potentially awkward questions.” Even though the data is supposedly “scrubbed” of any personal consumer information, the standards “are far from uniform” which […]