All Posts by cfaille

All entries by this author

Lewis’ Heroes Get an Exchange for Their Speed Bump

Jun 26th, 2016 | Filed under: Algorithmic and high-frequency trading, Business News, Equity Hedge Funds, Hedge Fund Strategies, Hedge Funds, Newly Added

On Friday, June 17, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved the promotion of IEX from an ATS to a proper exchange. Thereby it gave a new ending of sorts to Michael Lewis’ book, Flash Boys. One of the big issues for both proponents and opponents of IEX’ application to becomeRead More


New AIMA Guide: 7 Themes for Investor Relations Professionals

Jun 23rd, 2016 | Filed under: Alternative Investments in Context, Industry Size & Managers, Investor Relations, Newly Added, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry, The A.I. Industry

In October 2015, a scholar at the University of Toronto wrote a paper on what he called the “paranoid style of investment lawyers and arbitrators,” bemoaning an increasingly shrill and belligerent tone in the investment world of late. If there is such paranoia, one probable contributor, and one possible consequenceRead More


Puerto Rico: The New Argentina?

Jun 21st, 2016 | Filed under: Business News, Event-Driven Hedge Funds, Finance & Economics, Hedge Funds, Newly Added

Puerto Rico and various instrumentalities thereof may default on debt within days. If they do so, this will happen without the benefit of an applicable bankruptcy system or other legislated means of restructuring, without a referee if you will, unless Congress acts decisively within a matter of days, something thatRead More


Factor-Based Asset Allocation

Jun 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Asset allocation, Asset Allocation Models, Commodities, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Smart Beta

A paper by Xiaowei Kang and Daniel Ung, published in June 2014, remains timely because risk parity and related approaches remain the center of controversy and some confusion. The Kang & Ung paper looked at three approaches to risk factor based portfolio construction, studying specifically the practical aspects of theRead More


Canadian Universities and Interest Rate Swaps

Jun 16th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Endowments & Foundations, Institutional Asset Management, Institutional Investing, Newly Added

Two scholars looked recently at the behavior of Canadian universities regarding the management of their interest rate risk. They found something peculiar. The universities are making an increased use of interest-rate swaps, apparently under the impression that they are hedging against risks. But they aren’t. Almost all the swaps enteredRead More


Centripetal versus Centrifugal Force: Fund Marketing in Europe

Jun 14th, 2016 | Filed under: Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Regulatory, Regulatory Environment, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry, The A.I. Industry, UCITs

On June 2, 2016 the EC issued a consultation document of interest to the many alpha seekers who would like to market their funds in one or more of the countries of the Eurozone. In a sense, its interest is much broader than that, because it fits into a veryRead More


How Risk Management Resembles Meteorology: A White Paper

Jun 12th, 2016 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Operations and Risk Management, Newly Added, Risk management, Risk Management & Operations, Risk Management Strategies & Processes

A new white paper from Campbell & Co. discusses the negative skew that is often a characteristic of portfolio returns, and the ways in which trend following can achieve positive skew instead. The paper is effectively advertised by its title, “Taming of the Skew.” The authors begin with distinctions amongRead More


Long/Short Equity: NB Makes the Case

Jun 9th, 2016 | Filed under: Equity Hedge Funds, Hedge Fund Strategies, Hedge Funds, Liquid Alternative Investiments, Liquid Alts, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I.

A new paper from Neuberger Berman, an employee owned private investment firm that’s been part of the New York scene since 1939, makes the case that long/short equity strategies are “worth consideration as part of an investor’s equity allocation and the overall investment mix.” The paper is written by JulianaRead More


Giving the Baron King of Lothbury his Due

Jun 7th, 2016 | Filed under: Business News, Finance & Economics, Insolvency, Newly Added, The Global Economy & Currencies

The Bank of England is not only the central bank of the United Kingdom, in continuous operation since 1694; it is the model upon which central banking worldwide has been created. The Mother Central Bank is what it is. Mervyn King, the chief economist of the Bank of England throughRead More


Somebody Has to Crunch These Numbers: Infrastructure Cash Flow

Jun 5th, 2016 | Filed under: Infrastructure, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets, Real Assets

EDHEC Infrastructure Institute-Singapore recently released a paper on the cash flow dynamics of private infrastructure project debt. The gist of the paper is that investors’ ability to understand credit risk in private infrastructure debt turns on advanced statistical techniques. Or, in the authors’ words, “the nature of the data requiresRead More


The Case Against a Bearish Argument on Crude Oil

Jun 2nd, 2016 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities: Examples, Newly Added, oil

  A recent Bloomberg story indicates that in a world  awash in cheap crude oil, traders are now storing the stuff at a loss, at sea, on board vessels in the Straits of Malacca. Further, they are going into debt so they can bear this loss. Citing Morgan Stanley analysts,Read More


Consequences of the Paris Climate Agreement

Jun 1st, 2016 | Filed under: Business News, Equity Hedge Funds, Finance & Economics, Hedge Funds, Insolvency, Newly Added

In early December 2015, representatives of 196 parties met in Paris, France, to discuss climate change, and the necessary reduction of greenhouse gas emissions on a global basis.  The result, the “Paris Climate Agreement,” seeks to limit warming to just 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, through aRead More


Puerto Rico and Bankruptcy

May 30th, 2016 | Filed under: Business News, Event-Driven Hedge Funds, Finance & Economics, Hedge Funds, Insolvency, Newly Added

The bankruptcies of public bond-issuing entities, such as Orange County, Calif.; Jefferson County, Ala.; and the City of Detroit, Mich. are still rare events, but they exert a lot of influence, in part because they demonstrate the possibility of that which isn’t supposed to be possible. The sort of entityRead More


Investors ‘Misoverestimate’ ETFs and a Push Towards ESG

May 26th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., ETFs, Industry Size & Managers, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Socially responsible investing, SRI and Clean Energy, The A.I. Industry

In a newly released report, Natixis Global Asset Management speaks to the quite positive views of passive investment vehicles and exchange traded funds that it finds in today’s marketplace.  Their report inspires the neologism “misoverestimate,” as a logical analog of a former U.S. president’s term, “misunder ….” A Natixis surveyRead More


A Review of the Commodity Index/Global Hunger Controversy

May 24th, 2016 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Commodities, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added

The consensus in market scholarship seems to be not only that “still waters run deep” but that deep waters run still. The greater the depth of volume in a commodity, the lesser the volatility of that commodity’s price. (This of course requires the usual “other things being equal” caveat.) ThisRead More


Tricky Times for Hedge Funds and a Lot of Negative YTD Performances

May 22nd, 2016 | Filed under: Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Equity Hedge Funds, Fees, Hedge Fund Strategies, Hedge Funds, Indexes, Newly Added, Performance, Analytics & Metrics, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

A slim majority of hedge fund managers are in the red year to date, through April, according to the latest report from Eurekahedge. Specifically, 51.4% of managers have negative YTD performance. Over the same period in 2015, the analogous number was only 21.2%. That is a good indication of whatRead More


Platts Windows and Cash Settlements

May 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities: Examples, Newly Added, oil

The “Platts window,” a metaphorical structure named after the influential provider of benchmark price assessments in various energy markets, consists of the final few minutes of trading, the period in the operation of an exchange when an aggressive player can have a big effect on the closing price.  A recentRead More


Credit Derivatives in China: A 2014 Presentation Recalled

May 19th, 2016 | Filed under: Newly Added, Risk management, Risk Management Strategies & Processes

The People’s Bank of China launched two seemingly important products in 2010: the Credit Risk Mitigation Agreement and the Credit Risk Mitigation Warrant. I refer to them as “seemingly” important because they addressed a large issue in a vast economy, and did so in what seemed to many a commendablyRead More


The Alberta Approach to Benchmarking & Performance Attribution

May 18th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Industry Size & Managers, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

The Alberta Management Investment Corp. began life in 2008, as a successor to a division of Alberta Finance. It became a crown corporation in order to better manage the allocation of assets for twenty-six pension funds and investment plans. Its leaders initiated a review and soon discovered that they hadRead More


Global Focus Capital: Market’s Inflationary Expectations Are Too Low

May 12th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Commodities, Currencies, Finance & Economics, Macroeconomics, Newly Added, The Global Economy & Currencies

Investors can get ahead of events by aligning their portfolios to “a world of lower expected capital market returns and higher forward volatility.” That, at any rate, is the upshot of a thoughtful analysis by Eric J. Wiegel of Global Focus Capital, a Boston based asset allocation advisor. Why doesRead More


Trust Isn’t Just a Nice Warm Feeling

May 10th, 2016 | Filed under: Behavioral finance, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Newly Added

Ross Levine, professor of finance at the University of California, Berkeley, and two scholars from Hong Kong (Professors Chen Lin and Wensi Xie) have published a study of corporate resilience in the face of a banking crisis. Their paper addresses a problem inherent in the relationship between Wall Street andRead More


Escape to the Internet? Or Build Better Communities?

May 8th, 2016 | Filed under: Currencies, Digital currencies, Newly Added, Operations, Other Topics in A.I., Risk Management & Operations, Technology, The Global Economy & Currencies

Dissatisfaction with the fiat money issued by or on signals from central bankers will not go away. Talk of “printing press” money seems quaint, as when people of my generation still refer to a keyboard as a “typewriter.” Central banks and their servants (and their servers) around the world engage,Read More


Dry Bulk Shipping Recovery: Three Causes

May 5th, 2016 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities: Examples, Equity Hedge Funds, Hard metals, Hedge Funds, Newly Added

The value of the equity of Star Bulk (SBLK) has risen since the start of the year from $0.616 to just above an even dollar per share.  This is part of a broader trend. The dry bulk shipping industry, long in free fall, may have found its bottom. This isRead More


The SEC: Still Fiddling with a 1940 Era Carburetor 

May 3rd, 2016 | Filed under: Alternative Mutual Funds, Liquid Alternative Investiments, Liquid Alts, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Regulatory, Regulatory Environment, The A.I. Industry

Steven A. Keen of Perkins Coie has posted an insightful discussion of section 18 of the Investment Company Act of 1940, and of the pending proposed regulation under that mandate, Rule 18f-4, on one of that firm’s blogs, the Derivatives & Repo Report. Both that proposal and Keen’s observations areRead More


Brexit and Derivatives: Allen & Overy’s Views

May 1st, 2016 | Filed under: Due Diligence Process, Newly Added, Regulatory Environment, Risk Management & Operations, The A.I. Industry

A decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union could be a bad thing for the derivatives markets. But from a legal standpoint there isn’t a lot that can be done about it in advance, and the existing Master Agreement for derivatives needs no change. Those are theRead More


Risk Management & the Trouble with Capacity-Driven Decisions

Apr 28th, 2016 | Filed under: Commodities, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added, Risk management, Risk Management & Operations, Risk Management Strategies & Processes

A recent CAIA member contribution by Kathryn Kaminski, director of investment strategies at Campbell & Co., discusses the quantification of CTA risk management.  It is worth a look, not least because it amounts to a warning about how underperformance can result for the re-jiggering of allocation for capacity constraints. KaminskiRead More


Thoughts on the Valuation of Secured Assets of a Bankrupt Debtor

Apr 26th, 2016 | Filed under: Business News, Event-Driven Hedge Funds, Finance & Economics, Hedge Funds, Insolvency, Newly Added

How should one value the assets of a bankrupt entity, especially those that secure its debt instruments? That is obviously a key question in the world of distressed-debt investing.  A 2014 report from a commission of the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the continued controversy over that commission’s proposals, offers usRead More


March Improved, but 2016 Still Rains Red for Hedge Funds

Apr 24th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., Alpha & Beta, Benchmarking & Performance Attribution, Equity Hedge Funds, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Fund Strategies, Hedge Funds, Newly Added

The latest report from Eurekahedge indicates that hedge funds worldwide gained in March, though by far less than the underlying markets gained during the same period. Specifically, the Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index gained 1.33 percent over the month, while the MSCI World Index, representing those underlying markets, gained 5.47 percent.Read More


Infrastructure, Dividends and Path Dependence

Apr 21st, 2016 | Filed under: Infrastructure, Newly Added, Operationally Intensive Real Assets, Real Assets

A new paper from EDHEC Infrastructure Institute-Singapore argues that infrastructure firms represent a unique business model, one with lower revenue volatility, higher payouts, and substantially lower correlation with the business cycle than other firms. An “infrastructure firm” for purposes of this discussion is either a special purpose vehicle created inRead More


The Value of a Proxy Access Mandate: Part Two

Apr 19th, 2016 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Financial Economics Theory, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

This is the conclusion of a two-part series on the issue of the value of a proxy access mandate. In the first part we looked specifically at a study the CFA Institute made public two years ago, one that has of late received renewed attention. It relied upon four scholarlyRead More


The Value of a Proxy Access Mandate: Part One

Apr 17th, 2016 | Filed under: CAPM / Alpha Theory, Finance & Economics, Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

This begins a two-part discussion of the issue of the value of a proxy access mandate. The question is an important one. It is prima facie wrong to create any new rule (whether it’s a corporate bylaw, a regulatory edict, an act of a legislature or anything else) unless thereRead More


An Edge that Everyone Else Has Figured Out Already

Apr 14th, 2016 | Filed under: Hedge Fund Industry Trends, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

Tiburon Capital Management has posted a paper about crowded trades and the resulting ‘avoid’ lists: that is, about those bright alpha-pursuant ideas that everybody else has figured out already, and that accordingly are bound to underperform. The paper (in its first footnote) tells an oft-told joke. It’ll be told againRead More


Data Exploitation for Asset Managers: A Survey and White Paper

Apr 12th, 2016 | Filed under: Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Risk Management Strategies & Processes, Structure of the Hedge Funds Industry

A new survey sponsored by Northern Trust suggests that asset managers need to capture more value from available data, and that in order to do so they need both a more flexible strategy and stronger leadership than many now have. The surveyors talked to more than 200 executives in insuranceRead More


The Impending Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) Mandates

Apr 10th, 2016 | Filed under: Newly Added, Regulatory, Regulatory Environment, The A.I. Industry

On July 3, 2016 the new Market Abuse Regulation comes into effect throughout Europe, pursuant to 2014 legislation. The member states have transposed the MAR into national law.  Stefan Hendrickx is the founder and executive Director of Ancoa, recently looked at the “race to the MAR deadline” from the point ofRead More


2016 Allocator Trends Report: Consensus and Dissension

Apr 7th, 2016 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added

Context Summits has published a detailed report on the views of those who allocate money into hedge funds. Almost everybody they talked to is in on the act. Ninety-six percent of investors expect to allocate to two or more hedge funds in 2016.  A majority (57%) were prepared to investRead More


Greek Debt: Back in the Headlines

Apr 4th, 2016 | Filed under: Business News, Finance & Economics, Insolvency, Newly Added, The Global Economy & Currencies

The issue of Greece’s insolvency had receded a bit from the headlines since the stormy days of last summer. Alpha-savvy readers will surely recall, though, that in July 2015, the Greek government and its European creditors reached a bailout agreement that required actions by the former, especially on pensions andRead More


Don’t Blame Bass for the Failure of Bear Stearns

Apr 3rd, 2016 | Filed under: Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Personalities in AI, The A.I. Industry, Who's Who

Prominent alpha seeker Kyle Bass is named in the March 29 Wall Street Journal with a headline and lead paragraph that suggest that he was the man who set in motion the avalanche that brought down Bear Stearns in the spring of 2008. The truth, as one discerns only fromRead More


The Puerto Rican Debt Crisis: Some Highlights Thus Far

Mar 31st, 2016 | Filed under: Business News, Event-Driven Hedge Funds, Finance & Economics, Hedge Funds, Insolvency, Newly Added

It has happened before. An insolvent public entity, whether a sovereign nation, state, county, or other, can’t pay its bills and blames the crisis on the ‘vulture’ hedge funds taking its instruments from their first buyers for pennies on the dollar. The leaders of the insolvent entity thereby deflect blameRead More


Where We Stand With Blockchains: Bet on the Disruption

Mar 29th, 2016 | Filed under: Currencies, Digital currencies, Emerging Alternative Investments, Finance & Economics, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., The Global Economy & Currencies

Chris Skinner has a new book out, ValueWeb, which describes in the words of its lengthy subtitle “how FinTech Firms are Using Bitcoin Blockchain and Mobile Technologies to Create the Internet of Value.” It may appear to a cynic that Skinner is simply entering the already crowded sweepstakes for “whoRead More


The ECB’s March Announcements:   Some Facts and Some Philosophy

Mar 27th, 2016 | Filed under: Currencies, Macroeconomics, Newly Added, The Global Economy & Currencies

On March 10, the European Central Bank announced an eagerly awaited new round of stimulus measures. This fell flat, and it has left some people wondering whether the bazookas of the central banks have become pop guns. As Andrew Bosomworth put it, in PIMCO’s blog, the ECB ”ticked all theRead More


Weeden Suggests Half-a-Loaf for IEX

Mar 23rd, 2016 | Filed under: Industry Size & Managers

As regular readers know, AllAboutAlpha has been following the continuing controversy over IEX, the ATS designed by Brad Katsuyama around a “speed bump.” For the uninitiated, that speed bump is a trick for saving institutional investors from the rigors of an otherwise-necessary arms race with the high-frequency traders. Of late,Read More


Proposed Reg AT: Comments Pile Up at the CFTC

Mar 22nd, 2016 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities, Commodities: Examples, Energy, Newly Added, oil, Regulatory Environment, The A.I. Industry

The CFTC received a last-minute pile-up of comments on proposed rule 80 FR 78824, on automated trading. The commenters generally are not in a mood to pat the agency on its intangible back and congratulate it on a job well done. Quite the contrary. The notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM)Read More


Eurekahedge: From Latin America to Middle Earth 

Mar 20th, 2016 | Filed under: Allocating to A.I., CTA, Hedge Funds, Macro and Managed Futures Funds, Newly Added, Performance, Analytics & Metrics

The latest report from Eurekahedge tells us that hedge funds worldwide are down year-to-date through February, -1.27 percent. Dividing the industry by geographic mandates, Latin America is the only region to post YTD gains, +1.9% due to a rally in oil and commodities. Table 1, adapted from the report below,Read More


Cross-Border Insolvencies: Defection Isn’t the Only Problem

Mar 17th, 2016 | Filed under: Business News, Economics, Finance & Economics, Newly Added

A recent paper by Andrew Dawson, a law professor of the University of Miami, looks at the current cross-border insolvency framework from the point of view of the cultural differences that may be expressing themselves through the distinct systems on the opposite sides of many an international border.  His discussionRead More


Swaps Accounting: FVA as a Flawed Convention

Mar 15th, 2016 | Filed under: Equity Hedge Funds, Hedge Fund Strategies, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, Regulatory, Regulatory Environment, The A.I. Industry

Leif Anderson, co-head of the global quant group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and two co-authors have prepared a draft of a paper that appears to identify an important error in the conventions for adjustments that derivatives dealers make to the disclosed valuations of their swap books.  It soundsRead More


Wrestling with the Bifurcation of Crude Oil Pricing

Mar 13th, 2016 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities: Examples, Newly Added, oil

Platts, the provider of physicals and futures markets prices affiliated with McGraw Hill Financial, says that it is going to launch a new price reference for Dated Brent CIF Rotterdam.  That’s not obviously a stop-the-presses moment, even for the oil markets, but it is worth a pause. The problem forRead More


FCStone Financial on Grains and Volatility

Mar 10th, 2016 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities, Commodities: Examples, Finance & Economics, Forex, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added, The Global Economy & Currencies

A new white paper written by Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist for INTL FCStone Financial, discusses the consequence of the strong dollar of the last two years on the volatility of grain prices, focusing especially on corn. Before this period, there was the global financial crisis, and the “quantitative easing”Read More


Gold Markets Get a Leap Day Surprise from India

Mar 8th, 2016 | Filed under: Commodities, Commodities: Examples, Gold, Hard metals, Investing in Commodities, Newly Added

According to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Commitment of Trader’s Report, released Friday, February 26, speculators in gold recently increased their long position by 30,350 contracts.Read More


Strategy Idea: Short Sell High-DTC Stocks, Go Long Low-DTC Stocks

Mar 6th, 2016 | Filed under: Alpha Strategies, Equity Hedge Funds, Hedge Fund Strategies, Hedge Funds, Newly Added, The A.I. Industry

A recent paper correlating days-to-cover with stock returns finds a DTC premium effect and suggests that hedge funds might want to arbitrage it. This study begins with the crowded trade problem. With so many sophisticated investors in the markets, looking for or at the same arb opportunities, a number ofRead More


Federal Judge: Gingrich-Era Bars Not Easily Circumvented

Mar 3rd, 2016 | Filed under: Legislation/Court rulings, Newly Added, Other Topics in A.I., Regulatory Environment, Sales & Marketing in the AI Industry, The A.I. Industry

Lucy Koh, the US. District Court judge for the Northern District of California, has granted judgment for a defendant, Schwab Investments, in a much-watched case. Koh has short-circuited litigation in which plaintiffs sought recovery for the style drift that allegedly afflicted a number of Schwab entities as the globe headedRead More