Both private and community foundations depend heavily on U.S. equities. Indeed, domestic equities remained the bright spot while other strategies underperformed in 2014. A new report from a collaboration of the Council on Foundations and Commonfund provides food for thought about the reversal in foundation returns in that year. The Study of Foundations by this […]
Guest columnist Andrew Smith, CAIA, provides an overview of real assets and their commensurate risks and rewards.
Gold seems, to a larger extent than silver, and even more so to an extent larger than is true for palladium or platinum, to work as a true financial asset: decoupled from price developments in the commodity markets. It succeeds as a hedge against currency and stock-market trouble.
Faille spoke recently to Herman Weintraub, executive director and head of alternative investment practices at GFT, about the impact of the Basel III rule changes upon the HF industry. Weintraub says, one ought to look not at the parts, but at the whole.
Guest columnist Charles Skorina with a cautionary tale of greed and deceit and less-than-best practices at a large public pension plan.
Commissioner Gallagher contends that some recent enforcement actions "have unfairly contorted the rule to treat the compliance function as a new business line," thus giving compliance officers the unwelcome role of business heads. In this and other respects, Gallagher says the agency is setting up a perverse system of incentives for those who ought to be its allies, the CCOs of IAs.
Florida's State Board of Administration deserves some credit for undertaking a recent corporate governance study. Even trying to look at the consequences of its proxy-contest votes over a period of up to five years after they are cast seems to have shattered a glass ceiling separating actual institutional behavior from common sense.
A recent SEC finding at the expense of KKR illustrates the risk inherent in non-allocation, or careless allocation, of broken-deal expenses, and illustrates that lawyers don't necessarily use the word "deceit" to mean what one might think it means.
Perhaps the fate of Kweku Adoboli, whose roguish trading at UBS' expense came to light in September 2011, can serve now in the summer of 2015 as a caution for some in the European elite contemplating the long stand-off between Syriza and the Troika.
Two authors at EDHEC remind us that 15% of the assets in any ETF or ETF-like products for European investors were in smart-beta indexed products as of August 2014, and that this amount is growing. They discuss the extent to which investors are pleased with their results.
Judy Collins might suggest looking at risk from ‘both sides now.’ But it appears that according to DB at a critical moment in global financial history, risk existed only to the extent that it worked to enhance the value of DB positions: it didn’t exist in any sense that might have required a haircut.
How long will it take before the world again sees copper at around $10,000 a ton, the going price it touched (though briefly) in early 2011? Perhaps several more years and another full business cycle. There may be a lot of down before an upturn gets us there.
SPM "sticks out in [his] mind" as a successful manager with a "17 year track record" with returns in the mid 20s. "Where else are you going to get that?" Well, there is at least one other place that then comes to Brian Shapiro's thoughts: SPM's return compares to the return available from Elliott.
Bill Broeksmit, with whom Tavakoli worked closely at the interest-rate swaps desk at Merrill Lynch in the late 1980s, killed himself in January 2014. The manner of this death, and the circumstances surrounding it, give this book even more gravitas than would a global financial crisis or two.
Is it possible or desirable to separate "speculation" from operational hedging, so as to clear the way for industries to do the latter without the regulatory burdens that planners want to impose upon the former? Once Europe has decided that speculation is a bad thing, won't it end up pursuing the demon ways that will collapse the proposed distinction?
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, BMPS, the oldest bank in the world, has now admitted that its exposure to Nomura Holdings has exceeded the 25% cap set by Italy’s regulators. Faille can't think of a good alpha-winning play on this fact, but it does inspire him to re-work a Kipling poem.
Indexes labeled as representing developed market equity include companies with significant and increasing exposure to macro-economic trends in the emerging markets. A portfolio that tracks such an index may well have much more such exposure than its managers or investors had bargained for
Basel III has given us three different statistics with a common goal, to keep banks to a stable funding profile, neither too illiquid nor too highly leveraged. As these requirements come on-line, what will be the consequences for the relationship between prime brokers and hedge fund managers?
There have been "a considerable number of product launches in the area of smart beta ETFs," but investors are eager for more, perhaps in the hope the developers will get beyond the "few popular strategies" in that area on which they have so far focused. With more variety may come a real take-off.
Eurekahedge's latest report gives a number of timelines for grappling with changes in the hedge fund world: since 2007; since January 2013; YTD January 2015. In any frame, you don't have to be a meteorologist....
The most important turning points of our lives tend to have consequences for our alpha seeking. A new paper gives us some insight into what those consequences are, and how they vary as to strategies.
Guest columnist Charles Skorina takes a look at investment divestment..
The hedge fund universe has become a much more complicated place since 2008. The old-school hedge funds offering only quarterly redemptions with at least one month notice are no longer the only option for those seeking alternatives plays. And those who are seeking such plays may be somewhat confused by the proliferation of possibilities.
Regular readers of AllAboutAlpha know that Bayesianism, a movement with the world of probability and statistics, has a good deal to do with contemporary pricing models and portfolio theory. It also has foes in that world, the frequentists, and a 2012 cartoon, recently raised to salience again by a Facebook post, has given those frequentists reason to gripe about Bayesian smugness.
There are certain deals that banks don't want to touch with the longest lance in a joust. That doesn't mean the deals don't get done: it means they go by default to the non-bank financiers. We look at the divide.
Most efforts to introduce "entropy" into finance have seen it as a quantity to be minimized. A new paper, which begins as an effort to explain barbell portfolios, uses entropy in a different manner. Unfortunately, it doesn't really end up clarifying those barbells.
Guest columnist Diane Harrison looks at both sides of the quantitative investment debate.
A new paper by Eric Falkenstein discusses an old question: the reason for the high risk-adjusted return in low-risk equities, and the adjustments it requires in CAPM. This is no fleeting oddity, but a lasting characteristic of markets. In econo-speak, not only the existence but the persistence of the anomaly requires explanation.
The new survey from Natixis tells us that a lot of asset-managing institutions think their industry as a whole has been quite slow about moving in the direction of liability-driven investment strategies. Also, more than half believe traditional assets are too correlated to provide them with the diversification they need.
A regime switching model may treat a high-volatility environment as one “regime,” and a low-vol environment as its successor regime. The idea, as it applies to risk management, then, is simply to be ready in either setting for the switch to the other. This is both playing defense and playing offense. It is both managing risk and pursuing alpha.
Only two hedge fund strategies performed in the positive numbers in October, the rest were all in the red. Managed futures did best, according to the Eurekahedge numbers, benefitting from their short positions on oil prices.
A Bank of England paper discuses the "cover 2" standard for the adequacy of the default funds of central clearing houses, an issue of increasing importance as the push to centrally-clear everything picks up steam. One question it raises somewhat incidentally is the proper pronunciation of the acronym SLOIM, for "stressed losses over initial margins."
When should customized risk models win out over the standard sort? According to two authors of a new report, there are seven factors, starting with the time horizon.
The eight authors of a new study seek to add to “the existing literature of Bayesian VaR methods by … considering the … general class of Burr XII extreme value distributions “ and by estimating error bounds. After having a little fun we try to puzzle out what that means.
How address issues of supply/demand imbalance in the world of collateral requirements? Custodians can do a good deal on behalf of their customers here, and are exploring just how much.
In a new report, ESMA discovers that some investors may be guilty of "over-reliance on continued policy support." I gather that means that investors believe that central bankers and governments will play the role of Santa Claus indefinitely.
For an investor allocating slots in its portfolio to hedge funds, the draw of recent outsized performance can be powerful. Thus, the temptation to chase winners. But two members of the Hedge Fund Strategies Group at Commonfund caution against it.
Let's not make clearinghouses too big to fail. Or if, through, Dodd-Frank, we already have, let's turn back and reconsider that decision. That's how not to end up bailing them out or nationalizing them in due course.
Despite what the title (Deflating the Sharpe Ratio) might cause a naïve observer to suspect, de Prado's recent presentation was more pro than con the ratio in question. Mend it, don't end it.
If such institutions as the ECB keep rewarding indebtedness, then over time they get their way. They'll get a lot of deal making, even if it amounts to a frenzy. Then investors will demand funds that play to that frenzy.
Guest columnist Donna Howe, CFA, looks at the different aspects of private equity and the associated risks.
Europe's pension fund managers embrace LDI quite generally, and many embrace the "dynamic" version of that strategy. But four scholars at EDHEC find it curious they don't do so for the right reason -- they don't seem to see LDI as the risk-management imperative it is.
As the TABB Group and SEI remind us in a new report, "Reinventing Buy-side Infrastructure," the legacy systems widely in use on the Buy side are inadequate to post-legacy challenges, both for traditional and for alternatives managers. There's got to be a better way.
Sophisticated institutional investors contracting with outside active managers can get positive alpha out of the U.S. equities markets, despite the arithmetical and a priori reasons for skepticism.
But Basel is still part of the multinational push to fit the peg of credit derivatives into the square hole of standardized contracts and central clearing. Is the peg going to fit?
The patent dispute at issue before the Supreme Court March 31st involved a computerized escrow system that serves as a third party to a deal, eliminating settlement risk. A business-method patent, in short: nothing at all to do with speed of execution, or data compression, or other such trading-infrastructure-related feats.
Early on in this book the author mentions that Deutsche Bank has made a small play in Royal Boskalis, a Dutch dredging and infrastructure company, one which may be in a position to capitalize on rising sea levels by building the sea walls this will require.
The story told here of Bruce Kovner and a botched soybeans trade conveys a lesson about the value of persistence, and a lesson about risk management.
Hoarding bad news bears this meaning: at some point a lot of bad news is going to break through the informational dam all at once, producing a flood, that is, a firm-specific crash.
Financial firms still have people manually implementing Excel spreadsheets in connection with various mandated stress tests, a fact that suggests to a Celent research director that Fred Flintstone runs the back office.