Looking back on Canyon and Man Group at last year's Absolute Return symposium

By Rob Copeland

Wed Nov 7, 2012

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Industry leaders urged caution as profit-killing 2011 neared its end.


     
  Mitch Julis offered blunt advice.

One year ago
Hedge fund executives from some of the top firms in the business spoke their minds at the 2011 Absolute Return Symposium.

"Hedge funds really haven't done what they were supposed to do this year," said Emmanuel Roman, COO of Man Group, the London-based investment manager with $64.5 billion in assets, which was then on its way to a 6.83% annual loss in its Man AHL Diversified managed futures fund (Man has done better this year; performance data here).

Mitch Julius, co-chief executive of $19.1 billion Canyon Partners, told investors to heed the complexity of the world and be humble about their ability to predict the unpredictable. "Masters of the universe? It's all crap," he said.

Other prescient words came from Mark van der Zwan, executive director and portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, who noted that investors were sacrificing returns by steering clear of strategies they may consider illiquid or complex. One such strategy, structured credit, has been the best-performing in the entire hedge fund world this year; the Absolute Return Mortgage Backed Securities Index is up nearly 10%.

This year's Absolute Return Symposium, held just three days after Hurricane Sandy hit New York, brought together hundreds of industry leaders for keynote speeches by TPG-Axon founder Dinakar Singh, Metacapital Management head Deepak Narula, and a slew of panels featuring hedge fund luminaries. For complete coverage from the two-day event (program here), please see the following:

Bridgewater's macro play: long gold, oil and the Euro

Dinakar Singh on slimming down in an "insane" and "dangerous" market

Family offices "inundated" by hedge fund pitches, but playing hard to get may be key, investors say

Credit bulls make forceful case for sustained high returns

Metacapital mortgage maven Deepak Narula sees room for further profits in signature trade

Do you know what your hedge funds are doing?

VelocityCapital pitches its brand of tail risk

Cerberus: RMBS is still the place to be

View from the top: hedge fund COOs talk regulation, investor demands

Taking a dip into Russia while staying dry of oil and gas

Vermillion, Taylor Woods and LGT offer commodities picks despite a difficult year

Would you invest grandma's money in hedge funds or stocks? Authors Lack, Schwager and Zuckerman debate

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