By Niki Natarajan
The story of 2010 was
a story of assets; recovery of performance; and recovery of
self confidence. Not only have the best survived the tests of
the last few years, but there are already cracks appearing in
DIY portfolios. The masses who stampeded towards direct
investing should just read the Institutional Letter on page
As the results of the 10th annual InvestHedge Billion Dollar
FoHF Survey show (see page 30), with the top 109 FoHF firms now
managing $625 billion – with the asset growth of 4.82%
mirroring the performance of 2010 – it is clear that
the haemorrhaging of assets has finally stopped.
So what next for an industry that seems to be constantly
under fire from the press, from many of the managers in which
it invests and from the investors that cyclically believe that
can do it better themselves?
According to numerology, which looks at the power behind
numbers, 31 December 2010 distills to the number 10, which in
turn is 1+0=1.
One is also behind the 10th annual survey and the fact that
there are 109 firms in the latest ranking (1+0+9=10). So what
is the number one about? One is about ignition: the birth of a
pioneering journey, or cycle, the first step into new
Number one is full of ambitious energy and the number of
action and new growth. So where is this industry all set to
grow, or be going? Maybe the answer is held in the number
In conjunction with the Ninth Annual InvestHedge FoHF
Awards, being held in New York next week, InvestHedge is
hosting the Global FoHF Forum to discuss The Future Face of
Funds of Funds.
In numerology, the number nine represents the completion of
a cycle and the dispensation of the knowledge, wisdom and
experience acquired in the journey. Nine is effectively the
So what could be more fitting than hearing from speakers
from firms such as Permal, Aurora, Morgan Stanley and LCF
Rothschild, many of whom have been in the funds of funds
industry for much more than 10 years?
In fact, not only are Aurora and Permal nominated in the 10
Year performance category but Roxanne Martino and her team have
been running Aurora for 22 years. The number 22 is known as a
master number; it is a number about building dreams and great
new structures. If this is the case, then we can expect great
vision from Roxanne’s experience.
In its numerological year four, Aurora, like the FoHF
industry with its $625 billion in assets (6+2+5=13=1+3=4), and
the editor of InvestHedge, is focused on discipline and
But perhaps even more interesting is the number behind $21.6
billion Permal, a firm founded in 1973 that has been nominated
for one or more InvestHedge awards every single year since the
inception of the event in March 2003.
All ears will be on Josh Levine at the Global Fund Forum to
find out what it is that Permal has done and clearly continues
to do, to remain at the top of its game.
With five nominations for 2010 performance and asset growth
of 11.34%, what is on the agenda for this 37-year-old firm?
Like the industry, Permal (37=3+7=10=1+0=1) is at the start of
its journey taking the first steps into new possibilities:
UCITS, managed accounts, China and more.
If nine means the teacher speaks, then the Global FoHF Forum
will be the first time that some of the best brains in the
industry share their views, dreams, concerns and ambitions.
Questions on everyone’s mind will be discussed,
ranging from whether consultants are friends or foes to FoHFs
and can emerging managers add value or do they simply increase
Until now few funds of funds have wanted to share their
secrets. But as any cook will know, even if someone knows the
basic ingredients, every cook’s masterpiece will
be different – as long as with the paprika there is
passion and purpose! Maybe the time has come to say,
"I’ll have what she is having".