InvestHedge Forum 2009
Venue: The British Museum
Dates: Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Held in London every autumn, The InvestHedge Forum is a unique 2-day conference and networking event which attracts both hedge fund managers and investors from around the globe. The event, which is held in association with sister-publication EuroHedge, focuses on how investors are driving the hedge fund industry and the wider asset management world. By tackling a wide spread of investor-related topics, this event meets the industry's demand for information on how different types of investors are investing and buying hedge funds.
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Positive vibes tempered by worries over controversial draft EU Directive
More than 450 delegates gathered at the British Museum in London to discuss what the new landscape had in store after 18 months of white knuckle rides
The hedge fund industry survived the summer of 2009 without what had almost become the traditional white knuckle financial industry meltdown ride. Indeed managers and investors re-grouped at the InvestHedge Forum, held in London on 15-16 September, almost excited about the opportunities that have started to appear.
Held in association with EuroHedge, the two-day conference hosted some 450 institutional investors, funds of hedge funds, and hedge fund managers and their service providers who crammed into every session at the British Museum to hear where the new opportunities were to be found.
Although the mood was upbeat, the air was marred by the uncertainty of the draft EU Directive, which was discussed at length on the regulation panel with AIMA's Andrew Baker.
Overall, there seemed to be a feeling that hedge funds and investors have now been brought together by an external force that made all 18 sessions not only open and honest, but lively. A smaller industry seemed to be keen to find ways to work together at the conference that came together under the title of Tomorrow's Hedge Fund Investor.
Rick Sopher, chairman of LCH Investments and managing director of LCF Edmond de Rothschild, risked getting pelted with rotten tomatoes when he unveiled a list of 120 hedge fund managers that he had calculated to have made the biggest net gains. But it was the opening investor-led panel entitled What are the New Rules? that set the scene for many of the panels sessions over the two days.
Gerlof de Vrij of APG Asset Management, one of the biggest pension funds in the world and the largest in Europe, gave a compelling keynote discussion on how the portfolio is put together and how hedge funds are more a tool than an asset class.
That said, whether or not the lessons of the last 18 months have changed behaviour irrevocably remains to be seen. This was the conclusion of the panel with Man's Peter Clarke, Bernard Oppetit of Centaurus, Simon Ruddick of Albourne Partners and Gideon Nieuwoudt of Silver Creek.
In George Robinson's keynote address, the shape of the industry and the impact of the EU directive were his main concerns but his enthusiasm for the industry in general, and Asia in particular, was as great at the InvestHedge Forum this year as it was in1993 when he first co-founded Sloane Robinson with Hugh Sloane.
Post Madoff, managed accounts have finally gone mainstream. Four of the industry's largest names were put on the spot about the pros and cons of managed accounts and about whether to buy, rent or build managed account platforms.
The morality and justification for gates and suspensions was called into question and the ever controversial topic of hedge fund fees was the subject of a lively debate. Interestingly, it seems to be more about the alignment of interests than the actual cost.
The InvestHedge Forum concluded with the rising phoenix in Asia, moderated by AsiaHedge's Paul Storey, who is hosting an in-depth discussion on the region in Hong Kong on the 17-18 March 2010.