||European Hedge Fund Firm
of the Year
|Man group plc
Like many investment firms this year, Man Group has had to ride out volatility. In the earlier part of 2007, the diversification of Man Group’s investment styles generated $2.4bn of positive performance for its investors in the six months to March. Strong sales were reflected in the growth of assets under management (AUM) to the tune of $6.3bn, bringing total AUM to $68bn.
During market turbulence in 2007, when hedge funds appeared to be teetering on the brink of meltdown, Man Group’s management bought significant personal stock in the company, sending a clear message of support and confidence in both the company and the hedge fund sector. It was partly this demonstration of leadership that appealed to our judges.
Judges clearly placed great importance on the ability of the hedge fund sector – management firms as well as back and middle office providers – to communicate well with their clients. Man did so using investor days, publicly available webcasts, and public announcements during 2007’s volatile markets.
Man’s conservative approach, both to portfolio construction and product leverage, meant that none of Man’s structured products had to degear in the period. Man also says that the difficult market environment seen recently also created investment opportunities, leaving the firm well placed for further growth.
Another accolade of a different kind was bestowed on the firm in 2007 when Man Group became the first pure hedge fund to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index – an index that ranks the world’s leading companies in terms of sustainability. Only the world’s top 10% of the largest 2,500 companies are awarded a place in the index. Peter Clarke, CEO, has even updated video conferencing to cut down on the number of flights (and carbon emissions) needed to transact business!
Product innovation in Man Group mirrored this development in sustainability. The firm’s Swiss manager, RMF, launched the Environment Opportunities Fund – a fund of hedge funds investing purely in environment-related industries and strategies. Man became one of the first funds to launch such a product.
Judges appreciated this innovation. Until recently, environmental investments were typically long-only in character with long lock-up structures. Research and innovation has allowed RMF to untap potential profits through liquid strategies with highly regarded managers.
In summary, judges were swayed by the company’s example of leadership, as well as by its ability to develop investment ideas.
Signet Capital Management
Click on the play button on the left to watch a video of the award presentation.
This year witnessed the ‘greening’ of hedge funds. In June 2007, in response to shareholder requests, Signet Capital Management launched the Signet Sustainable Resources Fund, formerly the Strategic Opportunities Fund, which is intended to support sustainable investment opportunities. The firm is developing an internal audit function in order to validate this investment methodology.
Judges noted this, but – again placing importance on the ability of hedge funds to communicate – they noted Signet’s emphasis on communication with clients. Signet’s approach to transparency and fund reporting includes online fund and investment reports available to investors through its website.
Signet was the winner of this category last year.