News > Financial Services

Earnings surprises…are you kidding me?
Asset Management
In the game called the quarterly earnings season, positive surprises have become so commonplace among US large-cap stocks that they’ve nearly lost all meaning. We wonder why investors keep playing along. The media are an integral part of the entertainment, cheering or booing companies from the sidelines as if earnings season were a sporting event. This incessant focus further feeds
Video: High Frequency Trading hurts the little guys
Hedge Funds
<p>"Creating an advantage for to an institutional user or a particular type of trader that disadvantages the retail investor is bad for the country, bad for the markets, and bad for the business," says Dick Grasso, former NYSE chairman and CEO. "The structure of the market today for major securities has been terribly hurt," Grasso says on Wall Street Week. The complex markets have become less transparent, hurting the average retail investor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Video: The most important factor that can tell you whether a startup will succeed or fail
Venture Capital
<p>Bill Gross has launched tons of startups. Some have done brilliantly. But not all. In this video, Gross analyzes what is most important in determining success. The answer that the founder of Idealab comes up with may surprise you. The answer really surprised Gross.</p> <p>From TED.</p>
Venture capitalists are keeping a list of unicorns most likely to die. What would be on your list?
Venture Capital
<p>There's been a lot of chatter about the burgeoning number of unicorns out there. In fact, unicorns are giving way to what Re/Code calls "decacorns" --startups valued at more than $10 billion.</p> <p>Well, now venture capitalists are creating lists out there predicting the death of many of these unicorns, Fortune is reporting. Who is on the list? Mum's the word. CB Insights has a list of dying startups -- but it will cost you $6,895 to access it. A bargain basement price for a list that could save you millions.</p> <p>Is a bubble about to burst? VC par excellence Marc Andreessen declared last year that many startups will "vaporize."</p> <p>Some might argue there was never a bubble -- just a pretty good illusion of one. Those billion-dollar valuations? They may have been real for only a handful of investors who were promised that they would be first in line when a company went public or got sold: If the benighted unicorn sold for less than $1 billion, the VC would still get paid as if it had sold for $1 billion.</p> <p>Now that's what I call magic.</p> <p>According to a survey of 37 deals by Silicon Valley law firm Fenwick and West, if the company does even better than expected? You guessed it. The benighted investors get a larger share of the profit.</p> <p>Fortune keeps a list of unicorns. You can find it here. Any on it that you think deserve to be on the deathwatch?<br /> Photo: yosuke muroya<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
A bull on China
Asset Management
<p>While high-profile hedge fund managers such as Ray Dalio go full-on negative on the region, Nikko Asset Management Asia’s Peter Sartori says that China, as well as Asia’s emerging markets, will continue to beat its first world peers.</p> <p>According to the Straits Times, Sartori argues that there’s still a compelling case for a “long-term bull market” in the region, despite all its recent routs and regulatory missteps:<br /> “The pace of initiatives appears to be increasing in China, particularly in the state-owned enterprises and financial services space…While naysayers argue that the attempted shift from an investment-led economy to a consumption-led economy will result in a major dislocation in financial markets, we believe that the government has enough tools and capital at its disposal to make the transition successfully.”<br /> He also adds that the nation’s highly-scrutinized GDP doesn’t really mean anything to the equity market, saying:<br /> “Does GDP matter from the stock market point of view? No. There's no strong correlation between economic growth and stock market returns. In fact, it's the opposite. When Japan and Korea's economies were growing, their stock markets' returns were lacklustre. When growth slowed in those countries, their markets went through a long and sustained bull market. That's what's under way now in China.”<br /> While he does have a point, low growth in the new and open China seems to be uncharted territory for most, and the fact that Beijing’s been behaving like a riddle wrapped in a mystery within an enigma doesn’t help his argument either.</p> <p>That said, Sartori’s also betting on India in the medium term, asserting that all the nation’s recent troubles “provide scope for looser fiscal and monetary policies.”</p> <p>India bulls are sure to love that.<br /> Photo: groucho</p>
Why China is like the movie Predator
Hedge Funds
<p>Investors are no doubt full of quirky analogies they can employ to describe their experiences of China, but perhaps the best comes from Russel Clark, the CIO of hedge fund Horseman Capital, who recently compared China to the 1987 sci-fi action movie Predator.</p> <p>ZeroHedge reports that Clark offered up this gem in his firm's monthly letter after the $2.5 billion fund was up a staggering 9.4% for August following China’s market rout. </p> <p>Clark recalls how the film features a special ops team ordered on a mission to a South American jungle, that are slowly hunted down by an alien creature. </p> <p>They try to trap the creature, but it defies anything they have seen before: it can turn itself invisible, has infrared vision, and uses a shoulder mounted laser rifle. Nearly all of them succumb to the Predator.  </p> <p>The explanation is long and can be read here. In short, for bears, the Chinese government is like the Predator: continually using special abilities that were previously unknown. Bearish investors meanwhile have been picked off relentlessly and effortlessly by the government and the central banks. </p> <p>But things have unraveled since. The stock market began to sell off and pressure  built on the currency, prompting the Chinese to devalue the renminbi. This had the unwanted effect of stoking fear in the investing public, increasing  both capital outflows and pressure on the exchange. Clark concluded his analogy:<br /> “In my experience, in the mind of the international investment community, small devaluations tend to encourage even more capital outflow, which in turns leads to even large devaluations. Or to borrow, a line from Predator, 'If it bleeds, we can kill it'.’’<br /> One wonders what other movie analogies work to describe the Chinese economy. <br /> Photo: Malte Sörensen</p>
David Tepper is “not as bullish” on the short term
Hedge Funds
<p>David Tepper, arguably one of the most successful (and volatile) hedge fund managers currently in action, recently told CNBC that he’s “not as bullish” as he could be – a terrible sign for the markets since he thinks being a bear is the work of Satan.</p> <p>In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” the always-optimistic Tepper said that he has “problems with earnings growth [and] problems with multiples,” alluding to the high expectations currently embedded in the market, and added that you should “really make sure that you have some cash” if you invest in it because he sees a 10% to 20% correction on the horizon.</p> <p>As for Appaloosa, it’s on defense mode right now: “we have some longs and shorts and we're hedged in, but we don't have a huge equity book right now.”</p> <p>He also has issues with China, saying that they “just keep making policy mistake, after policy mistake, after policy mistake over there,” adding that while he knows there’s a learning curve in becoming a market-based economy, doing it in real time is “kind of bad when they're a $10 trillion or $11 trillion economy and they influence more than a third of the world's economy.”</p> <p>He’s bullish on the long term though, stating further that if the market fell 20% or more, he’d be a buyer.<br /> Photo: Sam valadi</p>
S&P cuts Brazil to junk: what it means
Asset Management
<p> S&amp;P cut Brazil's sovereign credit rating to BB+.<br /> The Bovespa index fell about 0.6 percent on Thursday. The real tumbled more than 1.75 percent.<br /> Although a downgrade was expected, the timing of the demotion was unexpected.</p> <p>Standard &amp; Poor's has downgraded Brazil’s sovereign credit rating to BB+. While the move came as no surprise, the timing did catch many analysts and investors off guard, as the demotion was expected for later this year.</p> <p>In addition, the firm maintained the outlook on the rating at negative. This also surprised most analysts.</p> <p>Read more at Benzinga, here.<br /> Photo: Sam valadi</p>
The most consistent performing hedge funds over the past five years
Hedge Funds
<p>Preqin issues league tables of funds that have consistently generated higher returns and lower volatility than their peers.</p> <p>Drawing on data compiled for the 2015 Preqin Alternative Assets Performance Monitor, Preqin has created league tables of Hedge Funds that have most consistently delivered strong, stable performance. The league tables do not seek in any way to endorse these funds, but rather to illustrate those that have performed the most consistently over the period June 2010 – June 2015. Seven top-level strategies are represented – Equity, Macro, Event Driven, Credit, Relative Value, Multi-Strategy, and CTA – with all of the top 10 equity strategies funds scoring over 90 out of 100 across all metrics.</p> <p>Methodology:<br /> From its Hedge Fund Analyst database of over 12,000 hedge funds, Preqin ranked the 1,358 qualifying funds (those with a full performance record of at least five years) using a percentile rank methodology over each of the following metrics: annualized return, volatility, Sharpe ratio and Sortino ratio. The score of each fund was then derived through an equally weighted average of the four percentile values, and used to determine the fund’s Consistency Rating. Where a Sortino ratio could not be calculated (due to the fund not generating a negative return in the sample period) the fund was given a percentile score of 100 for its Sortino ratio metric.</p> <p>Most Consistent Performing Hedge Funds:</p> <p> Equity Strategies – All of the top 10 consistent performing equity strategies funds scored in the 90th percentile for each metric. The highest score was for the Peregrine High Growth Fund, with a Consistency Rating of 95.5. Peregrine Capital and 36ONE Asset Management each had two funds in the top five.<br /> Macro Strategies – The top macro strategies Consistency Rating was 96.7 for the BNY Mellon ARX Extra FIM fund. ARX Investimentos and Verde Asset Management had three and four funds respectively in the top ten.<br /> Event Driven Strategies – The top ranked event driven strategies fund was Altum Credit Fund, run by Altum Capital Management, which scored 88.0.<br /> Credit Strategies – Capitania Multi Credito Privado FIC FIM, with a Consistency Rating of 91.7, was ranked leading credit strategies fund. III Capital Management had two funds in the top ten.<br /> Relative Value Strategies – The Peregrine Capital Pure Hedge Fund scored 93.5. III Capital Management also had a further two of the top ten funds in this strategy.<br /> Multi-Strategy – The TRZ Funds Global Arbitrage Fund had the top Consistency Rating of 95.7. Six of the top ten scoring multi-strategy funds are based in Brazil.<br /> CTAs – The top score for CTAs, and the highest Consistency Rating of any top-level strategy, was for the Global Sigma Plus fund, run by the Global Sigma Group, which scored 98.5.</p>
A day in the life of an asset management consultant: Greek crisis and ‘healthy’ stress levels
Asset Management
<p>What is it like to work a London office of one of the world’s biggest advisory firms? A FinBuzz guest writer shares her daily working routine. </p> <p>It may look like I live in a fairy tale, but I worked hard to get it and don’t plan on slowing down any time soon. I have a degree from an American business school and moved to London right after studies. Recently I changed jobs and am very content.</p> <p>Three months ago I started a position with a financial consultancy that works with corporate and central banks in Europe, as well as insurance companies.</p> <p>8:45 AM</p> <p>I wake up, brush my teeth, and leave the house. My commute to work only takes one minute. Literally. I live and work in the West End and I am very lucky that my office of 40 employees recently moved to the area. When I knew that the office was moving, I looked for a place in the same area.</p> <p>9:00 AM</p> <p>When I get to my desk, I start the day by making myself a cup of coffee and reading all the news in FT, Economist and other major publications, looking not only for general developments, but for news in my area of expertise as well. We work a lot with EU banks, including lots of Greek projects. So every single day I read articles on the front page that I later use in my work. It is an interesting feeling, because you have to adapt and change your strategies every day, depending on how things develop in Greece. I feel that what I am doing at the moment is at the epicentre of the financial world.</p> <p>9:30 AM</p> <p>We start gathering for a team meeting. We work in teams that are constantly changing, depending on projects. The minimum time you spend on one team is three months, and the maximum – one year.</p> <p>Most of people in the office are from Europe, especially France and Greece. But we also have Italians, Germans, Chinese, Indians… everyone.</p> <p>I like working in an international team like this, because we have local people who know culture and the language of Greece in our case, but we also have contributions from the other members, who have very fresh and diverse views.</p> <p>All of us are global citizens: people from Greece who work here are not very typical Greeks, as well as people from Italy are not very typical Italians. They are more global Greeks, global Italians, etc. It seems as if we are all on the same wavelength, but each of us also contributes his/her own perks.</p> <p>So we discuss plans for the day as a team. Usually we will have a conference call with a client and decide who prepares what.</p> <p>I worked in a classic investment bank before. The business model there is traditional and you are not expected to develop quickly. All the projects that we do here are new and unique, no one has worked on anything identical before, so no one knows how exactly we approach it; there is no procedure. That’s why we feel like we are all in the same boat: senior members and people like me, who joined recently, are all welcome to put something on the table, to join the discussion, to share views and ideas. This is definitely my favourite part of everything I do workwise – discussing ideas with colleagues, brainstorming, finding a new way to do things.</p> <p>11:00 AM</p> <p>Conference call with a client. Last week I went on a business trip to Greece. I love meeting clients, because it effective to meet personally to discuss and agree on an action plan. So the conference ca</p>