What to Expect in a Quant Job Interview

Quant Job interviews can be an intimidating process. After months of studying a stack of quantitative finance books, programming up models in C++ and researching every brainteaser known to man, it is still hard to feel prepared. So what should you expect in a quantitative interview?

Firstly, note that the interview process will be vastly different between a large bank and a small fund. In particular, the large bank will have a dedicated HR process, and so the first interview could possibly be with a non-technical HR manager. They will be screening you based on personality and suitability for the role, but not in a technical sense. In a fund the opposite is likely to be true. Funds tend to have a smaller headcount. The first interviewer is likely to be someone you’ll be working with directly and the interview will be more technical in nature.

It is not uncommon these days to have an exam to sit through – in either a fund or a bank, which is a straightforward way for the firm to gauge your intelligence. These exams usually consist of a few topics such as mathematics/statistics, financial knowledge and development/programming. In essence, the firm is trying to see where your strengths/weaknesses lie, so that they can assign you to the best department. Once an exam has concluded, you will either be asked for a second interview or given a polite refusal.

Once in a technical interview, the questions can vary immensely. One thing is relatively certain though – you will be asked about any projects (Masters or PhD theses) that you have carried out in the past. The mathematical and computational content of such projects will be analysed in depth, so make sure you can discuss all aspects of your work and can show where you utilised clever or little known tricks (this will impress the interviewer!). For instance, you could discuss your decision about which model to use, then which language/data structures you chose to implement it with, stating the pros and cons regarding memory/processing speed, for instance.

The bulk of the interview will concentrate on your mathematical and computational ability, with a skew to one or the other depending upon the role you are seeking and your prior background. The mathematical content will largely depend upon the type of role you are seeking. If you are interviewing for a bank, you should expect many questions about different derivatives pricing models, which model should be used in which situation, their pros/cons and when they break down. A fund will almost certainly consider your statistical/machine learning capability and will provide you with some challenging probability questions.

The computational content of the interview will generally involve having to write some non-trivial functions in an object-oriented language, such as an efficient prime number generator or similar. I’ve seen anything from optimising matrix storage to questions on logic gates, so be prepared for a wide variety. The best way to study for these problems is really to implement as many models/functions as possible, using code interview books as preparation. The more time you’ve spent “at the coalface” the more you can discuss in the interview.

The Advantages of Becoming a Quant Analyst

With the economic downtown of 2007/2008 still looming over the financial centres of the globe, the outlook for quant jobs has changed dramatically. A career in quantitative finance now means a heavier emphasis on implementation (and thus programming), with regulation causing a shift towards private funds, away from large banks. The advantages and disadvantages of a typical quantitative role have remained relatively similar, however. This article studies those advantages, helping you to decide if a quant job is right for you.

A quantitative role is often highly rewarding, from an intellectual standpoint. No doubt you picked mathematics, physics, engineering or computer science (the common routes into quantitative finance) because you enjoy numbers and working on problems. A financial engineering role is full of interesting, stimulating challenges right the way from statistical research all the way through to model implementation and optimisation. Traders will be using your models every day in their work and so your contribution will have a direct effect on the firm’s bottom line. If you are PhD trained, you will find those years of grad school highly applicable, as a quantitative role needs individuals who are self-starters and can tackle a problem independently, if necessary.

The shift towards private fund employers has meant that many roles now exist in more casual settings than the typical investment bank trading floor. For individuals who come from a background in research, this can be extremely attractive. The atmosphere can be “collegiate” and highly meritocratic. Clocks are not often watched as much as longer-term results, which means more freedom and creativity to pursue models than you might find in a larger corporation.

Many funds tie their operations/implementation departments very closely to their operational research. Execution optimisation is a highly important part of the trade lifecycle within a fund, often requiring teams of PhDs to “get it right”. If you’re more statistically inclined, there are plenty of opportunities within funds to explore new models. Funds and Commodity Trading Advisors follow myriads of strategies, including Trend Analysis, Short Term Mean Reversion and Statistical Arbitrage, to name a few. There are plenty of opportunities to jump directly into these trading opportunities, which can lead to highly lucrative positions.

There is the also the benefit of a high “compensation package”, often in the form of a large base salary (even for juniors) and a substantial bonus. In banks, this remuneration procedure may be more opaque than a fund, but it will often still be high. The potential for career development is also strong, with many quants entering trading or even upper management. Risk and regulation are huge areas of growth for many firms these days and many quantitative roles are opening up in these areas, so quants are still considered a “growth market”.

How to Find a Quant Job

Quant, or quantitative analyst, is a person working mainly in a financial institution, for example, in an investment bank, a software company or a hedge fund. The main responsibility of a quant is to research, design and implement mathematical or econometrics models for derivative valuation, risk analysis, or trading strategies generation. Quants are therefore core employees due to their large influence on the growth of a firm.

How much should a candidate learn before becoming a quant? There is however not a certain answer, the depth a quant’s knowledge varies a lot across companies, for example, a front office desk quant has to be good at mathematics and have a strong market sense,since (s)he works directly with traders; a quant developer needs to master programming languages as (s)he must code scripts very quickly and precisely all the time; a statistical arbitrage quant aiming at finding trading signals based on historical data understands econometrics and statistics very well. Generally speaking, an ideal quant candidate should have knowledge on finance, mathematics, statistics and programming more or less.

What degree is expected to be a quant? Usually a PhD is a necessity to find a quant job, some jobs even require candidates graduated with hard-core majors, for instance, physics or pure mathematics because nowadays financial institutions are becoming progressively more mathematical. However, there are some quant jobs open for masters, especially for those people with a master degree in financial engineering (MFE), although those jobs are not straight quantitative but mainly about risk analysis or trading support, they are indeed good choices for starters.

How to Get a Job in Quantitative Finance

A career in quantitative finance can be extremely rewarding both intellectually and financially. However, competition is fierce for positions within hedge funds and investment banks. Having straight As and a first class science degree is not sufficient anymore, especially since the downsizing of the industry that followed the 2007/2008 economic turmoil. So what qualities does a good candidate need to possess and what can you do to get that elusive role as a quantitative analyst?

The term “quant” covers a broad spectrum of roles. Areas such as quantitative trading, quantitative research, risk management, derivatives pricing and numerical software development all fit within the term. Hence, the first step is to identify your core skill set. Once you know where your skills lie, you’ll be in a much better position to apply for the correct type of role. These days, investment banks are hiring less, while private funds are hiring more. Hence there is a shift away from derivatives pricing (due to the backlash over the mortgage securities models) towards statistical trading methods.

There are three main entry routes into quantitative finance. The more traditional method is to gain a PhD in Mathematics, Physics, Engineering or Computer Science. Useful areas of research include Probability, Statistics, Stochastic Calculus, Machine Learning/Pattern Recognition and of course, Mathematical Finance. A PhD program lets an employer know that you are confident researching material independently and do not require “spoon-feeding”. This is especially important in some of the research-led “collegiate” atmospheres of the top tier hedge funds.

The second, and more recent, route into quantitative finance is through a Masters of Financial Engineering (MFE) program. These courses are often taken by individuals who may lack specific numerical skills in the financial area, but are nonetheless mathematically confident. They are particularly well suited to individuals who wish to make a career change. A good MFE program from a top school will prepare the student in areas such as derivatives, probability/stochastic calculus, risk management and programming (likely C++). The professors will have good links to firms looking to hire and the network alone can be worth the high fees (often in excess of $50,000).

The third route is more suited for talented software developers, particularly those with advanced object-oriented experience – C++ or Java being preferable. These “quantitative developers” will work closely with the quantitative analysts to implement the models (often a prototype) in a robust and optimised manner. The required skills can be varied in nature. A high-frequency trading fund may require low-level operating system and concurrency skills, while a systematic pattern recognition firm may be interested in your machine learning talents. One thing is certain though – programming skills are rapidly becoming the differentiating factor in interviews, so the better your C++/Java/Python/Matlab/R skills, the more likely you are to receive that lucrative job offer.

Horoscope Et Voyance, Deux Disciplines Complmentaires

La voyance est la capacit d’un individu, le voyant, voir des choses, prdire l’avenir. La voyance est un art particulier, connu mais peu matrisable.
Cette pratique de l’horoscope est bien plus rcente que celle de l’astrologie ou de la voyance. L’horoscope a t dmocratis par les magazines et les journaux en
offrant une vision quotidienne de l’avenir. Il semble difficile de pouvoir prdire une tendance avec horoscope du jour mais un horoscope hebdomadaire est dj plus envisageable. L’horoscope annuel est lui plus prcis et les grandes tendances peuvent tre dtermines grce au position des plantes et leur rapport entre elles.

La voyance est quant elle une discipline bien plus ancienne, elle est ancestrale. Pratique de diffrentes faons selon les civilisations, la voyance est effectue par
des personnes qui ont hrit d’un don. Mediums, voyants sont autant de personnes pouvant pratiquer la voyance et qui ont un don.

La voyance est une discipline encore plus vieille que celle de l’astrologie. L’astrologie en effet ncessite des connaissances en astronomie et n’est pas fonde sur un don mais plut’t la science. L’astrologie est plus rationnelle que la voyance. La voyance est vritablement ancestrale et prsente dans des socits primitives.
On pouvait alors employer comme terme l’poque la place de celui de voyance, de chamanisme, de la sorcellerie. Toutes ces disciplines, notamment astrologie et voyance, relvent des arts divinatoires et sont dsormais extrmement dmocratises dans les socits modernes. Certains reprochent la voyance d’tre seulement de la psychologie mais de trs grandes personnalits et beaucoup d’hommes d’affaires ne prennent jamais de dcisions sans avoir consult un voyant ou un medium. Les personnes maitrisant la voyance ont toujours eu une place de choix proche des hommes de pouvoir.

Astrologie, horoscope et voyance sont trois disciplines quelque peu diffrentes mais complmentaires. Si l’astrologie et l’horoscope partagent les mmes bases, la voyance est un art plus mystique qui relve du don. Mais chaque personne a sa pratique.

L’horoscope est une analyse par l’intermdiaire de l’astrologie de la carte du ciel selon un vnement et le positionnement des plantes.

Il est rare de trouver un voyant qui pourra utiliser les tarots ou d’autres mthodes de voyance, vous faire une analyse par l’astrologie.

Challenges Abound As Industry Leaders Come Together In Paris

Sovereign insolvencies, hyper-inflation, renewed recessions, currency collapses, political crises, volatile commodity prices, excessive regulation and the long-term impact of the vast economic stimulus programmes being conducted by most major central banks were among the many concerns and fears on the radar screens of hedge fund industry leaders this year as they came together for the annual two-day EuroHedge Summit in Paris last month.
Held at its traditional setting of the Palais de la Bourse in the heart of an overcast, chilly and at times stormy French capital on April 24-26, the ninth EuroHedge Summit brought together more than 800 leading figures from the global hedge fund industry and the broader finance industry at a time of huge and wide-ranging changes, challenges, opportunities and risks across the financial, economic, political and investment spheres.
Under the title of ‘Strategies for a Challenging World’, the Summit presented a stark and sometimes sobering assessment of the pressures, worries and issues facing all those involved in the alternative investment world against a backdrop of high uncertainty, unpredictability and volatility at a macro, market and industry level.
And it left little doubt in the minds of all those present that the hedge fund industry is facing a major challenge in terms of delivering, after suffering two down years in the last four, the type of performance that investors want and need.
It came across loud and clear that the pressure is firmly on managers to perform this year, in what could be a make-or-break period for the industry as a whole, and to provide what the much-changed investor base in hedge funds these days is seeking.
Almost 90 leading investors, managers, advisors and intermediaries participated as speakers or panellists over the two-day Summit – with a wide range of investor communities including pension funds, funds of funds, private banks, seeders and family offices taking part in a number of investor-focused sessions.
A packed auditorium at the Bourse heard a diverse range of keynote speeches from BTG Pactual co-founder and former Brazilian central bank governor Persio Arida, from high-profile and highly rated US hedge fund manager Kyle Bass of Dallas-based Hayman Capital, and from ex-Gartmore European equity star manager Guillaume Rambourg – who had opened his new Verrazzano Capital firm in Paris just a few weeks before the event.
Arida, who had flown in specially from So Paulo to Paris to deliver his address on the very day that BTG Pactual was pricing its keenly watched and heavily oversubscribed global IPO, offered some fascinating insights into the challenges and opportunities in Brazil – one of the world’s most dynamic, fast-growing and interesting economies at the moment.
He also provided some detail and colour on the culture, philosophy and strategy of the Brazil-based banking and asset management business that Andre Esteves and his partners have succeeded in building in just a few years into one of the world’s most dynamic, fast-growing and interesting financial groups.
Bass – who, to many people, epitomises the type of straight-talking, straight-shooting hedge fund manager for which the US is renowned – travelled from Texas to deliver a riveting and somewhat alarming pre-cocktail presentation, zeroing in on a few key investment ideas.
His ‘big short’ theme was what he saw as the inevitable and increasingly imminent collapse of Japan as a result of its mountainous and still-climbing sovereign debt burden – with a resulting and devastating period of hyper-inflation and wealth-destruction ahead – while, on the upside, he outlined compelling opportunities in the US housing-related MBS markets.
By contrast, Rambourg – although an avid marathon runner himself – had journeyed by far the shortest distance of the three keynote speakers this year, with the trip from his new firm’s base across the city in Avenue George V to the Summit taking just a few minutes.
One of the true veterans in the European long/short space, having run hedge fund money with his partner Roger Guy at Gartmore for over 12 years, Rambourg gave a frank and fluent address focusing on the prospects in European long/short equity investing at a time of acute and ever-mounting concerns and pressures in the eurozone – and on the strategy and rationale of his new Verrazzano firm, which he had chosen to headquarter in Paris.
In addition to the three keynotes, numerous other top-tier names from the manager and investor sides of the industry took part in the wide range of lively and probing panel discussions that were held over the two days.
Among the many high-calibre representatives from the manager community were Sir Paul Ruddock of Lansdowne, Manny Roman of Man GLG, Jonathan Lourie of Cheyne, Gavyn Davies of Fulcrum, Jens Nystedt of Moore Capital, Sushil Wadhwani of Caxton affiliate Wadhwani Asset Management, Darcy Bradbury of DE Shaw, Malcolm Butler of COMAC, Pat Trew of CQS, Paul Sansome of Ferox and Lee Robinson of Altana.
Newer firms were also well represented – with participants from a number of promising-looking and more recently launched operations including Ali Nejjar of Solaise Capital, Rob Kirkwood of Carrhae Capital, Emmanuel Weyd of Paris-based Eiffel Investment Group, former Rubicon co-founder Jeffrey Brummette of Onewall Advisors, Sven Bakker of Saemor Capital in the Netherlands and Anuraag Shah of US-based Tusker Capital.
Key figures from the investor and investment advisory world included Larry Powell of Utah, Niels Oostenbrug of Mn Services, Sanjay Tikku of KAUST, Mark Geene of PGGM, Franois Marbeck of La Banque Postale, Hilmi Unver of Notz Stucki, Jim Vos of Aksia, Christopher Fawcett of Fauchier Partners, Stephen Oxley of PAAMCO, Claire Smith of Albourne, Matthew Roberts of Towers Watson and Nicola Meaden Grenham of AlphaStrategic.
This year’s Summit – the ninth to be held in the French capital – was the first to take place in the middle of a French presidential election, being held in the week following Nicolas Sarkozy’s initial loss in the first round and 10 days ahead of his eventual defeat by new president Franois Hollande.
Along with the gloomy and changeable weather, the changing political background in France helped to provide an appropriately unsettled backdrop for the event at a time when markets look likely to remain in thrall to political events and macro developments – with many significant elections and leadership transitions coming up, not least in the US and China.
And the general sense of uncertainty and unpredictability was heightened by the fact that hedge fund performance had taken a turn for the worse in the run-up to the Summit after a generally strong start to the year.
After a good first quarter, helped by an upsurge in sentiment on the back of QE-style liquidity injections by the ECB, the Fed, the Bank of England and other central banks, performance has begun to stutter again on the back of a resurgence of worries about the eurozone debt crisis and the apparently faltering economic recovery in the US.
As a result, earlier hopes that 2012 was shaping up for a repeat of 2009 – when hedge funds roared back from the problems of 2008 with a year of very strong performance – were fast being replaced by fears that this year was more likely to see a reprise of 2011 all over again.
The overall purpose of the Summit comprised three principal objectives. The first was to assess the big-picture opportunities, risks and challenges facing the hedge fund industry as a whole – from the perspective of managers, investors and their counterparties – in the context of the major changes and upheavals taking place in the wider financial world and in the global macro-economic and political scene.
The second was to analyse the prospects in a range of specific investment strategy areas – including global macro, commodities and energy, equities, emerging markets, credit, event-driven and distressed investing, managed futures and quant-based systematic trading.
This strategy-specific content also included a dedicated session looking at the increasingly popular and varied range of volatility and tail risk strategies available to offer investors ways to protect against – and profit from � the high levels of market and macro volatility, and the potential tail events that are of such acute concern at the moment.
And the third aim was to address the operational and business management issues and challenges facing the hedge fund community – again from the perspective of managers, investors and their various counterparties.
Topics included: capital-raising, seeding and start-ups; counterparty and business risk; the tsunami of regulatory changes aimed at hedge funds, the broader finance industry and the markets in which many managers operate; recent onshore and offshore fund developments and trends; changing investor requirements vis–vis transparency, due diligence and risk reporting; and the future for the alternative investment industry in France itself.
Despite the less than seasonal springtime weather in Paris, and despite the correspondingly dark and stormy clouds gathering on the macro and market horizon, the general mood at the Summit was upbeat, lively and sharp.
There was plenty of optimism in evidence – in terms of the perceived opportunity set across a wide range of strategy areas. And there was widespread consensus that a global financial market environment that is shrouded in uncertainty and volatility ought to provide ample potential for hedge funds in many different areas to generate strong risk-adjusted returns.
But there was no shortage of pessimism, too – not least concerning the continuing turmoil in the crisis-stricken eurozone, but also at political and economic threats and challenges in the US, in China, in emerging markets, in the Middle East and elsewhere.
And, above all, there was a widespread realisation that – after the disappointments of 2011 and despite a generally good first quarter for the industry in 2012 – hedge fund managers are to a very large extent ‘on trial’ in 2012 as far as many investors are concerned.
For many clients that have come into the industry only in recent years, their experiences have not lived up to expectations. And there is a clear feeling of disappointment in many quarters, and even dismay, at the perceived inability of hedge funds to deliver what many investors are looking for.
For the moment, most allocators appear to be sticking with their hedge fund commitments. There is little sign of large-scale investor withdrawals from the industry – and certainly no sign of the mass redemptions that were seen in the debacle of 2008.
On the contrary, most of the recent investor surveys show clearly that virtually all types of institutional, intermediary and individual investors are still planning to increase – rather than decrease – their allocations.
This reflects a widespread view and hope that, in a period full of volatility and fear, hedge fund investing should – in theory at least – offer substantially better prospects for risk-adjusted returns than pretty much any other type of investment or asset class.
But, for many investors – particularly newer ones to the industry, and especially for those whose more institutional objectives can sometimes be very different from those of the more traditional individual and intermediary-type investors in hedge funds – the reality of the last few years has been very different from the theory.
In many cases, hedge funds have failed to deliver the diversification, reduced volatility, downside protection or lack of correlation that institutional investors in particular have been seeking – albeit in very macro-obsessed and politics-driven markets where fundamentals have been overwhelmed by continually oscillating short-term sentiment.
There was a clear sense among delegates that another poor year in 2012 could well lead many investors to re-evaluate their strategies and attitudes towards hedge fund investing in general – almost irrespective of the performance of individual managers and funds.
So the overall tone of the discussions and debate over the two days in Paris left no doubt that the industry is reaching a potentially very significant turning point – and that much will depend on the performance over the next 12 months or so.
For all the potential investment opportunities that hedge funds might be able to exploit in this extraordinary period of challenge and crisis – and for all the business opportunities that are opening up to hedge funds in a radically changing financial and investment world – the industry’s long-term future is perhaps more reliant now than ever on short-term results.
And the message coming out very clearly from Paris this year is that the industry is facing some major changes in terms of fees, incentivisation structures, consolidation, regulation, investor attitudes, its perception, its durability and, quite simply, its reputation.
As Sir Paul Ruddock, the co-founder of Lansdowne Partners, said – in a remark that got to the heart of what most of those present at this year’s Summit were feeling: “We charge a premium price and that means you have to deliver a premium product.

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3 Ways Independent Bric Market Analysis Can Earn You Thousands Of Euros

BRIC market analysis is a must-have tool for companies looking to enter into emerging BRIC markets. The past 5 years have seen European and American countries entering Brazilian, Eastern European, Indian and Chinese markets in a big way.

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The companies who have been able to make a successful entry were all those who took the time to do their homework. This includes PEST analysis, study of potential legal issues, logit analysis and more.

With the growing recognition of the importance of the BRIC nations, smaller European companies, especially in the online, finance and media industries, have also started entering these international markets. However, it is rarely cost-effective for these businesses to conduct their own market studies. Many companies also lack the necessary tools to conduct such a study.

Employing independent BRIC market analysts is the way to go in such a situation. Market analysis consultancies, especially those that operate online, have become a major service segment. Today, companies can find several exceptional BRIC industry experts online.

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Legitimate market analysts have a decade or more of experience in BRIC markets. This makes them a trusted source of information on these emerging markets. Here are some ways in which BRIC market analysts help:

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With the growing recognition of the importance of the BRIC nations, smaller European companies, especially in the online, finance and media industries, have also started entering these international markets. However, it is rarely cost-effective for these businesses to conduct their own market studies. Many companies also lack the necessary tools to conduct such a study.

The Three ‘rs’ Dominate The Debate In Paris: Risk, Returns And Regulation

Confidence and caution were competing in the air this year as the key figures in the global hedge fund industry came together in Paris for the 10th annual EuroHedge Summit

Risk, returns and regulation were the three overriding themes dominating the debate among hedge fund industry leaders this year as they gathered together for the annual two-day EuroHedge Summit in Paris last month.

Held at its traditional setting of Palais de la Bourse in the heart of a rather wintry and unsettled French capital on 21-23 May, the 10th Euro-Hedge Summit brought together more than 750 leading figures from the global hedge fund community and the broader finance industry at a time of major changes and challenges across the financial, economic, political and social spheres.

Under the title, ‘Strategies for a Complex World’, a high-level audience enjoyed keynote speeches from The Children’s Investment Fund founder Chris Hohn, Tosca-fund chief Martin Hughes and Balysany Asset Management founding partner Taylor O’Malley � as well as a series of panel discussions covering a wide range of strategy, industry and business issues.

The mood of the Summit was upbeat and a good deal more confident than in the past two or three years � reflecting the generally strong performance of most hedge funds in the buoyant and more settled market conditions of the last several months.

And that positive tone continued into the second day of the event, despite an overnight fall of over 7% in Japan’s previously surging stock markets on 23 May � which caused other global equity indices to falter as well, amid growing concerns that the powerful global equity bull market sentiment of recent months might be running out of steam, and which has helped to create a much less buoyant overall market climate in both bonds and equities since then.

Quantitative easing � and the likely timing and effect of its abatement, ‘tapering’ and eventual withdrawal, particularly in the US, and the consequent impact on all markets and hedge fund strategies � was a predominant topic of concern to managers and investors over the two days, at a time of such extreme monetary policies in the big developed economies.

But there were many other pressing issues on the minds of speakers, panellists and delegates: on interest rates and the increasingly desperate search for yield by investors at a time of record-low returns in government bonds; on currency wars; on sovereign and financial sector indebtedness; on the continued problems in the Eurozone; on inflation and deflation risks; on the likely success or otherwise of Japan’s reflation revolution; on possible bubbles in China, in credit markets and in other risk asset markets; on the possibility of a bond market meltdown; on the likelihood of a ‘great rotation’ into equities; on commodity and energy prices; on the prospects for emerging markets; on the social impact of austerity measures in the EU; and on the artificial nature of global financial markets that remain so completely in thrall to the actions, and inactions, of policy-makers and central banks.

And underlying much of the discussion was the central dichotomy of how to reconcile the fundamentally risk-averse nature of the increasingly institutional investor base that is starting to dominate the hedge fund landscape with the need � and desire � of managers to take increased risk at a time of such rich opportunities across most asset classes and strategy areas.

“The hedge fund industry is doing a disservice to itself by putting risk before return,” said Hohn � one of the most iconic figures in the European hedge fund world over the past decade � in the course of a compelling and very candid keynote address that captured the dilemma facing many managers and investors in the alternative investment industry.

Hohn � whose $5 billion flagship TCI fund is up by some 20% this year and by almost 30% over the past six months � added: “The industry must be prepared to take more risk in the sense of embracing price volatility � but not in the sense of what risk really is, which is permanent loss of capital.”

Underlying Hohn’s address was the sense that successful hedge fund managers over the long term need to be true to themselves as investors and managers of their own money � and should not try to be what they think investors want them to be.
With around $1 billion of his own money in the fund and a long-term annualised return of around 18%, Hohn’s central point that investors in hedge funds are more aligned with the custodians of their
capital than in any other area of asset management had a particular resonance. “Our strategy works � that’s all that I can say,” he said. “People say to me, ‘You’re too controversial, you’re too directional, you’re too concentrated, you take too much risk.’ I say to them, ‘That’s all true; but I make money.'”

Toscafund’s Hughes � whose firm has also been generating very punchy performance over the past year or so � was in equally frank and forthright form, focusing on the exceptional opportunities for high returns in UK equities that investors should be able to achieve.

Having weathered, like Hohn and TCI, a difficult time in 2008, Hughes and his team have bounced back impressively � through a similar style of concentrated and fairly activist equity investing that has served their investors very well at a time when hedge funds in general have attracted some criticism in the outside media for their low returns relative to equities.

Together, Hohn and Hughes presented compelling evidence of the continued ability of hedge fund managers to maximise returns for investors by taking well-judged risks and embracing opportunity � at a time when many of the pension fund and institutional-type investors that are pouring money into hedge funds are obsessed with minimising risk, minimising volatility, minimising correlation and minimising fees.

And concern over the pressure on returns was exacerbated by the widespread sense of frustration and dismay at the extent of all the new regulations that are being aimed at the alternative asset management industry, both in the EU and beyond.

Speaking at the hedge fund CEOs panel session in which he has participated for several years, Sir Paul Ruddock � the soon-to-retire co-founder of $12 billion London-based Lansdowne Partners � said the influx of regulation was the greatest threat facing the industry.

He described the EU’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive as “creating a far more constrained environment, and creating a lot of uncertainty. As an equity house, I think there’s still a lot of good value to be found in equities � but the major risk to the industry is regulation.”

In all, some 85 leading hedge fund managers, investors and counterparties participated in the EuroHedge Summit � on a series of sessions covering specific strategy areas as well as broader industry and business management issues.

The perspectives and views of leading investors were fully aired throughout the two days of the event� with numerous top-tier investors and key advisers participating from across the full spectrum of the pension fund, sovereign, family office, institutional, private bank, endowment, fund of fund, intermediary, consulting and seeding communities.

Celebrating its 10th year � and taking place in the year when the EU’s controversial AIFMD comes into effect in July, along with numerous other regulatory and market structure changes that will also have an impact on all hedge fund managers, investors and counterparties � the EuroHedge Summit attracted a typically strong line-up of panellists and participants.

The overall purpose of the Summit comprised three principal objectives. The first was to assess the big-picture opportunities, risks and challenges facing the hedge fund industry as a whole � against the
background of the major changes and upheavals taking place in the wider financial world and in the global macro-economic and political scene.

The second was to analyse the prospects in a range of specific investment strategy areas � including global macro, equities, emerging markets, credit, fixed-income, emerging markets, managed futures and quant-based systematic trading.

And the third was to address the many operational and business management issues and challenges facing the hedge fund community � from the perspective of managers, investors and their most important counterparties and advisers.

Besides Hohn and Hughes, the third keynote speaker at this year’s event was Balyasny’s O’Malley � a founding partner at the renowned US-based multi-strategy firm, who is responsible for firm-wide risk management, investment staff hiring and development.

In an address comprising a short formal speech and a more prolonged and informal question and answer session, O’Malley delivered an insightful and entertaining account of the firm’s approach to risk, its approach to developing and managing its multiple teams of portfolio managers, and the development and management of its overall culture.

Among the numerous prominent industry executives taking part in panel sessions over the two days were Cheyne Capital founders Jonathan Lourie and Stuart Fiertz: Stu Bohart, president of liquid markets at Fortress; Martin Estlander of Helsinki-based Estlander & Partners; Cantab Capital Partners co-founder Erich Schlaikjer; Amplitude Capital chairman Karsten Schrder; CapeView Capital founder Theo Phanos; Mako Investment Managers CIO Bruno Usai; Chenavari Capital CEO Loc Fery; Emmanuel Gavaudan, co-founder of Boussard & Gavaudan; and North Asset Management founder George Papamarkakis.

Joining seasoned macro manager Papamarkakis on the big-picture opening macro panel session were: Richard Cookson, head of research at fellow 10-year-old London-based macro fund Rubicon Fund Management; renowned economics commentator and analyst Anatole Kaletsky; and Lucrezia Reichlin, the former head of research at the European Central Bank, who is now professor of economics at the London Business School and founder of the economic consultancy group, Now-Casting.

A high-level session focused on whether investors would keep faith with hedge funds at a time when performance has generally been lagging equity indices comprised Penny Aitken from the family office group FQS set up by ex-Renaissance Technologies man Robert Frey; Alexandre Col, head of asset management at Banque Prive Edmond de Rothschild and one of the savviest hedge fund allocators; Martin Kllstrm, the portfolio manager for allocations to hedge funds at AP1, the huge Swedish national pension fund; and Max von Bismarck, partner and CEO for Europe at SkyBridge Capital, the big US investor group.

In addition, a closing investor-focused session at the end of the Summit on the best way to invest in hedge funds featured another top-quality line-up of investors and their advisers, comprising: Larry Powell of the Utah State Retirement Fund; Aurum Funds CEO Kevin Gundle; Tim Gascoigne of Allenbridge; Chris Redmond of Towers Watson; and Joe McCarthy, the CIO of multi-family office group Islandbridge.

Other well-known and experienced hedge fund investors on other panels during the course of the event included Sanjay Tikku of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Lisa Fridman of PAAMCO, Patric de Gentile-Williams of Man Group seeding arm FCA Capital, Hilmi Unver of Notz Stucki and Heath Davies of Signet Capital.

Sessions dedicated to equities, credit, CTAs, emerging markets and ‘off-piste’ strategies featured a mix of established and newer names covering a broad spectrum of differing approaches in their respective strategy areas � including Adelante, Skyline and Insparo in emerging markets; RiverCrest, CQS, Whitebox Advisers and BTG Pactual in equities; Harmonic and Altiq in managed futures and quant macro; BlueBay, Advent, SCIO and PVE Capital in fixed-income and credit; and Cygnus, Plenum, Armour and Active Earth in the ‘off-piste’ strategies arena.

Among the experts from the public sphere tackling the thorny and complex subject of regulation over the two days were Jiri Krol, director of regulatory and government affairs at global hedge fund industry association AIMA, and Peter De Proft, the director general of EFAMA (the European Fund and Asset Management Association).

And the many business and operational issues covered in a packed programme included a session on how hedge funds are adapting for the imminent start of OTC derivatives clearing on exchanges � which featured Aron Landy from Brevan Howard and Pat Trew from CQS, two of the most experienced and highly-regarded hedge fund risk managers in the industry.

Overall, the mood of confidence at the opportunities facing hedge funds across an array of markets, asset classes and strategy areas was mixed with a degree of caution at the potential for regulators and policy-makers to constrain hedge funds and trigger market corrections, through ill-thought-out regulatory measures and policy moves that could serve to constrict returns for investors at the very time when they need them most.


A panel of senior hedge fund executives came together to discuss the future direction of the industry and the challenges facing individual firms, in a session appropriately subtitled ‘Charting the way forward’.

Returning from the previous year were two of London’s best-known hedge fund CEOs: Jonathan Lourie, founder and CEO of Cheyne Capital Management; and Sir Paul Ruddock, co-founder and chief executive of Lansdowne Partners.

Joining them on the panel for the first time were Stu Bohart, the president of liquid markets and senior managing director for strategy at $55.6 billion US giant Fortress Investment Group; and Martin Estlander, the founder and CEO at longstanding Finnish-based managed futures house Estlander & Partners.

Kicking off the conversation, Lourie recalled the bullish stance he had taken during last year’s panel � and pointed out that, for Cheyne at least, his optimism had turned out to be justified. “Last year, I felt vehemently that there were good times ahead,” he said. “We’re focused on credit and last year was a great year for us. And I think there’s still some juice in the lemon to be squeezed.”

With banks still not lending, the opportunities are to be found in alternative credit strategies, and hedge funds are offering an attractive alternative to long-only investing, he said, adding: “Overall, I think we’re in a pretty good environment.”

Ruddock agreed that the past 12 months have generally seen improved hedge fund performance compared with the previous few years. But he observed that there are challenges on the horizon – notably the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive, which comes into force in July.

He described the AIFMD as “creating a far more constrained environment, and creating a lot of uncertainty. As an equity house, I think there’s still a lot of good value to be found in equities � but the major risk to the industry is regulation.”

Bohart described the Directive and other regulatory initiatives as “unnecessary hassle”, and suggested the result might be that investors are driven towards the larger firms with the bigger infrastructures. Estlander said that while he does not inherently support increased regulation, “I think getting the clarity is a good thing.”

“Most regulatory costs are borne by the manager; you can’t pass most of it on [to investors],” noted Ruddock. But he identified the threat of a remuneration cap for European asset managers in Europe as the bigger concern. “It does threaten our ability to retain talent versus the US, Singapore or wherever,” he argued. Unlike Fortress, Lansdowne has “no interest” in moving into the retail space, he said, and Ruddock does not believe the regulatory safeguards being imposed are necessary when dealing with institutional clients.

“We have to get away from governments deciding who can make money or not � or the talent will go elsewhere,” agreed Bohart. Turning to the issue of liquidity, he pointed out that different liquidity profiles and fund structures suit different investment strategies.

“I think credit investors should be willing to lock up their money; there should be a match,” he said. “Some investors still ask for liquidity when they know it doesn’t suit the investment. They put themselves in harm’s way.”

Ruddock argued that the UCITS format is “not appropriate” for hedge funds, citing onerous regulatory requirements and the danger of a liquidity mismatch between the portfolio and the terms offered to investors.

“It’s increasingly important in certain markets � including France � to have an onshore fund. In France, Cayman is a four-letter word,” said Lourie. “I think the idea of being onshore and liquid is very product-specific � it doesn’t make sense for all strategies � but I hope it grows in a sensible way to be a larger part of the market,” he added. ”

We have a very good regulator in Finland,” said Estlander. “Onshore products are accepted and used by both retail and institutional clients, and investors appreciate what hedge funds do for them. So hopefully the AIFMD will do the same for Europe more widely, and help change perceptions.”

The executives, all senior figures within well-established businesses, were asked to assess the feasibility of setting up a new hedge fund outfit from scratch in the current environment. ”

I really believe it’s about the talent � if you’re a talented stock-picker, you should stick it out and go it alone,” said Lourie. “When we interview people, we often get the excuse that it’s too hard for them to do it on their own. I want to see people who don’t want to join Cheyne � and I want to entice them to work with us.”

“The skill of running money is not the same as the skill of running a business,” observed Bohart, adding that many of today’s leading firms were established “when there was structural alpha to be had”. It is far tougher to launch as an independent firm in the current climate, so a partnership with a larger firm can be beneficial, he said.

Estlander launched his business with as little as $250,000, and is now managing $1 billion. “I would encourage people to have a go at setting up on their own, but it will be hard work � so teaming up with a larger firm is probably a good way to do it,” he agreed.

“It’s the same old story: you need seed capital, and you need good returns,” said Ruddock. “There’s always something going on in the markets that could discourage a launch,” he added – pointing out that Lansdowne’s initial pool of commitments equated to just $40 million, rather than an expected $140 million, thanks to the 1998 Russian financial crisis. The firm now manages around $11 billion.

The discussion then turned to the issue of succession planning � a timely subject, given that Ruddock is due to retire from Lansdowne at the end of this month. “It’s difficult to replace a founder/CEO, because we couldn’t even begin to look until we’d told our investors it was happening,” he said. But Ruddock added that he was confident the business would continue to run smoothly after the transition.

“You have to differentiate between a star manager � an alpha generator like [Moore Capital founder] Louis Bacon �

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