News round-up: SEC extends welcome to new Chair Gensler; Hedge funds confident; Laurium Capital moves into UCITs space; People moves

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SEC extends welcome to new Chair Gensler

The SEC’s acting chair Allison Herren Lee has led the commission’s welcome to incoming chair Gary Gensler, who was voted in following a 53-45 senate vote.

“A warm congratulations to Gary Gensler on his Senate confirmation to become Chair of the SEC,” read a statement from Herren Lee and her team. “He will be joining a dedicated staff that works tirelessly day in and day out on behalf of investors and our markets.

“We welcome him back to public service and look forward to working together to execute our vital mission.”

Gensler succeeds Jay Clayton, who carried out the role from May 2017-December 2020.

Commentators anticipate Gensler’s appointment could signal heightened enforcement across the industry; for five years up to 2104, he was chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, where he was instrumental in the passing of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.


Hedge funds confident in upcoming trading environment

More than 90% of hedge funds surveyed for Aima’s Hedge Fund Confidence Index (HFCI) said they were ‘positive’ about economic prospects in their business over the next 12 months.

UK-based hedge funds’ confidence levels were up 60% on Q4 2020 to +16 on Aima’s scale ranging from -50 for the most negative responses, to +50 for the most positive.

Overall, hedge funds based in North America expressed the highest level of confidence (+20) whereas EMEA and APAC based funds confidence levels increased by 70% and 58% from Q4 2020 respectively. The overall average measure of confidence is +18, a near 40% increase on the confidence level reported last quarter (December 2020) where there was a wide dispersion of confidence scores.

Just over half (54%) of responses came from funds managing over $1bn in assets, while those managing cash below this threshold accounted for 46% of responses.

Tom Kehoe, Global Head of Research and Communications at Aima, commented: “As we move into the second quarter of this year, hedge funds enjoy a healthy level of confidence with the promise of greater times ahead.

“Further reasons for the industry to be cheerful include a continued strong appetite among investors for hedge funds while the pipeline for new fund launches remains resilient.”

The HFCI was published by Aima in collaboration with Simmons & Simmons and Seward & Kissel. Over 300 hedge funds participated in the Index, said Aima, accounting for approximately $1 trillion in assets.


Laurium Capital moves into UCITs space

South Africa-based hedge fund Laurium Capital has launched its first Irish-domiciled UCITS fund, the Laurium Africa USD Bond Fund, on the Prescient Global Funds ICAV platform.

The fund seeks to generate long term capital growth with low volatility and low correlation to equity markets by primarily investing in African (ex-South Africa) sovereign USD debt. The fund’s reference benchmark is The Standard Bank Africa Sovereign Eurobond (excl. South Africa) Total Return Index.

“With global investors on the hunt for yield, African Eurobonds currently provide access to a liquid asset class which is offering some of the most attractive USD yields globally. The asset class has grown immensely over the past decade with over USD 100 billion in outstanding issuance across 20 countries in Africa excluding South Africa.

“COVID-19 has provided an opportunity that has not happened since the Global Financial Crisis; spreads have widened providing an attractive entry point, similar to what investors are seeing in the global high yield space but at half the volatility and risk,” said Paul Robinson, Laurium’s Portfolio Manager.

Laurium has been investing across the African markets since its inception in 2008.


People moves

Activist asset manager Polar Capital Holdings has made two senior hires to its North American sales team. Rudy Garza joins as a Director of Business Development covering the West Coast of the US, and Florbela Mendez has been recruited as Vice President of Business Development at Phaeacian Partners, a joint venture with Polar Capital. Garza joins Polar Capital after seven years at Royce Investment Partners, a leading specialist in global small-cap equity strategies, where he managed client service and business development. Mendez joins Phaeacian Partners after 11 years at International Value Advisers, an investment management company offering services to institutions, high-net-worth individuals and financial intermediaries.

Apex Group has appointed Debbie Lee as Country Head, China. Based in Shanghai and reporting to Valerie Mantot-Groene, Head of APAC, she will be responsible for driving the firm’s growth and performance across the APAC region. Lee joins Apex from TMF Group where she was most recently the market lead of Fund Services at TMF China. In this role, she led the delivery of services to international corporations with a focus on Hedge Funds, Private Equity and Real Estate and Venture Capital clients. Prior to that, Lee spent over a decade in various China-stationed consultancy roles.

The Maples Group has announced two senior appointments; Clare Kennedy joins as the Group's law firm Global Chief Operating Officer and Owen Brookman joins as Group General Counsel. Kennedy joins from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where she was Global Chief Financial Officer for three years. Prior to this she was COO for Western Europe at Linklaters.

Stephanie Taylor

Head of Event Content, HFM

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