Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Worried About Insider Trading?

We’ve noticed an increased appetite for anything related to hedge fund due diligence and compliance.

Today’s headlines are filled with stories of hedge fund managers accused of insider trading.

The question is how should investors react to the increasing number of insider trading cases splashing the front of the Wall Street Journal?

Some experts, including some of the fine folks we have lined up to speak for GAIM Ops Cayman, say you may not need to react at all.

Clearly insider trading is an important issue and should be on everyone’s mind, especially when you are evaluating a new investment.  However, if you are currently invested in a fund that is going through an investigation, remember –innocent until proven guilty.

The SEC has beefed up their enforcement team and is on high alert for high profile cases.  In FY 2012, the SEC opened 734 enforcement actions, flat with the735 that were opened in FY 2012, with only 58 of these cases for insider trading, according to the SEC.

In actuality, most SEC enforcement actions do not end with a conviction, but that is not what the media and court of public opinion would have you believe.  So, why is the media obsessed with hedge funds?

You can find out more this April at GAIM Ops Cayman, where  Dan McCrumfrom the Financial Times and Maneet Ahuja from CNBC  and Author of The Alpha Masters will examine this topic further and provide insight into insider trading.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It’s all about the money…

In the wake of continued market volatility, the fear of the fiscal cliff, regulatory uncertainty and incredibly low yields; investors are asking how much more can they take.
(Photo: 401(K) 2012)

The answer is a lot. The reason is because they have to. Over the last six months, we have been speaking with investors of all shapes and sizes and one theme that carries through all the conversations, regardless of the size of their portfolio, is they want to put money to work. 

And while there is significant consensus among investors about getting into the markets, there is clearly no consensus as to how to access the markets. 

Some investors, like large wheel heeled managers with significant assets under management, others are focused on emerging managers, while others don’t seem to know what they want only that they want something that will earn them a return.

However, returns, it seems, may be tough to come by. We searched the web and found few articles that illustrate just how hard it is to put up returns today:

Eurekahedge: Hedge Funds Up Marginally In Nov.

US Hedge Funds Struggle to Get Ahead

The only way to get in the game is to start playing the game. What better way to get involved then by attending GAIM USA in January. To learn more about the conference and how attending can help you make better decisions click here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Forget About the Heartland – Agriculture Investing Is Hot in Asia

Thanks to historically high barriers of entry, such as low liquidity, institutional investors only own roughly 3% of the agricultural farmland market, according to Bloomberg estimates. And as U.S. investments, such as farmland, fetch ever-escalating prices, investors are looking toward other markets to put their money to work.

Asia - Satellite image - PlanetObserver
 (Photo: PlanetObserver)
Many are eyeing Asia, a continent with rapidly changing consumer tastes, nutritional cognizance and discretionary spending as the place to be. Asia’s been touted not only for its non-traditional ag investment opportunities – but the region’s huge number of consumers impacts many non-Asian ag investments.

Take, for example, Deutsche Bank’s pitch to investors for Fonterra Cooperative, a New Zealand dairy. Investment analysts say Asia’s growing taste for dairy could provide an upside for investors. The demand also creates an optimal M&A climate, according to this WSJ story.

Last month, Victor Lean, managing partner of Singapore-based Caudex Asia shared his thoughts on Asia-focused private equity opportunities at AgReturn Global Investments, an investing conference in Chicago.

While investments in other emerging markets, such as Latin America, tend to focus on the perennial favorite – farmland – he focused on opportunities in extricating value in other links of the Asia supply chain, including fertilizer, post-harvest technology and processing. Whether it is dairy or farmland, Ag is clearly a place to extract profits in the near and long term.  Our next Ag Return event will be in June of 2013 stay tuned for updates and information on this sector of the market.

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