Observations – Statistics – Commentary

Today’s issue focuses on speed and data, as well as several new managed futures ETFs and  the Barclay’s CTA Index, which was done in June, as was its hedge fund index.

Quote of the Day

“The picture is of an industry treading water. There’s not as much movement in the top 20 as one might have thought.”

-Guy Wolf, global head of market analytics at commodities broker Marex Spectron in the Wall Street Journal’s “Who Are Europe’s Hedge Fund Winners?”

Deep-Pocketed Funds Give Up on Speed Game
Geoffrey Rogow – MoneyBeat – WSJ
For some large investors, the trading game has shifted from speed to size. A focus on size, specifically using “big data” to get a trading advantage, has become a major component of research budgets at hedge funds, asset managers and even some large banks over the last year. The spending push is a shift from just a few years ago, when firms’ research and development budgets were focused on making sure they were first in line on every trade.

County Cork Launches New 2K Equities Managed Futures Program
Press release
County Cork LLC, a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) established by former President of R.J. O’Brien & Associates, announces the launch of the 2K Equities Managed Futures Program.
**JK – The O’Brien’s staying close to their roots.

First Trust Launches Managed Futures ETF
By Teresa Rivas – Barrons
First Trust’s Morningstar Managed Futures Strategy Fund (FMF) began trading today. The actively managed ETF is entering the ring with WisdomeTree’s Managed Futures Strategy Fund (WDTI). http://jlne.ws/18Wvdvn
**JK – And the managed futures mutual funds keep on coming.

Who Are Europe’s Hedge Fund Winners?
Wall Street Journal
Managed futures funds were often caught off guard in the past 12 months, while investors continued to favor the biggest funds and outstanding performance was driven by big bets on U.S. housing and activism.
Hedge fund performance is up by an average 8.25% in the 12 months to June 30 and 3.55% in the first six months of this year, according to data provider Hedge Fund Research.

BlackRock hedge fund performance analysis
Harriet Agnew – Financial News
Equity hedge funds have delivered the highest total returns this year but managers of global macro funds demonstrated the most skill, according to a new report. The average (median) alpha generated across all hedge funds was 1.7 percentage points, while the average total return was 4% across all strategies. Equity hedge funds, which take long and short positions in stocks, on average generated alpha of only 0.9 percentage points despite an average total return of 6.6%, the highest of any of the strategies.

HFT and the Computerization of Wall Street, Part 3: Eliminating the Middleman
Steve Wunsch – TabbFORUM
Although trading costs are down dramatically, the portion of trading that is intermediated actually has risen – ironically due to reforms meant to eliminate intermediation. Now, disappointed, indignant, diehard reformers are upping their demands. This is Part 3 in a series that examines the evolution of US market structure and regulators’ role in shaping the current state of the markets, for better or for worse.

Let’s (not) get physical: the commodities conundrum facing banks
Suzi Ring – Financial News
Should banks own and trade physical commodities? That was the question asked of senior regulators by the US Senate Banking Committee last week.

Winners announced for second Hedge Funds Review Americas Awards 2013
Press Release
Hedge Funds Review and BarclayHedge recognized the best performing hedge funds and funds of hedge funds in the Americas at the second Hedge Funds Review Americas Awards (at an event on July 25) in New York City.

Barclay CTA Index Down 1.11% in June; Trend Reversals Hit Managed Futures Returns
Press Release
Managed futures lost 1.11% in June according to the Barclay CTA Index compiled by BarclayHedge. The Index is now down 0.87% year to date.

Barclay Hedge Fund Index Down 1.35% in June; Hedge Funds Stumble After 12 Straight Months of Gains
Press Release
After twelve consecutive months of gains, hedge funds lost 1.35% in June, according to the Barclay Hedge Fund Index compiled by BarclayHedge. The Index remains up 4.26% year to date.

Managed Futures/Managed Funds

Commodities Hedge Funds Are Officially On Their Biggest Losing Streak Ever
By Tommy Wilkes – Reuters
Funds betting on commodity price moves have lost money every month since January, their joint longest losing streak on record, raising more doubts about their ability to make money at a time when the commodity “supercycle” may be over.

Montreux launches commodities fund
Ann-Marie Corvin – International Adviser
Montreux Capital Management has joined forces with Sirius Commodities to create the Montreux Sirius Commodities Fund, which aims to capitalise on the global demand for commodities. http://jlne.ws/18WAG5n

Direxion Indexed Managed Futures Strategy Fund Surpasses $100 Million In Assets Under Management
Press Release
Direxion, a leader in alternative investment solutions, announces that the Direxion Indexed Managed Futures Strategy Fund (DXMAX) has obtained more than $100 million in assets under management since its inception in February 2012, further strengthening the firm as a premier provider of alternative investment strategies.

INTL FCStone Announces Hedge Fund Capital Raising Team
GlobeNewswire via Yahoo! Finance
NEW YORK — INTL FCStone Inc today announced the appointment of George Lucaci as head of their wholly owned subsidiary, INTL FCStone Securities Inc.’s new hedge fund capital-raising group.

Man Group unveils further cost savings
Harriet Agnew – Financial News
In his first full quarter as chief executive of Man Group, Europe’s largest listed hedge fund manager, Manny Roman unveiled $75 million in cost savings, but redemptions resulted in a 9% decrease in funds under management over the first six months of the year.

Pimco Total Return Fund turns positive in July as rate fears ease
Bill Gross’s Pimco Total Return Fund, the world’s largest mutual fund, had a positive monthly return in July after its biggest monthly slide since 2008 in June as fears of rising U.S. interest rates eased, preliminary data from Morningstar showed.

Caxton reopens hedge fund to new investors
Sam Jones, Hedge Fund Correspondent – FT.com
Caxton Associates, a hedge fund manager with $7bn under management, has reopened its main fund to new investors in the belief that global markets are rife with investment opportunities.

Japan regulator says Singapore-based hedge fund manipulated share prices
Reuters via Yahoo! Finance
A Singapore-based hedge fund manipulated prices in the Japanese equity market and should pay a 431 million yen ($4.38 million) fine, Japan’s securities regulator said, which would be biggest ever imposed against a non-Japanese firm for market manipulation.

Pensions and Institutions

Swaps Probe Finds Banks Manipulated Rate at Expense of Retirees
Matthew Leising – Bloomberg
U.S. investigators have uncovered evidence that banks reaped millions of dollars in trading profits at the expense of companies and pension funds by manipulating a benchmark for interest-rate derivatives.

Singapore wealth fund GIC sees western banks healing, could invest more
Rachel Armstrong and Saeed Azhar | Reuters
Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, the single biggest shareholder of UBS, said it believes the western banking industry is healing and it has the capacity to invest more in the financial sector.

Singapore State Fund Tackles Markets With New Strategy
By Klaus Wille – Bloomberg
GIC Pte, manager of more than $100 billion of Singapore’s reserves, is changing its investment strategy for the second time in three decades to be more flexible as the global outlook becomes “complicated.”
GIC will split its portfolio into one that’s actively managed, and another that tracks the overall market, it said as its annual report showed returns were little changed. The company didn’t say how much of the assets will be managed or indexed against the market.

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