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November Brings More Losses for CTAs Following a difficult October, CTAs continued to face challenges in November as the SG CTA Index was down 1.09% and the SG Trend Index was down 1.75%. Year-to-date, the SG CTA Index is down 7.18%. However, the SG Trend Indicator outperformed the Trend Index as it was up 2.51%. This was driven by gains in commodity markets especially from short positions in the energy sector. Apart from the uplift in commodities, trend following strategies struggled in other sectors with losses in currencies and equities. There were strong reversals against established trends in particular in Australian and New Zealand dollar. Furthermore, trends in bond markets continued to be mixed, as the new upward momentum brought the recent downward trend to an end.
Asset Managers See Technology as Key to Growth A new study by State Street indicates that 68% of institutional investors are concerned about their ability to hit their growth objectives within the current market environment. The survey also found that 72% of asset owners expect to adopt a more defensive investment strategy going forward and the same percentage of asset managers will slow their plans for expansion over the next five years. State Street’s second Annual Growth Survey talks to more than 500 global asset managers, asset owners and insurance companies.
Currency Traders a Bright Spot in Gloomy CTA Report The flash estimate for the Barclay CTA Index, compiled by BarclayHedge, indicates a 1.29% loss in October. Year to date, the Index is down 2.87%. Six of the firm's Managed Futures indices lost ground in October, while three had gains. Cryptocurrency Traders gave up 3.62% in October, MPI Barclay Elite Systematic Traders lost 3.15%, Diversified Traders were down 2.32%, the Systematic Traders Index lost 1.93% and Financial/Metals Traders dropped 0.43%. The Currency Traders Index had the largest gain in October.
Hedge Funds Suffer in October: BarclayHedge Hedge Funds gave up 3.06% in October according to the Barclay Hedge Fund Index compiled by BarclayHedge, versus a 6.84% decrease in the S&P 500 Total Return Index. Year to date, the Barclay Hedge Fund Index is down 1.90%, while the S&P has gained 3.01%. Overall, 16 of Barclay’s 17 hedge fund indices had losses in October, while only one index had a gain. The Barclay Fund of Funds Index gave up 2.69% in October, and has moved into negative territory with a 2.34% loss for the year.
CTAs Continue to Struggle All of Societe Generale’s (SG) CTA indices were down in October and are now in negative territory year-to-date. The SG CTA Index was down 2.79% and the SG Trend Index was down 4.29%. The short-term and quant macro strategies fared considerably better as the SG STTI Index was down marginally by 0.40%. Continuing from September's dip, losses were driven primarily by trend-following strategies, with losses in commodities, equities and bonds. Commodities were a particular drag on results, with the upwards trend reversing and the oil market losing 1.58%. A number of long equity market positions also reverted, while bond markets rallied against the developing downwards trend, leading to losses in many of these markets.
New Systematic Currency Fund Launches Roger Boehler and Kevin Nay Yaung have launched a new currency fund called Limmat Currency Partners (LCP). LCP is headquartered in Westport, Connecticut, with Boehler serving as the firm’s CEO and Yuang operating as a general partner. According to the firm’s website: “The Limmat Currency Partners (LCP) LLC investment program applies a range of quantitative and systematic techniques to the most liquid currencies in the global foreign exchange markets. We use transparent and robust investment inputs combining momentum, relative value and risk parity elements in a clearly defined repeatable process.” LCP looks to approach the currency markets by combining algorithmic programming, unbiased and robust trade entry and exit signals and a rigorous risk management framework. The firm is registered as a Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).
Unpredictable Trend Changes Drive CTA Losses in September The flash estimate for the Barclay CTA Index, compiled by BarclayHedge, indicates a 0.19% loss in September. However, currency trading remains the best performing sector this year. “The US economy continues to strengthen in spite of pervasive trade war fears and continued Fed monetary tightening, while other countries have chosen to keep their rates low,” says Sol Waksman, founder and president of BarclayHedge. He adds: “These contradictory monetary policies have created unpredictable crosscurrents and trend changes in futures prices.” Eight of Barclay’s managed futures indices had losses in September, while only one had a gain.
Hedge Fund Performance Edges Lower in September Hedge Funds slipped 0.02% in September according to the Barclay Hedge Fund Index compiled by BarclayHedge, versus a 0.57% increase in the S&P 500 Total Return Index. Year to date, the Barclay Hedge Fund Index is up 1.25%, while the S&P has gained 10.57%. “In spite of interest rates reaching multi-year highs, US equities were able to squeak out a modest profit,” says Sol Waksman, founder and president of BarclayHedge. “However, hedge fund returns were mixed. Winners and losers were evenly split.”
David Campbell has left Sydney-based hedge fund Hunter Burton Capital to set up his own currency-focused fund. Campbell established Hunter Burton in 2011 with Tony Bradley, who left Westpac to join the fund – Bradley is remaining with Hunter Burton as CEO and portfolio manager. Campbell has established Castle Rock Global Capital in a split which is described as “amicable” by Bradley in an email, the new investment prospectus for Hunter Burton Capital add Campbell has left “due to differing investment philosophies”.
Record Currency Management Signs with New Change FX Currency management firm Record Currency Management has engaged New Change FX, an independent provider of FX data and transaction cost analysis (TCA), to further enhance Record’s commitment to deliver minimum cost and maximum transparency for clients. Record says it has always placed a high value on minimising transaction costs for clients, and providing the greatest level of transparency and disclosure available in the OTC FX market. To this end, it has a dedicated trading team and maintains multiple routes to access market liquidity.