Evan Katz, Hedge Fund Association (HFA) Board Member, Discusses Hedge Funds, Institutional Investors & Successful Fundraising

Feel free check out a short (three-minute) but very informative and highly insightful interview with Evan Katz, a Managing Director at Crawford Ventures, Inc., and an elected Director on the Hedge Fund Association (HFA) Board of Directors.

Mr. Katz discusses hedge funds, institutional investors and successful fundraising, especially by mid-size funds and emerging managers.  He is interviewed here, as an expert on these topics, at the HFA’s recent annual “Hedgeopolis” hedge fund and institutional investor conference in Manhattan (Nov. 9-10, 2015).

Also, as Crawford works with hundreds of institutional and family office investors that collectively allocate many billions of dollars to hedge funds, please feel free to contact Mr. Katz (EKatz@CrawfordVentures.com) if you work with or otherwise know any compelling hedge funds that are looking for more investors and to grow their AUM.

Evan Katz, Hedge Fund Association (HFA) Board Member, Discusses Hedge Funds, Institutional Investors & Successful Fundraising from Evan Katz on Vimeo.

A Leg To Stand On’s Annual Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest

A Leg To Stand On’s (ALTSO’s) Annual Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest has been recognized as one of the most unique and highly anticipated fundraising events in both the charitable and financial sectors.

The event, featuring live music from bands comprised of hedge fund industry executives and other financial industry professionals, benefits the children’s charity A Leg to Stand On (ALTSO).

ALTSO transforms the lives of children with limb disabilities by providing them with free prosthetic limbs, orthotic devices, mobility aids, corrective surgery and mobility aids. The mission of ALTSO is to offer children who have lost their limbs in traumatic accidents or suffer from congenital disabilities the physical capabilities to access the opportunities and self-esteem earned through education, work and mobility.

Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest provides attendees with a unique situation where bands made up of hedge fund professionals perform to raise money for a great cause. It is really fun to watch hedge fund professionals come together and combine passions from different fields. These performers are not only passionate about helping children and supporting a good cause but are also passionate about music, which makes for a interesting night of networking, as well as great drinks, food, and dancing.

At this years event, ALTSO’s Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest NYC, raised nearly $500,000! It took place on Thursday October 15, 2015, and thanks to the generous support of major sponsors and nearly 1,400 attendees from the Tri-State finance, business and hedge fund communities, they raised almost half a million dollars!

“The kindness and generosity of our sponsors, industry executives and volunteers has already made it possible for ALTSO to transform the lives of over 13,500 children in 20 countries since the charity’s inception,” said C. Mead Welles, founder of ALTSO and hedge fund Octagon Asset Management in New York.

Welles continued: “Our 12th Annual Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest last week in New York, and our 4th Annual Rocktoberfest in Chicago, will enable us to treat nearly 2,000 more children with limb disabilities in the developing world next year. I continue to be grateful to all of ALTSO’s wonderful rock stars.”

Here is a fun video from last years event:

2014 Hedge Fund Rocktoberfest from A Leg To Stand On on Vimeo.


Top 5 Colleges to Attend For a Future in Hedge Funds

According to an article published by FINalternitives, graduating from a top school with a concentration in finance does not always mean that you will be offered a job, especially in the specialized world of hedge funds. A study conducted by SumZero, an investment social network dedicated to professional investors (and more commonly referred to as the “buyside”), proved that gaining a job in hedge funds takes a lot more than just graduating from a top school.

The head of data science at SumZero, Luke Schiefelbein, told CNBC that in the study, a “top fund” category was created by using a combination of rankings. He notes:

“‘The most highly represented schools on SumZero are similar in order to those you might find on a U.S. News ranking, but the schools with alumni that are most successful at getting jobs at top hedge funds show a much different order… This suggests that top funds might be much more comprehensive in their selection process above and beyond simply identifying those that went to the top schools’” (FINalternatives, 10 Best Schools If You Want to Work at a Top Hedge Fund).

The study was based on a survey of 11,000 members that SumZero considered to be an appropriate size to represent the 100,000 – person buy side community. The list includes universities that have the highest number of graduates who work at top hedge funds. Here are the top five schools on the list, as stated by FINalternatives:

  1. Colgate, Percentage of graduates who work in top hedge funds: 17.65
  2. MIT, Percentage of graduates who work in top hedge funds: 15.12
  3. Johns Hopkins, Percentage of graduates who work in top hedge funds: 14.89
  4. Brigham Young, Percentage of graduates who work in top hedge funds: 14.71
  5. University of Pennsylvania, Percentage of graduates who work in top hedge funds: 12.23

Does your school make the cut? Find out if it’s in the top 10 here.

Alternative Assets Show Promise For Investors

As of most recent data calculated by Preqin late August shows, institutional appetite for alternative assets are progressively growing and show zero signs of slowing. According to an article published by FINalternatives, “Preqin latest Invest Outlook reveals that fully 79% of institutional managers have exposure to at least one alternative asset class,” (Appetite for Alternative Remains Strong Among Institutional Investors). That being said, there have been an increasing number of recognized benefits among investors that are related to these alternative assets.

Evan Katz Hedge FundsThough these benefits vary between institutional managers, the four main positive alternative asset reasoning similarities that Preqin notes are: diversification, reliable income streams, high returns, and inflation hedging characteristics. The report also shows that there will likely be a significant increase in investment throughout almost all asset classes in the coming year. Around 36% of infrastructure investors, 38% of private debt investors, and 42% of private equity investors plan to increase their investment in capital over the next year.

For hedge funds in particular, the Preqin report mentions that around 33% of investors are looking to invest in less capital over the next 12 months in comparison to the 19% that will increase their capital investments. Other interesting findings the report showed were:

“The vast majority of investors have a positive or neutral view of each asset class. For investors in private equity and real estate, this stands at 95% and 94% respectively. Conversely, 20% of investors in hedge funds have a negative perception of the asset class,” (Appetite for Alternative Remains Strong Among Institutional Investors).

It is clear there are major differences between hedge fund investments and real estate investments. Additional information states that over 60% of investors in real estate, private debt, and infrastructure are said to have target returns of at least 8% per year, compared to the 60% of private equity investors that have seen returns of at least 14%.

In conclusion, there are many reasons a wide variety of investors are attracted to alternative assets. Preqin CEO Mark O’Hare stated, “‘The high absolute returns generated by private equity, hedge funds’ ability to reduce volatility, the reliable income generated by private debt and the inflation-hedging characteristics of real assets are just some of the attractions for sophisticated investors,’” (Appetite for Alternative Remains Strong Among Institutional Investors).

For more information regarding Preqin’s latest findings, which surveyed over 460 investors in alternative assets from North America, Europe, Asia and elsewhere, please read FINalternatives article here.

How the ACA is Affecting Mid-Sized Finance Companies

According to a recent article published by the Hedge Connection Blog, mandated changes implemented by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will have a large impact on U.S. firms who have between 51-100 employees starting in January 2016. The article states:

“Companies with 51-100 employees, who previously enjoyed the ‘economies of scale’ benefits associated with being in the large group health care market, will become part of the small group market as of their first renewal on or after January 1, 2016. While this change will happen across the U.S., we believe its impact will be very significant in New York State,” (Affordable Care Act (ACA) Changes Are Coming to U.S. Mid-Sized Businesses with Significant Impact for New York’s Finance Firms: Here is What You Need to Know to be Prepared).

This change will particularly impact New York State because there is a larger amount of mid-sized finance companies here compared to anywhere else in the country.

Business can expect a multitude of changes in January 2016, including an increase on healthcare premiums. Other predicted changes include the following:

  • Access to rich benefit plans many of these companies previously had will be reduced
  • Benefits will be selected from a group of plans that the carrier offers
  • “Small Group” market plans will be eliminated
  • Deductibles and out-of-network coverage will be affected
  • Advanced infertility treatments and other specific services will be lowered

For more information on how the ACA’s changes will severely affect mid-sized finance companies, please read the Hedge Connection Blog’s article here.

An Unexpected Shutdown on the NYSE

In our digital age, a computer malfunction or glitch can cause a sizeable catastrophe. From banks to private data, nearly every element of our lives are kept somewhere in cyberspace. Though this existence provides us with an unprecedented level of connection, we have become exposed, and some say reliant on technology. This symbiosis came to the fore when trading was halted on the New York Stock Exchange for over three hours Wednesday morning. Fearing attack from an outside element, officials at the NYSE were quick to respond.

With thousands of dollars being traded every moment, the New York Stock Exchange thrives on speed and efficiency. A blip, the smallest hiccup in that stream of data and dollars can cause untold financial damage to companies and brokers. The technical issue arose at precisely 11:32 a.m. EST, and caused more than it’s fair share of headaches.

Though the NYSE has denied any outside involvement with the interruption, chalking the blip up to “technical issues,” the delay only proved how desperately we rely on the fluidity of technology. “We’re currently experiencing a technical issue,” said a NYSE spokeswoman, “that we’re working to resolve as quickly as possible.” “We will be providing further updates as soon as we can, and are doing our utmost to produce a swift resolution…”

While causing a fair deal of trouble, trading was able to continue through other exchanges. Though NYSE officials reported slight electronic anomalies during early Wednesday morning, the problem was resolved shortly before the entire system went down. The problem all but solved, NYSE officials have reassured traders that their system will be at full capacity soon. And while anxious traders are ready to continue their business, many still remember the Nasdaq’s crash of 2013, and fear a repeat incident. For more on this story and the full article, click here.