Hedge fund head says times right for global macro

Reuters – In a period when volatile markets battered most hedge funds, global macro funds are proving their worth, Graham Capital Chairman Kenneth Tropin told Reuters.

During one of the hedge fund industry’s worst years, Graham delivered gains of up to 41 percent in 2008 by making good bets on currencies, stocks, interest rates and commodities. And because the firm invests in highly liquid futures, clients had monthly access to cash even as many funds blocked withdrawals.

The combination of liquidity and returns that are independent of the broader market could revive interest in global macro funds, Tropin said.

"For a long time there was a perception that the biggest returns, the best risk-adjusted returns, were in other strategies. Then we had a market environment last year where most hedge fund styles ended up being correlated to each other and to the equity markets as well," he said.

Graham manages $4.9 billion in assets in human-directed funds and computer-driven quantitative funds. Funds in both categories invest across fixed income, currency, commodity and equity futures.

"Our style of investing offers some benefits, including liquidity and diversification, that may have not been appreciated as much as they should be," he said.

Graham’s quant funds gained from 20 percent to 41 percent last year, while human-directed funds rose by 6 to 27 percent. By comparison, the average hedge fund lost 28 percent.

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