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A Thousand Fibres Connect Us

A new paper looks at hedge fund managers’ social history

As investors continue to dissect the factors behind hedge fund performance, academic studies too are shedding further light on some previously obscure ingredients to a hedge fund’s success that could in fact be quite critical. Herman Melville once wrote, “A thousand fibres connect us with our fellow men; among those fibres, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects,” and this seems particularly pertinent in today’s increasingly interconnected financial services environment.

Marc Gerritzen of Berenberg, Jens Carsten Jackwerth of the University of Constance and Alberto Plazzi of the Swiss Finance Institute and University of Lugano will shortly be publishing a fascinating paper that seeks to shed light on how hedge fund managers influence each other, be this via having worked together at the same institution or indeed remaining in ongoing social contact.

In their soon to be published research paper, entitled Birds of a Feather – Do Hedge Fund Managers Flock Together?, the trio analyse publicly available data provided by the Financial Conduct Authority to analyse the past and present employment trends of UK-regulated hedge fund managers, including social ties and prior employment experience.

The paper comes at a time when investors and regulators are enjoying unprecedented levels of oversight and transparency on an industry that was once considered somewhat obscure. It has paved the way for more cogent research on hedge fund managers’ behavioural patterns and the way this impacts fund performance. Almost two decades ago, I wrote an article in an FT journal that asked how investors and risk officers could elicit new insight on fund managers’ likely risk management behaviour using techniques employed by the US Navy to assess its officer candidates. At the time, the hedge funds industry was still germinating, there was less public money in alternative investment schemes, and the overall levels of transparency were a far cry from what they are currently.

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About The Hedge Fund Journal

INFORMING THE HEDGE FUND COMMUNITY With access to some of the industry’s biggest names and an astute and talented group of writers and contributors, The Hedge Fund Journal has established itself as a trusted source of information on the hedge fund industry.