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Maia Ferrand: Fund of Funds Expert

Candriam is winning external multi-manager mandates

The Hedge Fund Journal ‘Europe 50’ manager, pan-European Candriam Investors Group (a New York Life Company) may be renowned for its liquid alternatives, single-strategy products, but it also has a strong, and quite separate, multimanager franchise. Candriam’s flagship fund of hedge funds strategy, Candriam World Alternative Alphamax (CWA), has delivered an unusually stable and lowly correlated return profile, with only one losing year since inception in 2001, when Co-Head of External Multi-Management, Maia Ferrand, joined the firm. Amid downsizing and many mergers in the fund of funds industry post-crisis, Candriam’s multi-manager team has remained constant and independent, demonstrating the loyalty and longterm commitment of Candriam’s long-standing management, which does not use the multi-manager assets to seed or support its single-manager products. Candriam’s multi-manager division has retained its continuous track record, stable team, consistent process and independent mind-set throughout the credit crisis, former owner Dexia’s difficulties, and the concomitant outflows. Now the new Candriam owner, New York Life Investments (NYLIM, a wholly owned subsidiary of New York Life), has provided a renewed momentum to the business. We met with Maia Ferrand, who was also selected as one of The Hedge Fund Journal’s “50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds 2015” in the survey sponsored by EY, to find out what differentiates Candriam’s distinctive approach to manager selection and portfolio construction.

Fig.1 Winners widely outperform losers since 2009
Source: Candriam

The Candriam culture

Ferrand left Lebanon due it its civil war, but her mother country has an enduring influence. “It is a multi-faith and multi-cultural country with a long history of survival and renaissance,” she says. “My own career and the Candriam story relate to that.” Thus Ferrand’s mentors and colleagues over the years have been drawn “from very different horizons, including Italians, Iranians, French and Americans, from Paris, the UK and Hong Kong” – and she has helped to build a multi-cultural team at Candriam: French nationals work alongside “one Portuguese, two Belgians, and a Chinese”. Ferrand started her career at CCF (now HSBC) and then moved to Credit Agricole, which sent her to the US. The next episode was at Lehman Brothers in London, before Ferrand’s one-time boss from Credit Agricole then hired her again at Credit Lyonnais – and gave her a big break, asking her to set up an FX options desk in New York.

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