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Disappointed With Hedge Funds?

Optima’s veteran allocator Dixon Boardman sees a new dawn

Investors who focus on the most recent month, quarter or even year of performance for hedge funds should take a step back and consider the perspective of Dixon Boardman, a seasoned pro who has spent nearly three decades investing in alternatives. According to his long experience, “just when the crowd counts an asset class as out is when it often turns around.” The catalyst for such a sea change? Boardman expects markets to become increasingly driven by fundamentals rather than excess liquidity. “We are on the cusp of a resurgence for stock picking. Good hedge fund managers have the potential to outperform by identifying the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ in sectors undergoing secular change.”

As Optima enters its 30th year of operations, the characteristic bonhomie of Boardman, its founder, is not impaired by the perception that the recent performance of the hedge fund, and fund of funds, strategies, has been lacklustre. Industry performance for 2016 was 5.48%, according to The Hedge Fund Journal Hedge Fund Index, as calculated by Blue Lion Research; various other indices were one or two percent either side of this. When expressed as a spread over risk free rates near zero, these levels of returns do in fact match the targets of certain institutional investors, including some pension funds. European investors in general, and insurance companies in particular, may have relatively undemanding benchmarks. However, the social circles in which Boardman moves include the great and the good of the United States, for whom hedge fund returns have latterly lagged expectations. US pension funds and other US institutional investors tend to have absolute return targets of 7% or 8% that hedge funds, on average, have not met post-crisis. The Preqin All-Strategies Hedge Fund Benchmark made 7.4% in 2016 – but that was its best year since 2013.

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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.