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Ever heard of the Bilderberg Group? It is an unofficial annual invitation-only conference attended mainly by leading figures in the fields of business, the media and politics. Bilderberg is believed - not only by conspiracy theorists - to steer international policy from behind closed doors, and its attendees include central bankers, international financiers and political leaders from Europe and North America.

This week's Gaim International conference, the global hedge fund industry event attracting the largest number of asset allocators, could well be compared to the Bilderberg Group. It is probably the most high-profile global assembly anywhere of investors and asset managers, an unparalleled array of intellectual firepower.

The 14th annual Gaim International meeting will probably be the most critical conference of its kind, as it is the first time an army of alternative investment decision-makers has assembled in such numbers to share ideas since the onset of the credit crunch last year. If a solution is to be found to the ongoing crisis, it may well be here.

The Bilderberg Group is frequently accused of being secretive and a manipulator of global events. The group's secrecy and its connections to power elites have bolstered its reputation as one of the most influential forums on government policy and international relations.

Gaim might not be as secretive, but arguably its attendees are equally powerful and influential. Keeping a close watch on the deliberations of the conference may well offer invaluable insights into what to expect from the global economy in the coming months.


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