James Williams, Hedgeweek

Ashburton to launch Africa Equity Opportunities fund… UCITS AuM climbs 5.1 per cent in Q1 2013, says Alceda…

Both the number of Alternative UCITS funds and assets under management grew in the first quarter of 2013 according to the Alceda Quarterly UCITS Review, produced by leading independent structuring specialist Alceda Fund Management S.A. 

Tracking the Absolute Hedge Global UCITS Index, the Alceda UCITS review revealed that the sector advanced 2.56 per cent in Q1 2013. Assets under management stood at EUR96.6billion in March 2013, a 5.1 per cent rise over the first quarter, including the addition of 11 new funds.

All alternative UCITS strategies recorded positive performance in Q1 2013, making it one of the best quarters on record. Benefitting from strong equity markets in Q1, the Equity Long Short Index advanced 4.17 per cent and was the best performing strategy index for the quarter. The Multi-Asset Index also delivered a strong start to the year adding 3.19 per cent as well as a 7.1 per cent growth in AUM. The Macro Index saw the strongest AUM growth with an increase of 12.5 per cent.

FX strategies saw assets decline with two funds closing, contributing to a 28.6 per cent decline in AUM.

Commenting on the figures, Michael Sanders, Chairman of the Board, Alceda Fund Management, said: “We are encouraged by the strong start to the year. With uncertainty in global markets remaining high, we believe that investors will continue to adopt UCITS structures. Several well known offshore hedge funds launched UCITS versions of their strategies in the first quarter, underlining the benefits of the UCITS structure.

“UCITS hedge funds, however, continue to trail their offshore counter-parts and we believe that this is due to alternative UCITS funds being a more conservative and lower volatility subset of offshore hedge funds.”

In another quarterly industry report, MondoAlternative, the Italian multimedia provider of financial information on alternative investments, reports that alternative UCITS inflows in Q1 2013 reached EUR7.3billion. According to the report, daily funds gathered the most in the first quarter, EUR6.1billion, compared to EUR4billion for the whole of 2012. Strikingly, the overwhelming majority of Q1 inflows went to global asset managers. They attracted over EUR7billion of inflows, compared to just EUR256million going to hedge fund boutiques.

Total assets under management are now, according to this report, EUR96.1billion, up from EUR82.4billion at the end of 2012. The majority of new inflows in Q1 2013 went to fixed income strategies, enjoying EUR4.9billion of inflows. 

Stefano Gaspari, CEO at MondoAlternative, said: “Concerning the flows in the alternative UCITS sector, the first quarter of 2013 was exceptionally good, and the winning strategy, as also in 2012, has been fixed income absolute return. The second strategy…was the Credit long/short strategy (EUR889million), followed by Long/short equity strategy (EUR627 million).”

The report also noted that 19 new alternative UCITS funds were launched in Q1 2013, while 22 funds were liquidated.

One of the UK’s leading hedge funds, Cantab Capital Partners LLP, is to shut down its CCP Quantitative UCITS fund because of restrictions on commodity investments, reported Bloomberg this week. Investors in the USD320million fund will have the choice of either redeeming their money or moving in to the firm’s hedge funds according to a statement issued by the Cambridge-based firm. The UCITS fund will close at the end of June.

The reason for shutting the fund is because it’s no longer possible to invest in commodities within a UCITS wrapper, according to the firm. UCITS rules stipulate that funds cannot trade physical commodities. In addition, last year the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published guidelines to restrict funds from trading indexes based on single commodities. The CCP Quantitative UCITS fund tracks the performance of Cantab’s main hedge fund - CCP Quantitative fund – which made 15 per cent in 2012 according to Bloomberg data.

Jersey-based asset manager Ashburton is to launch an African equities UCITS fund reported Citywire Global this week. The Ashburton Africa Equity Opportunities fund is scheduled to launch later this month. It will be the firm’s first Luxembourg-domiciled fund. The firm is in the process of establishing a UCITS fund umbrella according to managing director, Peter Bourne, who was quoted as saying: “The first products on the UCITS platform will be launched during May and will include an Africa Equity Opportunities Fund.”  

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