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Anthony Lawler, portfolio manager at GAM

Equity-hedged and event-driven managers likely winners for 2013, says GAM

Many equity-hedged and event-driven hedge funds have continued to hold and increase positions during September, and were rewarded as several equity events occurred and markets moved higher.

Anthony Lawler, portfolio manager at GAM, expects to see the trend of equity-hedge and event-driven funds out-performing other hedge fund strategies to continue through the end of the year.
“Equity-hedged and event driven managers remain tactically bullish and fully invested, indeed with some increases in net and gross exposure after the Fed’s ‘no taper’ surprise,” he says. “In September a number of public companies widely owned by event managers announced deals, asset dispositions, divestitures, and other accretive transformations which were well received by the market. Share buybacks also continue to be a positive catalyst for equity prices. This surge in corporate activity is helpful and expected to continue if the Fed remains accommodative and Washington agrees a new budget and raises the debt ceiling."
Lawler points out however that the Fed's ‘no-taper’ surprise in September did not help all managers: “The consensus long US dollar position and shorts in emerging markets hurt global macro managers when the no taper announcement surprised markets, weakening the dollar and re-invigorating emerging market bonds and currencies. Now those long US dollar and short emerging markets positions have been somewhat reduced while the Japan reflation theme remains in place through mainly long Nikkei and short Japanese yen holdings," Lawler says.
More broadly, hedge fund performance for September was positive as measured by the HFRX Global Hedge Fund index which was up 1.0 per cent. At the strategy level equity-related strategies fared best with event driven up 2.1 per cent and equity hedge up 1.4 per cent, while macro/CTA and relative value were down 0.3 per cent and up 0.4 per cent respectively, according to HFRX strategy index performance data.


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