London-based PR firm Peregrine Communications is currently Europe’s largest hedge fund PR agency based on the number of clients and their combined assets under management. Established in 2003 by Anthony Payne, Peregrine delivers communication results to companies on a local or global platform, and has built up an award-winning reputation based on proven strategies and excellent client service.
Payne has more than 20 years’ industry experience and has been involved in a vast array of financial PR strategies, such as advising the first mainland Chinese company on listing its shares on the NYSE. Payne has focused more on asset management in recent years, in particular the alternatives industry, because he felt that specialist communication was going “to become vital for companies wanting to market themselves – particularly hedge funds”.
This has enabled Peregrine to build up a solid track record in delivering effective media communications to a number of prominent hedge fund managers. Brevan Howard, Cube Capital, GAM, Signet, Dexion Capital and Finisterre are just some of the hedge fund clients Peregrine currently supports. The firm’s other areas of expertise include private equity and venture capital, wealth management, structured products and banks and brokerages.
Currently Peregrine has affiliates in London, Dubai, New York, Hong Kong, Cologne, Madrid, Singapore, Sydney, Moscow and Paris. Its team of 24 professionals (including the Peregrine, the firm’s mascot) covers all major time zones, allowing the needs of clients to be constantly met and maintained.
“Peregrine’s job is to help clients utilise media and other communication channels to reach their target audiences and attain their business goals,” Payne says, and raising assets and protection of reputation are two key areas in which the firm is involved. Good PR for hedge fund managers is always useful and can certainly help put them on the radar of future potential investors. With respect to protection, Payne adds: “It’s about reputational risk – ensuring that nothing that could be damaging to our clients is published.”
He notes that with every man and his dog now blogging, social media has made protection much harder. There’s so much chatter over the internet that one hedge fund manager – Derwent Capital Markets – is even planning to launch a strategy based on data-mining Twitter feeds. “Firms need to upgrade their media monitoring because they need to be able to respond quickly,” Payne says. “A story in a blog can jump into a trade magazine and then into the broadsheets very easily.”
Hedge funds have always been viewed as a secretive, esoteric world and have understandably sought to shy away from the public gaze – after all, these are private funds they’re managing. Payne thinks they’ve been a little slow to hop on board the PR boat, but since 2008 “hedge fund firms that have continued to prosper have become more transparent and open to PR”.
Over the past couple of years, he says, the hedge fund industry has been the focus of a great deal of press attention – particularly to do with insider trading, regulation and anything pertaining to Bernie Madoff. “There is very little tolerance for a lack of transparency anymore,” Payne says. “Madoff and the credit crunch have done away with that.”
Regarding the Hedgeweek award, he adds: “We’re always pleased to win another award. It shows that the industry is paying attention to what we do.”