March proved to be a challenging month with the majority of alternative UCITS strategies delivering negative returns. According to figures released by Geneva-based Alix Capital, provider of the UCITS Alternative Index Global which tracks more than 700 single-manager funds, the overall return was -0.33 per cent.
The only two strategies to finish in positive territory were Multi-Strategy and Fixed Income funds, returning 0.41 per cent and 0.10 per cent respectively. The worst performers were CTA and Event-Driven funds, returning -1.10 per cent and -0.59 per cent. On a year-to-date basis Long/Short Equity funds remain the top performer, up 1.50 per cent, followed by Fixed Income (0.80 per cent) and Market Neutral funds (0.77 per cent). CTA funds have delivered the worst returns thus far, down -2.15 per cent.
Alix Capital also notes that the total assets managed in UCITS absolute return funds continue to surge, reaching EUR220bn at the end of March. As for the previous months, Fixed Income and Long/short Equity funds captured the bulk of inflows with EUR6.7bn and EUR3.6bn respectively. For the latter this represents a progression of 13 per cent for the month and 37 per cent since the beginning of the year.
The Amber Equity Fund, which sits on the Alpha UCITS platform, has seen its AuM grow to USD174mn just six months after launching reported Hedgeweek this week. The Luxembourg-domiciled fund is managed by Giorgio Martorelli at Amber Capital Italia SGR, a Milan-based asset management company regulated by the Bank of Italy and part of the Amber Capital Group.
Amber Capital Italia decided in 2013 to transform its four-year old Italian domestic fund, Amber Italia Equity, into a UCITS fund called Amber Equity Fund. Between its launch in November 2009 through the end of September 2013 the Amber Italia Equity fund has delivered cumulative performance of +22.65 per cent. Last year alone the strategy was up 15.81 per cent before it was converted into the UCITS vehicle. The Amber Equity Fund is up 4.18 per cent YTD and is up an impressive 8.65 per cent since it launched six months ago.
The aim is to grow the Amber Equity Fund to about USD350mn within the next 12 months. Martorelli was quoted as saying: “We have been able to generate consistent returns for our investors with low volatility and very limited exposure to the equity markets while maintaining the same disciplined approach. We keep focusing on a limited number of companies, mostly mid-sized and based in Italy, and we monitor their progress with frequent and direct interaction with top management.”
Schroders is making the decision to hard close its long/short US equity fund to new investors at the end of June following a period of strong inflows reported Citywire Global this week. The Schroder GAIA Sirios US Equity fund is managed by John Brennan of Sirios Capital Management based in Boston. Although only launching in February 2013 the fund’s assets have ballooned to approximately USD2.7bn. On the back of this growth and with a strong pipeline of prospective new business Citywire Global quoted Schroders as saying: “We have therefore agreed with Sirios to close the fund to new subscriptions (including regular savings plans) with effect from 30 June 2014. This will give the numerous investors who are interested in the fund time to allocate.”
Worldwide long-term funds registered net inflows of EUR888bn in 2013 according to the latest international statistical release by the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA). In Q4 2013 long-term funds (all funds excluding money market funds) recorded net inflows of EUR193bn, up from EUR100bn in the previous quarter. Long-term funds registered increased net inflows both in the US and Europe with Europe attracting EUR72bn in net inflows and the US attracting EUR87bn. Equity funds saw a substantial increase in net inflows quarter-on-quarter, rising from EUR61bn in Q3 to EUR107bn in Q4. By comparison, bond funds experienced net outflows totaling EUR11bn in Q4.
In addition, the report found that for the calendar year 2013 worldwide investment funds attracted net sales of EUR839bn, up from EUR828bn in 2012. Worldwide long-term funds registered net inflows of EUR888bn in 2013 as a result of “large net inflows across all categories of funds” stated the report. The US recorded net inflows into long-term funds of EUR355bn, with Europe registering net inflows of EUR313bn.