Hedgeweek Americas Awards: Covid pandemic throws spotlight onto healthcare-focused strategies

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With the Covid-19 pandemic proving the defining factor shaping the direction of economies and markets globally over the past 18 months, hedge fund strategies trading healthcare stocks have come into particularly sharp focus.

The vaccine race and subsequent rollout, the emergence of digital and remote diagnostics and treatment services during lockdowns, and the impact of the Biden administration on the US healthcare industry are among the assortment of factors which will potentially herald far-reaching implications for healthcare stocks in the next few years.

For equity hedge fund managers trading this sector, 2020 proved to be stellar year. Healthcare hedge funds scored a near-27 per cent annual gain on average, with a nine-month uninterrupted run of positive returns from April onwards, according to Hedge Fund Research data. That was more than double the 12 per cent gain notched up by the wider hedge fund industry last year.
W2021 has proved altogether trickier, however. Healthcare hedge funds remain in positive territory to the end of July, but their 2.57 per cent average return lags well behind the broader industry gains of more than 10 per cent YTD.

Still, a handful of managers have shrugged off recent challenges to maintain their strong performances over the course of the pandemic, and three strategies have been nominated for the Best Equity Sector-Focused Hedge Fund (Healthcare) category at this year’s Hedgeweek Americas Awards 2021.

Blue Water Life Science Advisors’ Blue Water Life Science Fund, Optima Management Partners’ JENOP Global Healthcare Fund, and Pura Vida Investments’ Pura Vida Master Fund are all in contention for the award, one of 29 fund manager categories to be announced at an exclusive presentation ceremony and industry networking event held at The University Club of New York on 21 October.

Recognising and honouring excellence among hedge fund managers and service providers in the Americas region, and voted for by participants within the hedge fund industry itself, the Hedgeweek Americas Awards – hosted by Hedgeweek, with fund manager data being provided in partnership with Bloomberg – represent an important mark of recognition and respect among peers, investors, advisors, and counterparties.

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Hugh Leask
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Editor, Hedgeweek