Recent Bribery Scandal, Another Blow to Alternative Asset Managers

Just a few days ago, the largest publicly traded hedge fund, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, agreed to pay $413 million to settle federal charges that it disbursed more than $100 million in bribes to African government officials. Even before this announcement, the hedge fund industry was in quite the slump.

Performance Fees are Dead! Long Live Performance Fees!

Earlier this month, Mercer Capital had the pleasure of helping sponsor the Southern Capital Conference, an annual gathering of venture capital and private equity GPs, as well as the LPs who invest with them. If you believe everything you read about this segment of the investment community, you might expect a fair amount of groaning from the General Partners, with private equity managers under pressure to improve performance, negotiate fees, and increase transparency. The reality was very different.

Value Play or Falling Knife? AMG Sees Opportunity in Alt Asset Space

Last week, Affiliated Managers Group (ticker: AMG) announced the completion of its investment in three alternative asset managers – Capula Investment Management LLP, Mount Lucas Management LP, and Capeview Capital LLP. This post discusses this transaction against the dim alternative asset management market environment.

Are Asset Manager Valuations Headed Higher or Lower in 2016? – Barring Basis Risk, Barron’s is Bullish

Despite 195 nations signing onto the Paris Climate Conference commitment to clean energy last week, it looks like Santa will be stuffing most asset managers’ stockings with coal this Christmas. Hopefully it’s at least low-sulfur.

December has been a rough slog for the RIA space. So far it’s mostly been attributed to the cracks in high yield credit. With junk bonds stumbling shortly after Thanksgiving, managers with large high yield offerings are feeling the Grinch. One standout example: WDR. Waddell & Reed’s Ivy High Income Fund has suffered huge outflows this year. Pile outflows with asset devaluation and WDR’s stock has gotten crushed, losing almost a quarter of the company’s equity market cap so far this month (!).

Many Alternative Asset Managers in Bear Market Territory

A particularly rocky quarter for the equity markets precipitated huge market cap losses for most of the publicly traded hedge funds and PE firms. The lone bright spot and only sector component to generate a positive return over the last year is Blackstone, which benefited from strong performance fees on its portfolio company investments earlier this year. Still, the stock is down over 20% since its peak in May, which shows just how volatile the industry can be, particularly during times of market distress.

Rules for the Modern Investment Manager

On May 20, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed new rules and amendments to modernize and enhance information reported by investment companies and investment advisers. The proposed rules would be applicable to most investment companies registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 and all investment advisers registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.