Celebrating Hedge Fund Success Despite Brexit Jitters

The U.K. referendum was the talk of the evening at Institutional Investor’s 14th annual Hedge Fund Industry Awards last night.

The specter of a British exit from the European Union added a touch a drama to Institutional Investor’s 14th annual Hedge Fund Industry Awards on Thursday night. Predictions about the outcome of the U.K. referendum dominated chatter before, during and after the event, and factored into many presenters’ and honorees’ remarks. Most mentioned the Brexit jokingly, but after several years of intense volatility battering hedge fund returns, many managers and investors were clearly hoping for things to remain status quo.

The status quo for hedge funds so far this year has not been stellar, but the modest gains have been welcome for an industry that previously suffered several years of mediocre returns. Funds posted gains in May for the third consecutive month, according to Hedge Fund Research, which reported 0.4 percent growth for that period. The last several months of gains, though muted because of the strong U.S. dollar and worries about a potential Brexit, have pulled the sector out of its first quarter decline, HFRI reported.

Thursday night’s event, at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Manhattan, honored some of the top managers, funds of hedge funds, consulting firms, foundations, endowments and corporate and public pension funds in the industry. This year’s ceremony included two Lifetime Achievement awards, one each for the manager and investor categories. On the manager side, Tomilson Hill, vice chairman of Blackstone Group and president and CEO of Blackstone Alternative Asset Management, presented the award to Paul Singer, founder and CEO of Elliott Management Corp. The firm’s flagship Elliott Associates partnership has delivered a 13.5 percent net annualized return since Singer started it in 1977 with $1.3 million from friends and family. Elliott has managed to avoid the level of volatility that plagues many hedge funds, but Singer, a lawyer by training, has regularly made headlines for his activist plays.

Institutional Investor Hedge Fund Awards
2016 Manager Winners Institutional Hedge Fund Manager The D.E. Shaw Group Emerging Hedge Fund Manager Graticule Asset Management Asia Large Fund of Hedge Funds Manager Corbin Capital Partners Boutique Fund of Hedge Funds Manager Magnitude Capital Early Stage Hedge Fund Investor Paloma Partners Equity-Focused Hedge Fund Manager TCI Fund Management Long-Only Equity Hedge Fund Manager Maverick Capital Credit-Focused Hedge Fund Manager Napier Park Global Capital Hybrid Hedge Fund Manager Fortress Investment Group Multistrategy Hedge Fund Manager Citadel Relative Value Hedge Fund Manager Pine River Capital Management Activist Hedge Fund Manager Sachem Head Capital Management Event-Driven Hedge Fund Manager Beach Point Capital Management Macro Hedge Fund Manager Element Capital Management Quantitative Hedge Fund Manager Two Sigma Investments Manager Lifetime Achievement Paul Singer,Founder and CEO,
Elliott Management Corp. “When you’re in a fight with a sovereign, and your photo is at bus stops and your name is graffitied on walls, that doesn’t mean you’re winning,” he joked while receiving his award, referring to the situation in Argentina, where Elliott has purchased a large number of government bonds. Singer credits much of the success of his now $28.8 billion firm to a practical understanding of the markets. “Markets are mass social behavior,” not a natural phenomenon, he told the audience.

Institutional Investor Hedge Fund Awards
2016 Investor Winners Corporate Plan of the Year IBM Endowment of the Year University of Virginia Investment Management Co. Foundation of the Year Smithsonian Institution Public Plan of the Year, Large Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board Public Plan of the Year, Small West Virginia Investment Management Board Health Care System of the Year Cook Children’s Health Care System Sovereign Wealth Fund of the Year Government of Singapore Investment Corp. Outsourced CIO of the Year Appomattox Advisory Family Office of the Year Willett Advisors Hedge Fund Consultant of the Year Bruce Ruehl, Aksia Investor Lifetime Achievement Afsaneh Beschloss, Founder and CEO,
Rock Creek Group Afsaneh Beschloss, founder and CEO of Rock Creek Group, received the Investor Lifetime Achievement award from Britt Harris, CIO of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Beschloss founded the $11.7 billion, Washington, D.C.–based Rock Creek Group in 2002 after a 20-year career at the World Bank. When accepting the award, Beschloss acknowledged her mother in the audience and, referring to the current geopolitical climate in the U.S. and the U.K., noted the impact that immigration has had on her career. “Everything I’ve accomplished has been thanks to the great traditions of the U.S., and one of those is inclusion,” said Beschloss, who was born and raised in Iran.

Emcee Tyler Mathisen of CNBC presented awards for Activist Hedge Fund Manager of the Year (Sachem Head Capital Management), Boutique Fund-of-Hedge-Funds Manager of the Year (Magnitude Capital), Corporate Plan of the Year (IBM), Credit-Focused Hedge Fund Manager of the Year (Napier Park Global Capital) and Early Stage Hedge Fund Investor of the Year (Paloma Partners). Cory Thackeray, senior managing director at State Street Alternative Investment Solutions in New York, awarded the D.E. Shaw Group with Institutional Hedge Fund Manager of the Year.


Toward the end of the night, Mathisen also acknowledged this year’s crop of 30 Hedge Fund Rising Stars, handing out plaques to Katina Stefanova of Marto Capital, Max Saffian of Fortress Investment Group and Samantha Greenberg of Margate Capital, among others.

Methodology : Following a public call for nominations, the editorial staff of Institutional Investor magazine selects award nominees based on how strongly candidates, both those put forward via the call for nominations, and those independently identified by the editorial staff, meet the criteria for their respective categories. Once the nominees are publicly announced, the magazine group then conducts a wide survey of U.S. institutional investors and invites them to vote for the manager nominees. Hedge fund managers are also invited to vote for the investor nominees. Institutional Investor’s editorial staff analyzes the results of the voting to determine the winners, who are announced at the annual awards dinner and ceremony.