European hedge funds ended 2012 on a buoyant note, with robust December returns capping some stellar performances in a testing and fast-changing year by several of Europe’s biggest and best-known managers.
With equity and credit markets greeting 2013 in bullish mode, the new year looks like starting on a strong footing, too – with expectations of some punchy returns for January across a range of strategy areas at a time of fast-reviving global investor risk appetite.
In long/short equity, which many industry observers are tipping for a powerful resurgence this year, Crispin Odey’s Odey European fund was among the star performers in 2012 – returning over 30%.
A number of the other largest equity players in Europe also ended the year with excellent numbers – including AKO Capital, The Children’s Investment Fund, Marshall Wace’s TOPS long/short strategies, Theleme, Lansdowne Developed Markets, Egerton and funds from other top firms including Horseman, Adelphi, Pelham, Henderson and Toscafund.
Several smaller equity funds also generated some powerful gains on the year – such as Sator, Camox, Aster-X, Farringdon, Sandbourne and Brown Vanneck – while Stuart Powers’ Hengistbury global equity fund completed a highly impressive first year to return 23%.
Underlining the extent to which managers have been able to capitalise on changing market conditions and sentiment, Philippe Jabre’s JabCap Global Balanced strategy roared back from a bad run to gain almost 20% in the final quarter of the year – returning 15% in 2012.
In multi-strategy, Michael Hintze racked up another striking return for the third time in four years with his CQS Directional Opportunities fund – gaining 35% for the year.
In the hot credit space, Cheyne took full advantage of bullish markets to score high returns across its range of credit-focused strategies – led by its Cheyne Total Return fund, which was up by over 70% on the year – while other credit-focused players such as CCA, Alcentra, Algebris and Chenavari also generated some hefty gains.
In macro, the highly-regarded team at BTG Pactual were among the stand-out performers in a year when many macro managers stumbled – returning 28% with their flagship Global Emerging Markets and Macro fund – while there were also strong numbers in macro from other managers including Harmonic, Aros and Max Q.
Even in systematic trading, where most CTAs had a wretched time in 2012, there were some exceptions – notably the big CCP Quantitative Fund (up 15% for the year), Man AHL’s Evolution strategy (up 23%, compared with a loss of 1% for the main AHL Diversified strategy) and Amplitude’s Klassik and Sinfonie strategies.
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