Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No Time for Pity as Yong Rises to Top of Asia Hedge Funds

No Time for Pity as Yong Rises to Top of Asia Hedge Funds

As a 10-year-old boy, Danny Yong got advice after his father’s death from cancer that drives him to this day.
“My mother told me then, ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you just because your father died,’” he said in an interview in his office in Singapore, where he was born and raised. “Her words spurred me on and made me determined not to give anyone a reason to pity me for having lost my dad at a young age.”
Danny Yong, chief executive officer of Dymon Asia Capital (Singapore) Pte. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg
Danny Yong, chief executive officer of Dymon Asia Capital, says the ability to understand China, the world’s fastest-growing major economy, is “crucial” as it has enabled Dymon to make the right bets on policy shifts months in advance. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg
Dymon Asia Capital CEO Danny Yong
Yong, now 40, is the envy of Asia’s hedge-fund world, where he outperformed all managers last year. Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg
Yong, now 40, is the envy of Asia’s hedge-fund world, where he outperformed all managers with more than $1 billion last year. His Dymon Asia Capital (Singapore) Pte, started in 2008 with $100 million from Paul Tudor Jones’s Tudor Investment Corp., has expanded to $2.85 billion, including $2.5 billion in its main macro fund.
The next challenge for Yong, who learned to trade at firms including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Citadel LLC, is to avoid the investment slump and client defections that are common among Asian hedge funds that grow quickly after posting a year or two of strong returns. Instead, he seeks to emulate Jones, who has posted average gains of 20 percent a year since 1986.
“It has been our experience that undisciplined managers easily become victims of their own success,” said Peter Rup, chief investment officer of New York-based Artemis Wealth Advisors LLC, which invests in hedge funds for clients. “We have found that the sweet spot in size is in the range of $1 billion to $5 billion, with caps in place to limit fund size at those levels, irrespective of investor demand.”

Top Performer

The Dymon Asia Macro Fund -- which seeks to profit on macroeconomic trends by wagering on bonds, currencies, stocks and commodities -- has stopped taking new money to focus on its investments. The fund returned more than 20 percent after fees in 2011, the most in Asia and seventh worldwide among hedge funds with assets of more than $1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Yong’s fund made money by short-term trading in the days following Japan’s March 11, 2011, earthquake, helping his fund gain 8 percent that month, Yong said. The fund covered its short positions on March 14, the first day of trading after the quake, and went long the Nikkei 225 index futures four days after the quake, he said. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average plunged 6.2 percent on March 14, 2011.

Long Yuan

Being long Chinese yuan for six months through August and turning long U.S. dollar and short equities in September as Greece’s debt problems deepened, also contributed. The MSCI World Index (MXWO) fell 8.9 percent in September. In a short sale, a manager borrows the security and sells it in the hope it can be bought back later at a cheaper price.
Asia-focused hedge funds lost an average of 8.4 percent last year, according to Eurekahedge Pte. Global investors pulled $1.04 billion from the region’s hedge funds in the fourth quarter, the first net withdrawals since the first quarter of 2010, according to Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc. Total estimated capital invested with Asian hedge funds was $82.1 billion at the end of 2011, Hedge Fund Research said.
“The number one challenge for us is to continue to demonstrate that on our larger asset base, we can still produce the same quality returns,” Yong said in his 16th-floor office overlooking the Fountain of Wealth in the Suntec City complex, one of the island’s business districts. “Hedge-fund investing is like a marathon. I intend to do this for at least the next 20 years.”

Military, University

Twenty years ago, Yong was serving his compulsory military service, becoming operations officer of the 24th Battalion of the Singapore Artillery. Back in civilian life, he went on to study as an undergraduate at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, getting first class honors in banking and finance.
After a stint in the financial engineering department of a local bank, Yong took a job in 1997 at what is now JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), where he was a trader on the Asian markets derivatives and fixed-income desk. It was here that he met his wife, Hsin-Li, a Cambridge graduate working in the economic research department. Today, she has left banking to look after their three children, ages eight, five and three.
A holiday to Hong Kong where he met up with a friend at Goldman Sachs turned into a job offer from the Wall Street firm. He moved on to Goldman’s derivatives trading desk in Hong Kong in February 2000, where he sat near Adam Levinson, who is now chief executive officer at Fortress Investment Group (Singapore) Pte, the local arm of the New York-based hedge fund and private- equity firm.

Goldman Days

“It was pretty intimate and there were significant risk- taking in the hands of select few individuals in every region,” Levinson said in an interview of the time he and Yong shared at Goldman Sachs. “That culture is what I remember -- that was an era where you were very professional about the way you approached markets and took risks.”
Yong then spent 2 1/2 years with Goldman Sachs in Japan as head of trading for South Asian derivatives, fixed income and foreign exchange.
In November 2005, he joined Kenneth Griffin’s Citadel, where he set up and ran Asia currencies, interest rates, relative-value and macro trading.
Then, the next step toward independence: in February 2007, he became chief investment officer and a managing partner of Abax Global Capital Ltd., an asset manager part-owned by Morgan Stanley. (MS)
The Dymon Asian macro fund started trading in August 2008 with $113 million from Tudor as well as partners and employees. The next month, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression ensued.

‘Crazy’ Hours

The fund started accepting money from outside investors in August 2009, as he separated from Abax.
Yong, now a fully fledged hedge-fund manager, slept in his office about 20 times a year in those early days running Dymon, he said in the interview. He had to reassure his mother he wasn’t “crazy” working such hours. Weekly jogs around Singapore’s MacRitchie Reservoir, where monkeys pester visitors, helped keep him fit, he said.
His fund returned 16.4 percent in 2009, trailing the average 26 percent gain of Asian hedge funds as equities strategies led gains amid a stock-market rally. The next year was much better as he returned 15.2 percent, beating the industry average increase of 8.5 percent.
Assets swelled to about $500 million in March 2011, doubled to more than $1 billion by mid-2011 and doubled again by February to $2.5 billion.

Demonstrated Success

In the midst of Dymon’s expansion, Yong’s friend and former colleague Levinson returned to Asia as a competitor.
“We’ve demonstrated that you can do macro from Asia, which really hasn’t been done with a lot of success before,” said Levinson, who moved to Singapore from New York in January 2011 to lead Fortress’s Asia-specific macro-trading activities. “We operate in the same arena, but we do things differently enough by style so I don’t think about it as competition.”
Macro funds are rare in Asia, making up 5 percent of hedge funds in the fourth quarter, compared with 22 percent globally, according to Hedge Fund Research. Equity-focused hedge funds accounted for 76 percent of funds in Asia, compared with 46 percent in the global industry.
The region’s hedge fund industry has been more focused on equities because most managers that emerged from the Asian financial crisis, which followed the July 1997 devaluation of the Thai baht, came from investment firms that bet on rising stock prices, a strategy known as long-only.
The Fortress Asia Macro Fund (FORAMLP), which was started March 1, 2011, gained 3.6 percent in the 10 months ended Dec. 31, according to a Feb. 28 statement. Macro funds on average lost 1.2 percent last year, according to Singapore-based Eurekahedge.

Shallow Markets

Levinson says it’s tough to maintain performance along with the growth of the funds, a topic of conversations with Yong he’s had over the past six months. That challenge can be even greater for Asia-focused funds, where smaller and shallower markets can constrain managers’ ability to wager on their views, he said.
“Three years from now, I think the markets will deepen and you can grow accordingly, but you don’t want to be bigger than the market would bear, otherwise you run the risk of performance degradation,” Levinson said. “That’s happened to some of the large funds here as well.”

Artradis, Sparx

Asia’s hedge-fund history is littered with firms that took off like Dymon, only to stumble. Artradis Fund Management Pte, which made $2.7 billion for investors as markets seesawed in 2007 and 2008, said in January last year it would close and return money in its AB2 Fund and Barracuda Fund. Artradis, based in Singapore, managed about $800 million as of Dec. 31, 2010, compared with almost $5 billion in 2008.
Sparx Group Co. (8739) is a Tokyo-based hedge fund that was once Asia’s biggest. Its assets have dropped by almost 90 percent since a 2006 peak of 2 trillion yen ($24 billion) as performance dwindled.
“Many hedge funds grow well above their optimum size, which makes it much harder to generate strong returns,” said Don Steinbrugge, managing partner of Agecroft Partners LLC, a Richmond, Virginia-based firm that advises hedge funds and investors. “Many investors view size as a measure of quality which gives the largest hedge fund firms that are open to new investments a large fundraising advantage.”
Yong attributes much of his success to Paul Tudor Jones, who declined to comment for this article.
“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Tudor,” said Yong, who wore an open-necked blue shirt in the interview. “In my mind, Tudor is the best macro fund in the world. There’s a culture of fairness and excellence. These values emanate from Paul himself. It is good to see the good guys win.”

Keeping Score

Like Jones -- who runs the Robin Hood Foundation, a charity he started in 1988 with the goal of eradicating poverty in New York -- Yong plans to give away a significant portion of his wealth. He has set up the Yong Hon Kong Foundation, named after his father, that will help children from challenging family backgrounds and people who “fall through the cracks” of Singapore’s social safety nets.
“Making money is just a means of keeping score, to know how well you are doing as a trader and investor,” said Yong, who has lost none of the competitive drive that saw him play badminton for Singapore as a student.
For now, Yong says his number one focus is performance. Dymon may seek more cash from investors next year if the fund continues to return the 15 percent to 20 percent that it targets, he said.

Feeling China’s Pulse

Currently, about 60 percent of its investors are from the U.S., 30 percent from Europe, and 10 percent stem from the Asian region. Most are large institutional investors such as sovereign wealth funds, pensions and global asset-management companies.
Yong says the ability to understand China, the world’s fastest-growing major economy, is “crucial” as it has enabled Dymon to make the right bets on policy shifts months in advance. Dymon Managing Partner Keith Tan, who previously oversaw Standard Chartered Plc’s business in Shanghai, helps the team to “stay one step ahead” with access to executives at more than 300 small and medium-sized Chinese companies as well as government and central bank officials, said Yong.
“Chinese companies will have an idea of what they need to deliver over the coming three to six months based on their orders,” Tan said in the same interview. “By staying close to the pulse of the corporates, we get a better sense of what may happen two to three months down the road.”

Soft Landing

Dymon isn’t betting on major policy changes in China, although there is a chance for a small interest-rate cut mainly because of recent weakness in manufacturing data, Yong said.
“We remain constructive on a China soft landing scenario because if China is faced with a hard landing, the policy response will be swift and effective,” he said.
Currently, Dymon Asia is mainly short Japanese yen and euro. The eurozone situation will get worse later in the year with Greek and French elections and a referendum in Ireland, while the Bank of Japan seems to be committed to a much larger monetization program and its fight against deflation, which could lead to further weakening in the yen, he said.
“We are in a nimble and opportunistic trading mode,” he said. “The long-term outcome is made up of snippets of short- term events. So given short-term events are evolving, we have to constantly refresh our long-term views and positions.”
His one enduring strategy: investors should seek scarce assets and not paper money “as the supply of fiat currency from global central banks can and will only rise,” he said.

Calm Analysis

Stephane Pizzo, founder of Singapore-based hedge-fund investing firm Lotus Peak Capital Pte, who advised some clients to put money into Dymon’s macro fund, says investors are drawn to the firm because there aren’t many macro funds in Asia.
“Institutional investors are attracted to what Danny has built in terms of the whole trading team, the back office, compliance,” Pizzo said. “Danny is somebody who is always very calm. His reading of the market is quite good and he’s able to step back, not get excited, analyze the situation and draw the right conclusions.”
While Asia’s hedge-fund industry remains smaller compared with the U.S. and Europe, economic growth and rising affluence in the region will help the industry grow, Yong said.
“Given the regulatory and social changes in the West, Asia, and Singapore have the potential to develop itself into the hedge-fund center of the world,” he said.

CEO Hunt

The total number of Asian hedge funds increased to about 1,100 at the end of 2011, according to Hedge Fund Research. More managers are choosing to relocate to Asia amid increased regulatory oversight in the U.S., including the so-called Volcker rule to curtail banks from using their own capital to make wagers on stocks and bonds.
Dymon is set to hire a chief executive officer and a president to oversee the business within the next three months, allowing Yong to focus on his role as chief investment officer, he said.
Yong, who doesn’t boast the elaborate hobbies or collections that occupy the time of some peers, said his life revolves around his work, his wife, and his three children.
“The day you feel like taking your foot off the pedal a little, you’d better pass the business to somebody else or give investors back their money,” said Yong, who still keeps a pillow in his office cupboard. “Otherwise it’s a recipe for disaster.”
To contact the reporters on this story: Tomoko Yamazaki in Singapore at tyamazaki@bloomberg.net; Netty Ismail in Singapore nismail3@bloomberg.net.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

首批沪深300ETF获批 或于清明节后发行

首批沪深300ETF获批 或于清明节后发行

商报讯 市场翘首以盼多年的跨市场ETF终于破茧。昨日,嘉实基金和华泰柏瑞基金公司同日对外宣布,证监会已经正式核准嘉实沪深300ETF和华泰柏瑞沪深300ETF的发行申请,将于近期发行。

记者从消息人士处获悉,证监会的批文是上周五完成的,昨日正式下发到两家公司。不过,由于涉及到托管行等细节问题,两家公司目前尚未正式确定产品的发 行日期。由于即将迎来清明小长假,证券市场会休市5天,市场普遍预测,两只基金可能于清明节后启动发行。此前,深交所和上交所已于3月12日前完成了三次 联网测试,沪深300ETF启动万事俱备只待批文。

据介绍,沪深300ETF本身的操作与其他指数基金一样,是完全复制沪深300指数的。但由于沪深300ETF同时是交易所交易型基金(ETF),在二级市场具备实时交易功能。

“提取沪深300ETF成分股时,上海的股票市值占比75%,深圳的股票市值占比25%。嘉实、华泰柏瑞不会有差异。”华泰柏瑞沪深300ETF拟任基金经理张娅透露。

但两只产品在设计上差异非常明显。嘉实沪深300ETF采用场外实物申赎的模式,投资者对应购买一篮子组合证券,未来将在深交所上市。而华泰柏瑞沪深300ETF则采用场内实物加部分现金替代的模式,发行后将在上交所上市交易。

交易上,华泰柏瑞采取T+0日内回转交易机制,即持有人在一日之内可以多次、高频交易。而嘉实沪深300ETF的场外实物申购模式,采用了T+2交易模式,即持有人需要在买入、赎回的第二个交易日内,才能再次进行对应逆向操作。

业内人士认为,无论是对机构投资者,还是个人投资者,沪深300ETF都大有用武之地。对机构投资者而言,沪深300ETF将成为参与股指期货的首选 现货标的;对普通投资者而言,由于ETF跟踪误差更小,通过沪深300ETF可以实现高效投资中国股票市场的愿望,也值得作为核心资产配置。

“以前大额资金在通过股指期货和沪深300之间做套利,需要动用大量资金针对沪深300成分股去构造一个类似的沪深300产品组合,而如果沪深 300ETF基金推出,无疑将为这些资金提供一个现成的对冲工具。”大同证券分析师付永翀说,该基金推出后,对大资金来说是一项重大利好。

统计显示,股指期货上市以来,期现套利平均天数以1天居多,其余套利时间2-18天不等,且分布较为均匀,说明沪深300股指期货合约投资人对于T+0版沪深300ETF的需求是明确和迫切的。

嘉实基金结构产品投资部总经理杨宇表示,沪深300ETF的推出,一方面可以为个人及机构投资者提供价格低廉、交易便捷的长期配置及波段操作的工具型 产品,满足投资者不同的投资需求;另一方面可以通过提供与股指期货拟合度更好的现货产品,强化股指期货的套期保值、价格发现等功能,进一步完善我国资本市 场投资工具。

华泰柏瑞基金公司总经理韩勇则指出,沪深300ETF是构建中国“蓝筹市场”的重要一步,T+0版的华泰柏瑞沪深300ETF获准推出,对于建立一个 高效、完整的资本市场具有重要意义,对于券商经纪业务版图整体格局的演变、养老及保险资金等长线价值型机构者的运作、股指期货市场期现套利群体的扩大、套 利效率的提升、各类对冲产品的发展必将产生深远的影响。

北京商报 宋娅

首批年报出炉 基金公司夹缝生存步履维艰

首批年报出炉 基金公司夹缝生存步履维艰

一边是权益市场的冷清惨淡,一边是运营成本的居高不下,首批出炉的基金年报显示,2011年基金行业在夹缝中走得步履维艰。有统计数据显示,首批公布 年报的17家基金公司2011年利润普遍为负,亏损总额逾800亿元。对此,分析人士认为,虽然目前只公布了一部分数据,但是,"靠天吃饭"格局下基金赚 钱难应该是去年全行业的共同遭遇,老基金公司利润下滑甚至亏损,新基金公司勉强维持仍然账本难看,很难有基金公司能够做到独善其身。

"靠天吃饭"格局难改

首批基金2011年年报日前出炉。天相投顾统计数据显示,首批披露2011年年报的17家基金公司旗下211只基金2011年合计亏损846亿元。其 中,开放式股票型基金共亏损516.6亿元,开放式混合型基金共亏损236.7亿元,二者占总亏损额近九成。此外,去年欧债危机阴影下海外市场动荡不断, 受此影响,QDII基金未能延续2010年的翻身势头,8只纳入统计的基金去年共计亏损70.63亿元;5只封闭式基金和3只保本型基金分别亏损 34.08亿元和2.52亿元。

对此,有市场人士认为,去年权益类市场的惨淡收场无疑是基金大面积亏损的根本原因,一方面,市场走弱使得基金净值表现不佳;另一方面,低迷的市场人气 使得新基金发行受阻而老基金遭遇赎回,基金管理规模普遍缩水,整体而言,"靠天吃饭"仍然是目前基金行业面临的主要尴尬。

相较而言,低风险基金凭借稳健的收益在去年的市场调整中脱颖而出,特别是货币型基金,受益于紧缩政策导致的资金利率提高,该类型基金在已公布的年报信 息中成为基金2011年利润的主要来源。数据统计显示,17只货币市场基金去年共实现利润13.05亿元,成为目前最赚钱的一类基金产品。此外,债市在下 半年的企稳走强也使得债券型基金在去年整体取得正收益,纳入统计范围的48只债券型基金去年共实现利润1.06亿元。

运营成本仍是"不能承受之重"

一边是规模缩水,业绩承压,一边却是经营成本的居高不下,甚至由于市场低迷,基金发行和销售面临更大挑战,基金公司的成本压力不减反增。

据天相投顾统计,17家基金公司共189只基金2011年获得了50.72亿元的管理费,其中有8.12亿元支付了销售机构的客户维护费,有9亿元支 付了券商的佣金费,有8.99亿元支付了银行的托管费。这26.11亿元的支出占了2011年基金管理费收入的51.48%,意味着过半的收入付给了渠 道。

"弱市之中基金越发越亏,基金公司不过是为渠道打工而已,这已经不是一两家基金公司的感慨。"有基金分析师对记者表示,"事实上,越是市况不佳的年份,基金的销售以及客户维护成本往往反而越高。"

统计显示,已披露年报的17家基金公司2011年度支付给销售机构的客户维护费合计高达8.12亿元,占当期管理费总额的16%,而2010年,同样 是这17家基金公司,支付的客户维护费为7.98亿元,占管理费比例仅为14.92%。也就是说,2011年惨淡市况下,基金公司为了尽可能多地扩大规 模,给销售机构的客户维护费占比增加了1.08个百分点。其中,客户维护费占管理费收入比例最高的基金公司费率高达38.76%,其生存压力可见一斑。

行业依然呈现"强者恒强"

弱市之下,无论新老基金公司均承受着经营压力,并且资产管理规模依旧同公司亏损额度成正相关。统计显示,南方、融通和上投摩根等相对较大的基金公司去年亏损也较多,均超过100亿元;而诸如浦银安盛、天弘和天治等中小型基金公司则亏损相对较小,基本在10亿元以内。

不过,尽管出现亏损,老牌基金公司往往仍然能够依靠规模优势保持较高的利润率。

从上市公司的年报中,部分"老十家"基金公司的业绩表现可以窥见一斑。例如,国元证券披露的2011年年报显示,其控股的长盛基金去年实现营业收入 66650.49万元,同比增长0.18%,净利润为24089.45万元,同比减少15.13%。海通证券披露的2011年年报显示,其参股的富国基金 去年实现营业收入8.08亿元,净利润2.76亿元,较2010年净利润2.93亿元同比下降了6%;其控股的海富通基金,去年实现营业收入6.80亿 元,净利润1.67亿元,较2010年净利润1.98亿元同比下降15.66%。有市场人士表示,在弱市中,这些大基金公司虽然盈利能力下降,但依靠规模 优势依然可以维持较高的净利润率,相较而言,部分"后来者和小基金公司的日子则更为难过。

此番首批公布年报的基金公司中也有"年轻"身影,但表现均乏善可陈。数据显示,纽银梅隆西部基金管理有限公司旗下的2只基金和平安大华基金管理有限公 司旗下的1只基金披露了2011年年报,其中,纽银新动向报告期利润为-0.1879亿元,纽银策略优选利润为-1.9146亿元;平安大华行业先锋 2011年利润为-2.707亿元。而上市公司升华拜克的2011年年报显示,其参股的财通基金去年实现营业收入292.38万元,亏损却高达 6383.70万元,成为截至目前亏损数额最大的基金公司。

有基金公司内部人士对记者表示,大基金公司在发行和销售渠道存在谈判优势,这使得其在惨淡市况下能够于"夹心层"中腾挪出更多的生存空间,而小基金公司以及后起基金公司则显然身处劣势。 (金融时报)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012