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HEDGE CONNECTION’S GLOBAL FUND FORUM 2014 ANNOUNCES NEW GUEST SPEAKERS AND LEAD SPONSOR

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Prominent Investors and Hedge Fund Managers to Enjoy Insights from Larry Powell, Denise Shull and Mark Jeffries; Concept Capital Markets signs on as exclusive Prime Broker Sponsor

Hedge Connection, the premier patented hedge fund marketing platform in the alternative investment industry, announces three prominent guest speakers at the Global Fund Forum 2014 from June 10 to 12, 2014 at the Borgata in Atlantic City. Attendees will gain insights from former Deputy CIO and co-manager of the Utah Retirement Fund Larry Powell, leading adviser and communications consultant Mark Jeffries and author and neuroeconomist Denise Shull. The Global Fund Forum will facilitate thousands of meetings between hedge fund managers and institutional and family office investors sourced from Hedge Connection’s relationships and decade long experience hosting exclusive investor introductory events.

 Mark Jeffreys,  Denise Shull, Larry Powell

Mark Jeffreys, Denise Shull, Larry Powell

Hedge Connection is also pleased to announce that Concept Capital Markets has agreed to serve as a lead sponsor of the Global Fund Forum. Concept Capital has built a strong franchise as an introducing prime broker by providing hedge fund managers, managed account platforms, institutional investors, family offices, and registered investment advisers with turn-key solutions designed to free its clients to focus on their core competencies with an offering featuring world-class custody and clearing options, multi asset class capabilities, leading execution and order management systems, a seasoned execution desk, a range of financing options, a highly professional operations and customer support team, comprehensive portfolio reporting capabilities, and capital introduction.

“Since first learning of Hedge Connection our firm has been intrigued by the possibilities of the portal and the manner in which it can conveniently connect managers and those allocating funds in the alternative space,” said Jack Seibald, Managing Member of Concept Capital Markets, LLC. “The Global Fund Forum seems like a natural extension of this effort, and Concept Capital is excited to play a role in making it happen,” he added.

“In addition to the Global Fund Forum’s numerous one-on-one investor and manager meetings our attendees are looking forward to gaining insights from these brilliant speakers. Their addition enhances our exciting three day agenda filled with networking, lunches and dinners, cocktail receptions, entertainment and a special charity Casino Night that will benefit Portfolios with Purpose and the 100 Women in Hedge Funds 2014 beneficiary of their U.S. philanthropic activities the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation (CPIRF),” said Lisa Vioni, CEO of Hedge Connection, Inc. “We are also delighted to announce that industry-leader Concept Capital Markets has signed on as our exclusive prime broker sponsor,” she added.

HEDGE CONNECTION’S GLOBAL FUND FORUM 2014 ANNOUNCES NEW GUEST SPEAKERS AND LEAD SPONSOR 3Global Fund Forum guest speaker Larry Powell commented: “Any organization whose mission centers on improving communication amongst investors and between managers and investors is a friend of mine, I look forward to sharing my war stories!”

Larry Powell is the former Deputy CIO and co-managed the Utah Retirement Fund, a $25B US Public Pension Plan. Mr. Powell joined URS in 2008, he was ultimately responsible for the oversight and management of the investment team, analyzing deals and investing in all global public and private market asset classes. He worked with the URS investment team in all aspects of the investment management process, including manager sourcing, due diligence, buy/sell decisions, fee and term negotiations as well as the tactical and strategic investing of the URS portfolio. Prior to joining URS, Mr. Powell served as Managing Director, External Public Markets (EPM) at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. In this position, Mr. Powell managed a team of ten professionals who collectively oversaw all of TRS’ global investments in external managers within equities, fixed income and hedge funds. The EPM portfolio represented approximately 1/3 of all TRS’ assets estimated at $100billion. Previously, Mr. Powell was President and Chief Investment Officer of a macro hedge fund firm, which he founded in 1987. He holds a B.S. degree with a dual concentration in Finance and Real Estate from the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Denise Shull, a neuroeconomist and author, founded The ReThink Group in 2003 in order to solve the vexing problem of human misperception of risk. For over ten years, Shull has coached Wall Street professionals, offering techniques to avoid their typical behavioral responses to fear and greed. She specializes in separating intuition — felt knowledge — from impulse. Shull started her trading career at the Chicago Board Options Exchange and later traded futures as a member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It was at that time that she began transforming neuroeconomics – the new science of the brain on risk – into investing profits. She is a frequent speaker at industry and academic conferences, is often quoted in prominent business, risk, neuroeconomic and psychological publications and has appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box, CBS Sports, Bloomberg TV, Cavuto, PBS and The Discovery Channel. Shull graduated from Harvard Kennedy’s executive program in “Investment Decisions and Behavioral Finance” in 2009 and holds a Master of Arts in neuroscience (1995) from The University of Chicago. Her thesis research, “The Neurobiology of Freud’s Repetition Compulsion” was published in 2003 in the Annals of Modern Psychoanalysis and was cited in 2013 as one of the earliest papers in the emerging field of neuro-psychoanalysis.

Former Merrill Lynch stockbroker turned author and Keynote Speaker, Mark Jeffries, has become a trusted adviser and communications consultant to some of the world’s largest and most successful organizations. He speaks at and moderates conferences, summits, sales meetings, user forums and conventions all over the world for clients including IBM, Ernst & Young, SAS, HP, Zurich Insurance, Gartner, Microsoft, Royal Bank of Canada, Deltek & Bank of America. Dividing his time between The United States, Canada and Europe, Mark’s ideas, inspiration and guidance, are sought across virtually all industries.

The Global Fund Forum (the “Forum”) will enable over a thousand one-on-one meetings between institutional and family office investors and a diverse group of hedge fund managers. Prior to the Forum managers create a fund profile on Hedge Connection and gain access to investor profiles, and can begin to request meetings and send messages using Hedge Connection’s proprietary event scheduler. Participants can also use the Forum’s Mobile App during the event to get access to their schedule, see investor and fund profiles and read about the forum sponsors. For enquiries about participation, qualification or sponsorship opportunities for this year and the Global Fund Forum 2015 please click here.

About Hedge Connection, Inc.

Hedge Connection was launched in 2005 and is a marketing platform for hedge funds as well as an information portal for investors. On June 18, 2013 Hedge Connection Inc. received US Patent 8,068,478 for its unique business process of letting hedge funds and investors meet and connect online. Hedge Connection is viewed as the premier investor-intro and hedge fund marketing platform in the alternative investment industry. In addition to the online platform, Hedge Connection produces events.  Over 5,000 investors have participated in Hedge Connection events resulting in thousands of direct meetings at events held in New York, San Francisco and Chicago. Hedge Connection has recently introduced the industry’s first socialized database. Through free membership in the Boardroom, industry participants can follow hedge funds in the fund database and other boardroom members offering the highest level of connectivity in the alternative industry today.

About Concept Capital Markets, LLC

Concept Capital Markets, LLC offers a comprehensive suite of brokerage and related services that provide traditional and alternative investment managers with solutions that are customizable and scalable. The firm was built by former investment managers to serve hedge fund managers, managed account platforms, institutional investors, family offices, and registered investment advisers with turn-key solutions designed to free its clients to focus on their core competencies. Our offering features world-class custody and clearing options, multi asset class capabilities, leading execution and order management systems, a seasoned execution desk, a range of financing options, a highly professional operations and customer support team, comprehensive portfolio reporting capabilities, and capital introduction. Concept Capital Markets, LLC is headquartered in Garden City, New York and operates offices in New York City and Purchase, NY, Greenwich, CT, Alpharetta, GA, El Segundo and Santa Monica, CA and Boca Raton, FL. The firm is registered as a Broker Dealer and Investment Adviser with the SEC, and is a member of FINRA, NFA, and SIPC.

 

 

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Not company earnings, not data but vaccines now steering investor sentiment

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Not company earnings, not data but vaccines now steering investor sentiment 4

By Marc Jones and Dhara Ranasinghe

LONDON (Reuters) – Forget economic data releases and corporate trading statements — vaccine rollout progress is what fund managers and analysts are watching to gauge which markets may recover quickest from the COVID-19 devastation and to guide their investment decisions.

Consensus is for world economic growth to rebound this year above 5%, while Refinitiv I/B/E/S forecasts that 2021 earnings will expand 38% and 21% in Europe and the United States respectively.

Yet those projections and investment themes hinge almost entirely on how quickly inoculation campaigns progress; new COVID-19 strains and fresh lockdown extensions make official data releases and company profit-loss statements hopelessly out of date for anyone who uses them to guide investment decisions.

“The vaccine race remains the major wild card here. It will shape the outlook and perceptions of global growth leadership in 2021,” said Mark McCormick, head of currency strategy at TD Securities.

“While vaccines could reinforce a more synchronized recovery in the second half (2021), the early numbers reinforce the shifting fundamental between the United States, euro zone and others.”

The question is which country will be first to vaccinate 60%-70% of its population — the threshold generally seen as conferring herd immunity, where factories, bars and hotels can safely reopen. Delays could necessitate more stimulus from governments and central banks.

Patchy vaccine progress has forced some to push back initial estimates of when herd immunity could be reached. Deutsche Bank says late autumn is now more realistic than summer, though it expects the northern hemisphere spring to be a turning point, with 20%-25% of people vaccinated and restrictions slowly being lifted.

But race winners are already becoming evident, above all Israel, where a speedy immunisation campaign has brought a torrent of investment into its markets and pushed the shekel to quarter-century highs.

(Graphic: Vaccinations per 100 people by country, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/azgvolalapd/Pasted%20image%201611247476583.png)

SHOT IN THE ARM

Others such as South Africa and Brazil, slower to get off the ground, have been punished by markets.

Britain’s pound meanwhile is at eight-month highs versus the euro which analysts attribute partly to better vaccination prospects; about 5 million people have had their first shot with numbers doubling in the past week.

Shamik Dhar, chief economist at BNY Mellon Investment Management expects double-digit GDP bouncebacks in Britain and the United States but noted sluggish euro zone progress.

“It is harder in the euro zone, the outlook is a bit more cloudy there as it looks like it will take longer to get herd immunity (due to slower vaccine programmes),” he added.

The euro bloc currently lags the likes of Britain and Israel in terms of per capita coverage, leading Germany to extend a hard lockdown until Feb. 14, while France and Netherlands are moving to impose night-time curfews.

Jack Allen-Reynolds, senior European economist at Capital Economics, said the slow vaccine progress and lockdowns had led him to revise down his euro zone 2021 GDP forecasts by a whole percentage point to 4%.

“We assume GDP gets back to pre-pandemic levels around 2022…the general story is that we think the euro zone will recover more slowly than US and UK.”

The United States, which started vaccinating its population last month, is also ahead of most other major economies with its vaccination rollout running at a rate of about 5 per 100.

Deutsche said at current rates 70 million Americans would have been immunised around April, the threshold for protecting the most vulnerable.

Some such as Eric Baurmeister, head of emerging markets fixed income at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, highlight risks to the vaccine trade, noting that markets appear to have more or less priced normality being restored, leaving room for disappointment.

Broadly though the view is that eventually consumers will channel pent-up savings into travel, shopping and entertainment, against a backdrop of abundant stimulus. In the meantime, investors are just trying to capture market moves when lockdowns are eased, said Hans Peterson global head of asset allocation at SEB Investment Management.

“All (market) moves depend now on the lower pace of infections,” Peterson said. “If that reverts, we have to go back to investing in the FAANGS (U.S. tech stocks) for good or for bad.”

(GRAPHIC: Renewed surge in COVID-19 across Europe – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/xegvbejqwpq/COVID2101.PNG)

(Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe and Marc Jones; Additional reporting by Karin Strohecker; Writing by Sujata Rao; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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BlackRock to add bitcoin as eligible investment to two funds

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BlackRock to add bitcoin as eligible investment to two funds 5

By David Randall

(Reuters) – BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, is adding bitcoin futures as an eligible investment to two funds, a company filing showed.

The company said it could use bitcoin derivatives for its funds BlackRock Strategic Income Opportunities and BlackRock Global Allocation Fund Inc.

The funds will invest only in cash-settled bitcoin futures traded on commodity exchanges registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the company said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday.

A BlackRock representative declined to comment beyond the filings when contacted by Reuters.

Earlier this month, Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, hit a record high of $40,000, rallying more than 900% from a low in March and having only just breached $20,000 in mid-December.

Bitcoin tumbled 10.6% in midday U.S. trading Thursday.

Other U.S.-based asset managers will likely follow BlackRock’s lead and add exposure to bitcoin in some form to their go-anywhere or macro strategies as the cryptocurrency market becomes more liquid and developed, said Todd Rosenbluth, director of mutual fund research at CFRA.

“It’s easy to see how strong the performance has been of late and look at a historical asset allocation strategy that would have included a slice of crypto and how returns would have been enhanced as a result,” he said. “Large institutional investors are going to be able to tap into the futures market in a way that a retail investor could not do.”

There is currently no U.S.-based exchange-traded fund that owns bitcoin, limiting the ability of most fund managers to own the cryptocurrency in their portfolios.

BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink had said at the Council of Foreign Relations in December that bitcoin is seeing giant moves every day and could possibly evolve into a global market. (https://bit.ly/2XXFHrB)

(Reporting by David Randall; Additional reporting by Radhika Anilkumar and Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Lisa Shumaker)

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Bitcoin slumps 10% as pullback from record continues

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Bitcoin slumps 10% as pullback from record continues 6

LONDON (Reuters) – Bitcoin slumped 10% on Thursday to a 10-day low of $31,977 as the world’s most popular cryptocurrency continued to retreat from the $42,000 record high hit on Jan. 8.

The pullback came amid growing concerns that bitcoin is one of a number of financial bubbles threatening the overall stability of global markets.

Fears that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration could attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies have also weighed, traders said.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; editing by Tom Wilson)

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