Signs of a changing industry at top alts awards
Hedge Funds Rock and Australian Alternative Investment Awards, held in Sydney on Thursday night, went off without any monarch-related speedbumps this year. And while 2022 was dominated by local players, this year the Paris-headquartered CFM steamrolled the awards, taking out the coveted gongs for best alternative investment manager and the best offshore manager operating in Australia.
The big wins for CFM came with some audience grumbling. They might have paid for the drinks (and stubby holders) but it stings a little for local alternative managers who feel they often go unexamined in their own backyard. Still, offshore managers taking out the top award is hardly unheard of, and the judges’ decision is final.
Of more unanimous approval was the award for contribution to the Australian hedge funds industry, which was taken out by Louise Walker (pictured). Her career includes roles at Blackstone, CQS and Brookvine, and Walker was also responsible for co-founding the Australia chapter of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association in 2014, which she remains co-head of. She also co-founded Women in Alternatives, which eventually became 100 Women in Finance.
Walker’s efforts with 100 Women in Finance have paid dividends for an industry that has historically been the poster child for “pale, male and stale” at the same time it’s prided itself – in perhaps the perfect example of cognitive dissonance – on diversity of thought.
Efforts to turn that dynamic around have been deliberate and well-planned, with 100 Women in Finance partnering with AIMA Australia to launch the Elevating Women’s Voices program in 2021. The program comprised a series of group training sessions and smaller mentor sessions aimed at addressing the low female participation rate in the investment management industry. At the AIMA forum held the same day participants took on MC duties, and the program’s outcomes were noticeable on the night, with a more diverse crowd than is usual for an industry awards show.
The best emerging manager was taken out by real estate investment house Avari Capital Partners. The night caps off a big week for the Australian alternatives industry, which for the first time enjoyed their own Hedge Fund Week modelled off the annual events held in Miami and London and which is intended to put the spotlight on local managers and raise more money for the Alternative Future Foundation. On the prospects for those managers, Ian Macoun of Pinnacle put it best.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” Macoun said. “We think alternative investment management is really on the threshold of tremendous growth. We’re in the business of supporting talented investment professionals to produce investment excellence, and nowhere is that more important than in the alternative space… The direction of growth for our company will be in alternative asset classes and strategies.”
BEST ALTERNATIVE FIXED INCOME AND CREDIT FUND
1. Alexander Credit Opportunities Fund
2. Altius Sustainable Bond Fund
3. Kapstream Absolute Return Income Plus Fund
BEST EMERGING MANAGER
1. Avari Capital Partners – Private Loan Income Fund
2. Digital Asset Fund (Digital Opportunities Class)
BEST GLOBAL MACRO/FUTURES FUND
1. CFM Discus
2. Aspect Diversified Futures Fund Class A
3. GMO Systematic Global Macro Trust – Class B
BEST LISTED ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT PRODUCT
1. MCP Master Income Trust
2. CD Private Equity Fund
3. PM Capital Global Companies Fund
BEST LONG SHORT EQUITY FUND
1. Acadian Wholesale Global Equity Long Short
2. Perpetual Share-Plus
3. Antipodes Global Fund
BEST MARKET NEUTRAL FUND
1. CFM Stratus
2. K2 Australian Absolute Return Fund
3. Perpetual Pure Equity Alpha
BEST MULTI STRATEGY FUND
1. Victor Smorgon Partners Global Multi-Strategy Fund
2. Cor Capital Fund
BEST OFFSHORE MANAGER OPERATING IN AUSTRALIA
3. LGT Capital Partners
BEST PRIVATE DEBT MANAGER
1. MA Secured Loan Series Fund Class B
2. iPartners Investment Fund
3. Metrics Credit – Real Estate Debt Fund
BEST SPECIALIST ESG FUND
1. Acadian Wholesale Sustainable Global Equity Fund
2. Ausbil Australian Active Equity
3. Martin Curries Sustainable Equity Fund – Class A
BEST ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT MANAGER OF THE YEAR
CONTRIBUTION TO THE AUSTRALIAN HEDGE FUNDS INDUSTRY AWARD
BEST INVESTOR SUPPORTING AUSTRALIAN MANAGERS
1. Lucerne Partners