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Absolutely positive move

Although Goldman Sachs JB Were has traditionally been known as a long-only equities manager it is now moving into the absolute return space.

Thursday, September 9th 2004, 6:34AM
The company has rolled out the first of a number of offerings in New Zealand. It is an international fund-of-funds product that is run by United States-based manager Federal Street Advisers.

Goldman Sachs JB Were Managed Investments - NZ Manager Martin Allison says the move is being made as there is “quite a large appetite for alternative type investments” from New Zealand investors.

Federal Street chief investment officer Will Green, who was in New Zealand earlier this week, said the key benefit of these types of funds are to dampen volatility in a portfolio. This is particularly so on the downside.

“Our objective is to aim to capture two thirds or more of the market upside and limit the participation in the downside to one third or less.”

“We target a return volatility that falls between bonds and shares with an upside limit of 8%.”

Green describes Federal Street as being a “talent scout and an engineer.” Federal Street is always looking at managers and so far this year has run its eye of 400 managers. Of those there were only four that they liked.

His investment guidelines allow him to use up to 15 funds and right now he reckons Federal Street are using “the smartest managers in the world.”

Federal Street has a strict list of manager attributes it is looking for. Among it’s criteria it is looking for manager who are transparent. “We can’t deal with black boxes,” Green says. Also the funds have to invest only in listed or easily tradable securities. This is an issue as other managers invest in securities which are difficult to value fairly and not easily traded.

Federal Street also prefers “newer funds where the investment professionals have proven hedge fund experience with a prior organisation.”

Allison says the minimum investment in this particular fund is A$50,000 and a retail version of the fund should soon be available.

Multi-strategy has a 12-month lock in period, quarterly withdrawals and the fund valuations are done monthly.

(Prices and performance of the fund will be available through ASSET magazine on the alternative investments page).

The Multi-strategy fund is hedged back to Australian dollars. Its management fee is 2.1% annually.

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