订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

投资理财

看清“揭开面纱者”的真面目

Katie Benner 2011年05月11日

在对冲基金的世界里,行政管理服务方兴未艾。但如果投资者认为这些第三方报告具有独立性,最好三思。

    对冲基金行政管理服务是一个正在蓬勃发展的作坊式行业的组成部分,目的是增加基金对投资者的透明度。行政管理人要确定交易的发生以及一个基金组合的净资产值 (NAV)处于令人满意的状态,还要确定基金是否拥有其宣称持有的资产——在麦道夫骗局等丑闻曝光后,这绝非小事。

    但不足之处是行政管理人往往从对冲基金处获取价格信息,也没有义务核查这些信息是否正确。这就有点像一家信贷评级机构从债券发行人处获得抵押担保证券(MBS)的有关信息,不一定要确保这些数据的现实性。

    “没有法律要求第三方去核实管理资产,”律师事务所Sadis & Goldberg的合伙人罗恩•盖夫纳表示。他从事对冲基金架构、组织和咨询服务。盖夫纳还说,投资者须记住行政管理人并不为他们工作,而是受雇于对冲基金。

    根据一家对冲基金的交易品种不同,行政管理人的工作可能会更加复杂,成本更高。对于流动性好的股票和债券,行政管理人很容易就能从汤森路透(ThomsonReuters)或彭博(Bloomberg)买到数据。如果行政管理人必须跟踪外汇、大宗商品或衍生品,可能就必须从不同的数据供应商购买数据。而对于流动性差的证券,行政管理人要获取并验证这些证券价格的成本可能非常高。

    “通常只有规模很大的行政管理人才负担得起众多数据购买,”咨询公司SBCC Group的董事长、曾担任某行政管理人董事的塔尼亚•伯德表示,“因此行政管理人往往走中间路线,凡力所能及便独立定价,其他价格则由对冲基金提供。”

    盖夫纳指出,行政管理人在价格信息上对对冲基金的依赖程度一般在招募书中都有描述。但投资者往往不会花时间去弄清这种关系。

    近日《福布斯》(Forbes)的一篇报道谈到,身陷一起对冲基金骗局的投资者们声称被全球最大的对冲基金行政管理人Citco所伤。报道称,一支名为Lancer的对冲基金买入一家毫无价值的壳公司的限制性股票,并在公开市场上以更高价格购入一些股票,以显示投资盈利。这种虚增的价值数据提交给基金行政管理人Citco后进入了投资者月报。

    在随后的一项诉讼中,一些Lancer投资者宣称,即便在他们告知Citco他们对Lancer的净资产值有担忧后,Citco在发出的报告中仍采用Lancer提供的“具有误导性”的估值。针对《福布斯》的报道,Citco的回应是公司已做了所有该做的事情。这涉及到为何行政管理人可免责于不当行为:和评级机构一样,每次出事时,它们都可推脱于是他人提供的数据。

    这就是为何明智的投资者会要求看一支基金的仓位。对于那些根本不交易或很少交易的资产,他们应想办法找出其他对冲基金和经纪商-交易商在处理类似资产时公布的价格。

    这样的价格发现是一些所谓的老成投资者不愿(或不能)去做的。但对于投资者而言,感觉自己能核实资产价格是否正确依然重要,这部分也是因为行政管理服务业的整合。对冲基金不愿支付足够高的价格来承担数据搜集成本,导致中小行政管理人生存艰难。

    “如果我们不能从根本上解决当前问题,随着业内公司数量的减少,问题可能变得根深蒂固,” 伯德表示,“然后你就会遇到顺周期性问题,正如金融危机期间一样。每个人都在做同样的事情,但没有一个人在做正确的事情。”

    *************

业界花絮……

    **事件:华尔街女性论坛(The Wall Street Women Forum)于本周三召开,这个仅向受邀者开放的论坛面向女性高管,希望能帮助她们学习如何建立关系以及如何登上职场阶梯顶峰的技巧。

    **每日新知:据Hedge Fund Research报告,对冲基金4月份上涨,但涨幅不如标准普尔(S&P)。

    **如果你没有注意到这条消息,请看:美国参议员查尔斯•格拉斯里现在想调查史蒂夫•科恩的SAC“可疑交易活动的范围”。

    而且如果科恩获得Mets的少数股股权,他可能成为管理团队引人注目的新成员。

    对冲基金经理充斥《星期日泰晤士报》(Sunday Times)的英国千名富豪排行榜。Attara Capital联席董事长耐特•罗特希尔德和Sail Advisors董事长罗伯特•米勒位居榜首,身价分别为16亿美元左右。

    一些对冲基金受到了大宗商品价格的冲击。

    塞思•卡拉曼240亿美元的Baupost Group今年将借欧洲主权债务危机之机,开设首个海外办事处。

    一部新出版的小说将对冲基金界描绘成阴谋、性和谋杀……的温床,不再是那些触目可见的彭博终端、对着电话大嚷的胖子们以及普通牛排餐厅的午餐。

    Hedge fund administration is part of a burgeoning cottage industry that attempts to make funds more transparent to investors. Administrators make sure that trades have occurred, and that the net asset value (NAV) of a fund's portfolio is copacetic. They also try to ascertain whether a fund has the assets that it claims to own -- no small thing in the wake of some infamous frauds, including the massive sham operated by Bernie Madoff.

    But there is one small fly in the ointment: Administrators often obtain pricing information from the hedge funds themselves, and are not obligated to check that the information they get is correct. It's akin to a credit rating agency getting the information about a mortgage-backed security from the bond issuer, and not having to make sure that the data is realistic.

    "There's no law that requires any vendor to verify assets under management," says Ron Geffner, a partner at law firm Sadis & Goldberg who structures, organizes and counsels hedge funds. He adds that investors need to remember that administrators aren't working for them. They're hired by the hedge funds.

    An administrator's job gets trickier and more expensive depending on what a hedge fund trades. For liquid stocks and bonds, an administrator can easily buy data from ThomsonReuters or Bloomberg. If administrators have to track currencies, commodities, or derivatives, they may have to pay for information from a different data provider. And for illiquid securities, it can get very expensive for an administrator to go out and verify those prices.

    "Usually only very large administrators can afford a lot of data vendors," says Tanya Beder, who is the chairman of consulting firm SBCC group and who has also served on the board of an administrator. "So administrators often make deals. They agree to do independent pricing on the stuff that they can, and get prices on everything else from the hedge fund."

    Geffner notes that the extent to which an administrator relies on a specific hedge fund for pricing information is usually described in the offering documents. But investors often don't take the time to understand that relationship.

    Forbes recently ran a story about investors caught up in a hedge fund fraud who claim they were burned by Citco, the world's largest hedge fund administrator. According to the story, a hedge fund called Lancer would buy restricted stock in a worthless shell company, as well as a few shares on the open market at a higher price in order to show a gain. The artificially inflated value was given to Citco, the fund's administrator; Citco used the data in monthly statements to investors.

    In a subsequent lawsuit, some Lancer investors claimed that even after they told Citco that they were concerned about the fund's NAV, the administrator continued to send out reports with "misleading" valuations at the behest of the hedge fund. Citco responded to the Forbes piece by saying that it did all that it was required to do, which points to a reason why administrators may be absolved of wrongdoing: When bad things happen, they—like the rating agencies -- are allowed to rely on someone else's data.

    That's why smart investors will ask to see the positions in a fund. For assets that don't trade, or trade very little, they should work to find out what prices other hedge funds and broker-dealers that deal with similar assets are reporting.

    That's the kind of price discovery that some so-called sophisticated investors are unwilling (or unable) to do. But it's still important for investors to feel like they can verify that asset values are right, in part because the administration business is consolidating. Hedge funds aren't willing to pay enough to cover the cost of gathering all the data, which is making it difficult for smaller administrators to survive.

    "If we don't get at the root of ongoing problems, they become entrenched as players vanish," says Beder. "Then you get the pro-cyclicality problem that we saw during the financial crisis. Everyone was doing the same thing, but no one was doing the right thing."

    *************

Notes from behind the hedge...

    ** Events: The Wall Street Women Forum is coming up this Wednesday, an invite-only happening for senior level women who want to learn how to form relationships and learn skills that will help them get to the top of whatever ladder they want to climb.

    ** Another day, another study: Hedge Fund Research reports that hedge funds gained in April, but not as much as the S&P.

    ** In case you missed it: Senator Charles Grassley now wants to probe the "potential scope of suspicious trading activity" at Steve Cohen's SAC.

    And if Cohen gets his minority stake in the Mets, he could be an intriguing addition to the management team.

    Hedge fund managers pepper the Sunday Times Rich List of the 1,000 wealthiest people born or based in Britain. Attara Capital co-chairman Nat Rothschild and Sail Advisors chairman Robert Miller topped the list. They're each worth about $1.6 billion.

    Some hedge funds are getting crushed by commodities prices.

    Seth Klarman's $24 billion Baupost Group is opening its first overseas office this year to take advantage of Europe's sovereign debt crisis.

    A new novel portrays a world where hedge funds are a hotbed of intrigue, sex, and murder… rather than a world filled with Bloomberg terminals, dumpy guys yelling into phones, and lunches at mediocre steakhouses.

 

我来点评

相关稿件

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏