Alternative Markets Outlook H2 2019
The asset management industry experienced significant declines in 2018. Alternative assets achieved the best performance among non traditional long asset classes. The popularity of actively managed assets is decreasing for the last 15 years, while passive solutions and alternatives are gaining more attention, which is likely to continue. It is expected that the industry will experience more volatile markets, increased competition and more economic uncertainty. Especially the uncertainties will increase, for example how the US-Chinese trade war will develop, with the background of new elections in the US in 2020. Europe's uncertainty will peak on how Brexit is executed at the end of October.
Hedge funds remain strong in July after a very profitable H1 2019 and reached a new record level of market capitalization of $3.273tn. In July, hedge funds yielded positive results again. The aggregated average performance of hedge in the current year is at 7.67%, which is likely to continue. Figure 1 shows the performance of several hedge fund strategies. Noteworthy is that none of them generated negative return. The interest rate cut of the FED is likely to increase the attractiveness of hedge funds further.
Investors are currently moving cash from equity strategies to lower beta strategies, as equity markets have reached all-time highs. For H1 2019, targeted strategies were mostly credit multi-strategy and relative value arbitrage strategies. However, this shifted to macro, CTA, currency and commodity funds in July 2019 and is likely to continue during H2 2019. Despite the trade war between the US and China, the allocated capital from hedge funds in China increased further. This conflict is likely to shape the general performance of financial markets, especially in the hedge fund industry. Due to current and expected interest rate decisions from most central banks as well as the volatility of currencies, hedge funds are looking for safe havens. Gold is experiencing an increased demand, causing the price per ounce to rise to the highest level since 2016 and $1600 or even $2000 is forecasted from major US investment banks.
Macro and Political Outlook June 2019 MacroEagle
Macro and Political Outlook April 2019 MacroEagle
STONE MOUNTAIN CAPITAL RESEARCH PERSPECTIVE VOL.94
Lending has always been the core banking business over centuries until the great financial crisis hit in 2008, which gave birth to a new asset class: private debt. For years, private markets were dominated by funds focusing on equity and banks on debt. The regulations that came into force in the aftermath of 2008 financial crisis created a funding gap for a specific market segment. Large corporates can finance themselves via debt and equity public issuance or bank lending, but funding middle market and SME corporates remains a challenge. The rise of debt funds together with fintech firms’ efforts to revolutionise alternative credit are shaping the current private debt environment, which is still enjoying a strong fundraising momentum. The 2023 forecast shows an increase for private debt AuM to $1.4 trillion, while assets have doubled since 2008.
STONE MOUNTAIN CAPITAL RESEARCH PERSPECTIVE VOL.63
The current market environment is characterised by high valuations in equities and low yields in traditional fixed income markets, urging investors to seek for alternative, diversified and stronger sources of return. Private debt is on its way to becoming an established asset class and falls under fixed income and private equity allocations of institutional investors. There is a broad set of opportunities within the private debt spectrum that spans from investment grade assets (IG CLOs, real assets and real estate senior debt) by lending across capital structure in mezzanine, to equity and first-loss like assets (distressed debt, CLO equity/warehousing/risk retention), depending on the risk-return profile of the institution. Navigating from the investment grade to high yield strategies (direct lending, capital relief trades, distressed debt and special situations) investors identify diversified sources of yield generated from illiquidity, complexity and regulatory premia. The $600bn private debt industry is set to exceed $1 trillion according to a research paper from the Alternative Credit Council.