Michael Kao has devised and implemented investment strategies spanning multiple asset classes and markets since 1992. Many investors will remember Michael running the arbitrage group at Canyon Capital Advisors (1997 to 2002) where he created “hybrid” strategies, e.g. buying distressed bank debt/high yield/convertible bonds and hedging them with option strategies.

Michael Kao

Michael Kao described his approach in a white paper “Alpha with Asymmetry” which describes how to combine long gamma of convertible and capital structure arbitrage with the catalyst aspects of event-driven investing. In 2002 he started Akanthos as a ” Capital Structure Long/Short Hedge Fund with an Event Bias”. 45% of Akanthos’ AUM is Michael’s own capital.

Hear Michael Kao talk about:

  • Akanthos’ Investment Philosophy: Combining credit, equity and volatility for thematically diversified portfolios with asymmetric right skew
  • Trade example: El Paso
  • How is Akanthos positioned currently?
    • Tail hedges & creative diosyncratic trades
    • How to repeat the great Cy Lewis trade of the 1940s
  • Akanthos’ growing investor base
  • Significant outperformance of equity indices with less correlation

Prior to forming Akanthos in 2002, Mike worked at Canyon Capital Advisors where he analyzed, devised and implemented trading strategies in convertible and capital structure arbitrage, merger arbitrage, stand-alone and option strategies, and firm-wide portfolio hedges using index options, interest rate instruments, currency options and commodity options. While at Canyon Mike co-founded and lead-managed Canyon’s Arbitrage Strategies Group and co-founded the Canyon Capital Arbitrage Fund, directing investments for just under $700 million of fund capital in various arbitrage strategies spanning convertible, capital structure and merger arbitrage.

Mike began his investment career at the J. Aron Currencies and Commodities division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. engaging in index arbitrage, proprietary trading strategies in over thirty underlying future and options markets, and dynamically hedging and making markets in various commodity-linked derivatives. Mike is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley (B.S., Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (M.B.A., Finance).