Everest To Shut Big Fund Amid Big Losses On Swiss Franc Bet

By Mani
Updated on

Marko Dimitrijevic is closing his largest hedge fund, Everest Capital’s Global Fund, after losing virtually all its money last week following the Swiss National Bank’s removal of the three-year-old cap on the franc against the euro, according to a Bloomberg report. Citing people familiar with the development, the Bloomberg report said Everest Capital’s Global Fund had been betting that the Swiss franc would decline.

Everest Capital had $830 million in assets

Dimitrijevic has survived at least five emerging market debt crisis. Everest Capital’s Global Fund had about $830 million in assets as of the end of December. The firm specializes in emerging markets and still manages seven funds with about $2.2 billion in assets. The hedge fund firm was once a hedge fund darling – the Everest Capital Emerging Markets hedge fund was up 18.6 percent in 2014 through October, according to CNBC‘s Lawrence Delevingne.

Everest Capital’s Global Fund, the firm’s oldest, was betting the Swiss franc would decline. Everest grew to $2.7 billion by the start of 1998 after navigating crises in Mexico and Southeast Asia. A decade later though, Everest managed $3 billion, and the global financial crisis saw its assets shrink by $1 billion. According to an investor report, the main fund rose 14.1% last year, thanks to Chinese equities and bets against currencies, including a wager that the Swiss franc would fall after citizens rejected a referendum that would require the central bank to hold at least 20% of its assets in gold.

Hedge funds got whacked

Currency speculators, especially large global macro hedge funds with big short positions in the Swiss franc, are staring massive losses in the face after the Swiss National Bank shocked markets last Thursday by removing a three-year-old cap on the currency. The shocking announcement by SNB has hammered currency funds across the globe, with the $1.9 billion John Hancock Absolute Return Currency Fund being the biggest loser among U.S. funds.

The number of casualties from the SNB’s decision is also on the rise, and the damage has started spreading from New York to New Zealand, with FXCM Inc., the biggest retail foreign-exchange broker in Asia and the U.S., saying it may be in breach of some regulatory capital requirements. A small New Zealand currency trading house, Global Brokers NZ Ltd, too said it would close its doors as it could no longer meet regulatory minimum capitalization requirements.

An Australian currency house, OANDA, also disclosed it sustained losses amid “vanishing liquidity” in the market. The currency house said it forgave all negative credit balances that were caused when traders couldn’t close out positions quickly enough. A few major banks, including Deutsche Bank AG and HSBC Holdings plc, also had to grapple with the Swiss surprise. For instance, Deutsche Bank was among the dealers to sustain disruptions to electronic trading, with its Autobahn platform temporarily ceasing to provide quotes.

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