SMN Investment Services: Isn’t The Discretionary Trader The Real “Black Box”?

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Vienna-based smn Investment Services was founded in 1996 and is a pioneer in the field of systematic trend following. Its CTA program “smn Diversified Futures Fund” has over 18 years real track record and trades more than 200 markets in 10 sectors. The fund was nominated for several international hedge fund awards on the back of its 57% return in 2014.

Austria has a considerable history in alternatives, going back to the 80s and 90s. The country is internationally considered to be a CTA country and to be strong in quantitative strategies. Early on, at a time when CalPERS for example didn’t even consider investing into hedge funds, Austrian institutional investors favored the development of alternatives, because “they believed in it.” (see also the Opalesque Austria Roundtable).

SMN Investment Services: Isn’t The Discretionary Trader The Real “Black Box”?

In this Opalesque.TV BACKSTAGE video, smn CEO Gernot Heitzinger speaks about:

  • Why smn as mid sized player can extract alpha and enter trades that larger firms can’t
  • Advantages of systematic over discretionary managers
  • Why trends typically last longer than most people expect
  • Why most discretionary traders were not short oil 2014-2015
  • If you think about it, isn’t the discretionary trader the real “black box”?
  • Why the current market environment offers plenty of opportunities for CTAs
  • smn’s proprietary cutting edge risk management tools:
    1. Correlation overlay removes “cluster risk” in portfolio
    2. A framework how to deal with “risk-on/risk-off” choppiness
  • smn’s investor base: Traditionally European institutions, but recently more interest from US, Asia, and family offices

Gernot Heitzinger is the speaker of the group and responsible for Portfolio Management and Investor Relations. He started his asset management career in 1990. His former functions include fund management equities and Chief Investment Officer. Prior joining smn´s management board in 2004 he worked for ERSTE Sparinvest, ÖPAG Pensionskassen AG and Invesco.

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