DUNN Capital (Europe)
The man behind the Top Traders Unplugged podcast, Niels has over three decades of experience in the investment world. Specializing in systematic trading and trend following, he has worked with and led some of the biggest CTA firms in the world. Today he is heading up DUNN Capital's European and Asian activities.
Having been part of the hedge fund industry for more than twenty five years, working for some of the largest CTA firms in the world, as well as having co-founded, built and managed three businesses within the alternative investment space, I decided to use my experience in a new and different way whilst running DUNN Capital (Europe).
During the past three decades, I have attended hundreds of due diligence meetings and answered numerous due diligence questionnaires. What I found was that many of the questions being asked were just not that meaningful or relevant and often asked by people with little experience, especially when it comes to some of the more niche orientated investment strategies, sound familiar?
I also found that due diligence teams and analysts visiting our offices as part of a ‘tour’ -- where they were visiting many other managers in succession or meeting us at conferences where ‘speed dating’ has become the norm -- found it challenging to accurately reflect on our presentation and explanations in their subsequent manager reports, thus making me very concerned about the conclusion of such reports… I’m sure I’m not the only one with this concern!
Clearly the way investors allocate to managers after the financial crisis has changed. When I started in the industry, investors were genuinely looking for talent in order to build an innovative and truly diversified portfolio of managers, considering both large and small managers. But since 2008, this has changed dramatically and today you have to be big to be heard, let alone to get an allocation.
In other words, perceived risk of allocating to a small manager has taken precedent and thus most investors prefer the comfort of a large organisation when making an investment.
The change has also meant that investors today will not even allocate any time or financial resources to get to know a small manager. In reality most institutional investors end up investing with the same managers… the big ones… and their performance starts to look more like an index or the benchmark that they are trying to outperform.
Jumping back to my own beginning in the hedge fund industry in the late 1980’s, I was inspired and motivated to pursue a career in this industry after reading Jack Schwager’s Market Wizards books. The books are essentially a compilation of interviews with the world’s greatest traders and they certainly helped me on my way.
A few years ago, I started to listen to podcasts on subjects that were related to my work and the hedge fund industry in general. Actually there aren’t that many podcasts available in this field and those that do exist are mainly produced by people who have never worked as a hedge fund manager or as a trader. They were asking good manuscript questions, but many were lacking a deeper insight and understanding into the industry and the strategies.
Clearly there is room to dig deeper into areas that would really be valuable for both investors and aspiring hedge fund managers to know and learn from.
So I thought…
- Wouldn’t it be great if I could use my experience and contacts in the industry that I love and ask those questions that you just won’t find in a standard due diligence questionnaire?
- Wouldn’t it be great to share insightful, engaging and passionate interviews with the most successful hedge fund managers and traders in the world?
- Wouldn't it be great to use this media platform to give both smaller and larger managers a chance to be heard by all investors, regardless of geographical location?
In other words, I realized that I wanted to democratize the hedge fund industry, by providing easy access to the most successful managers and traders while simultaneously giving small and emerging managers a chance to be heard.
Instead of writing a book (which has already been done), I decided to use the latest technology to bring all of this valuable content directly to those of you who want to take your own manager research or investment career to the next level, via a free podcast that automatically (if you subscribe in iTunes) downloads to your smartphone, tablet or computer as soon as a new episode is released.
The idea of Top Traders Unplugged was born.
Come join the revolution!
Our co-hosts are a core part of the podcast, and have provided a wealth of episodes and content with various other guests over the years.
Jerry is a legend in the world of systematic trend following and known across the world for being one of the Original Turtles that Richard Dennis and Bill Eckhardt trained in the mid-1980’s. Today, Jerry still serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chesapeake Capital which he founded in 1988.
Rob Carver is an independent systematic futures trader, blogger and author of three several books relating to all aspects of trading. He is also a visiting lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London, where he inflicts an annual course in Systematic Trading Strategies on masters in finance students. He spent seven years working for the systematic hedge fund AHL, where he worked with some of the most talented people working in the financial industry. Robert left AHL in 2013 to spend more time: with his family, investing his own money, cycling, writing, and independently pursuing his research interests.
Richard is a science enthusiast with a long-standing track record in the financial services industry both as a trader, risk manager and fund compliance professional. Given his leaning towards the quantifiable and verifiable, Richard is a strong advocate for systematic and diversified trading styles that avoid the need for discretionary decision making. Richard is a content producer at ATS Trading Solutions and is also principally involved in the trading program analytics and portfolio compilation of ATS activities.
Mark is the CEO and CIO of AMPHI Trading & Research. Prior to co-founding AMPHI, Mark was the CEO of the fund group at FourWinds Capital Mgmt. Mark was also President and CIO at John W. Henry & Co., an iconic Commodity Trading Advisor. Mark has headed fixed income research at Fidelity Management and Research, served as senior economist for the CME, and as a finance professor at the Univ. of Houston Baer School of Business.
Hari is the Head of Volatility Strategies at SCT Capital Management and an experienced fund manager, combining systematic macro, managed futures and options trading expertise (in an ongoing search for new strategies/ideas/concepts). He is also the author of the books, The Second Leg Down and Market Tremors. He was formerly an executive director at Morgan Stanley, building asset allocation models and options trading strategist for a market making firm at CBOE. Hari obtained his PhD in Applied Math from Brown University.
Alan Dunne is CEO of Archive Capital, Ireland. Archive Capital is a boutique multi-asset and investment research firm focused on the use of liquid alternative investment strategies in asset allocation. Alan has over 25 years of international experience at hedge funds and large investment banks as a CIO, hedge fund allocator, macro strategist and technical analyst. Before founding Archive Capital, Alan spent a decade as Managing Director at Abbey Capital in Dublin, where he had responsibility for investment research, portfolio analysis and manager due diligence. In addition, he was a voting member of the Investment Committee which set the strategic and tactical asset allocation for Abbey Capital. Alan holds a BA in Economics from Trinity College, Dublin, as well as attending The London School of Economics and Political Science and Harvard Business School Investment Management Training.
Moritz started investing in 1998 and began his professional career as a derivatives trader at HSBC in Germany. Later, he worked for RBS in the UK as well as in the USA, where he was responsible for the bank’s equity derivatives structuring business. Subsequent to RBS, Moritz co-founded Aquantum, a Munich-based systematic CTA focused on short-term trend following and commodity spread trading strategies. Today, Moritz is the CEO/CIO of Munich Re Investment Partners, a quantitative asset management company serving institutional clients globally.
Jason is an entrepreneur and trader specialising in volatility, options hedging, and portfolio construction. After living through 2008 as a commercial real estate developer, Jason became focused on how investors could better manage their risk. He spent the following decade consulting on portfolio construction and building bespoke long volatility strategies for family offices and high net worth individuals. Today, Jason is a co-founder at Mutiny Funds.
Some of our contributors who play an essential role in making TTU what it is today
Plamen’s passion lies in applying systematic and quantitative approaches in the realm of fixed income strategies. He spent almost 8 years working for PIMCO in various positions, the last one of which entailed developing and launching innovative Emerging Market debt products. Plamen is a strong advocate of Trend Following strategies and actively deploys them in his own portfolio. He has a Masters in Finance degree from London Business School and is a CFA charterholder.
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