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!