Brian D. Singer, a veteran of UBS Global Asset Management, today launched money management boutique Singer Partners, aimed at helping investors navigate what he predicted recently will be a more volatile market environment.
Mr. Singer, who was Americas CIO and head of global investment solutions for UBS Global through 2007, will be a partner and chief investment officer at the new firm. He will be joined on the investment team by a number of former UBS colleagues, including Edwin Denson, that firm's former head of asset allocation, and Thomas Clarke, its former head of currency analysis and strategy, both of whom will be partners at Singer Partners.
The new firm's risk management team will likewise reunite some former UBS colleagues, led by Edouard Senechal, a former senior risk manager and executive director at UBS, and Renato Staub, who resigned his position as a senior asset allocation and risk analyst there to join Singer Partners. Both will have the title of partner.
The new firm will combine fundamental analysis and behavioral models to dynamically adjust the mix of market risk, or beta, and active risk, or alpha, in institutional and high-net-worth portfolios, Mr. Singer said in a recent interview.
When undervalued markets offer attractive risk-adjusted opportunities, the strategy will take on more beta. Conversely, when markets are overvalued, the strategy shifts to active security selection, and a portfolio can have zero or negative market exposure.
Singer Partners will maintain an “intense focus” on macro investing decisions, “leveraging our competence in asset, market, sector, theme and currency allocation,” while relying on external subadvisers when conditions call for bottom-up investment decisions, Mr. Singer said.
Mr. Singer cited his team's experience “in building proprietary, forward-looking risk measurement, analysis and management systems,” but said while Singer Partners will employ quantitative tools, it is not a “quant shop.” “In all instances, individuals make decisions with the support of quantitative tools and models.”
In the interview, Mr. Singer said he wants the firm to eventually manage between $10 billion and $15 billion for a limited number of institutional, ultra-high-net-worth and sovereign wealth investors. For its first year, the firm will limit client inflows to $1 billion, he said.
He said the firm is looking now to finalize two key relationships, one with a private bank, which Singer Partners can work with in serving key high-net-worth investors, and the other with a founding institutional investor, such as a sovereign wealth fund. He would not identify them.
Mr. Singer said his firm will take in performance fees only after five years of managing a client's portfolio.