Early adopters of hedge fund managed accounts include the €140 billion ($187.22 billion) Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn, Zeist, Netherlands; C$129.5 billion (US$127.5 billion) Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Toronto; €55 billion Bayerische Versorgungskammer, Munich; £36 billion ($56 billion) Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd., Liverpool, England; and the $27 billion defined benefit plan of United Parcel Service Inc., Atlanta.
The managed account structure started to get more attention from institutional investors in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the Madoff Ponzi scheme, said Joshua Kestler, chief compliance officer of HedgeMark International LLC, New York, which offers dedicated managed account services.
“Institutional investors woke up and realized that for the most part, the hedge fund-of-funds vehicle many used at that time just didn't work in 2008 and 2009. The inherent lack of transparency, governance, extreme manager concentration and control — the ability to redeem as underlying hedge funds slammed down gates — convinced many institutions to look for another form of infrastructure,” Mr. Kestler said.
Sacramento-based CalPERS, for example, is reviewing a move from hedge fund separate accounts because a third-party managed account platform would handle day-to-day operations, operational risk management reviews and would move valuation to a daily basis from monthly, Egidio “Ed” Robertiello, senior portfolio manager, absolute-return strategies, said at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., in late April. CalPERS had $5.2 billion invested in hedge funds as of Dec. 31.
Investors are forcing managed account providers like HedgeMark, as well as hedge fund managers themselves, to evolve, said Mikael A. Johnson, lead partner for alternative investments in the New York office of KPMG LLP.
As institutional investors lean on hedge fund managers to offer a “fund of one” in a managed account format, they are seeking advice on the subject from service providers like auditors, lawyers and compliance experts, Mr. Johnson said.
Pressure on third-party providers for “more flexibility and the ability to include novel investment ideas on a managed account platform” is a far cry from a decade ago, when “nearly all of the managed account platforms were bank managed and you took what (hedge funds) were offered” on the platform, he said.
These days, Mr. Dom said, due to a recent rush of fierce new competition, savvy managed account platform providers have evolved to be more responsive to institutional investor demand for a wider, more diverse variety of hedge fund strategies and providing consultative advice in addition to outsourced administration.
One example of the flexibility now on offer is the ability for UPS' investment officers to select whatever hedge funds, credit opportunities, commingled funds or other non-standard hedge fund approaches they want for the internally managed hedge fund of funds. All administrative functions of the internal hedge fund portfolio are outsourced to HedgeMark (Pensions & Investments, May 27).
Another is the $167.2 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System's use of Lyxor Asset Management Inc., one of the industry's largest third-party hedge fund managed account providers, in a much more consultative role than is typical of old-style managed account vendors.