Event horizons: top Alt Ucits managers revealed

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Events will happen regardless and it is how you make use of them that counts, to paraphrase Greek scholar Euripedes, but have fund managers been in the best place to take advantage?

Taking a look at the Citywire Alternative Ucits Event Driven sector, there are a host of names competing in a market buffeted by macro difficulties and micro concerns.

Here Citywire Global takes a closer look at the best performers over both the three and one year time periods for managers running dedicated event driven strategies.

Three-year analysis

There are nine event driven fund managers with a three-year track record in the Citywire Alternative Ucits database, with the average manager returning 10.97% over this period. Only three of the eligible managers managed to better this performance.

The leading manager over the three-year period is Henri Jeantet of Paris-based boutique Syquant Capital. The Citywire Alternative Ucits AAA-rated manager has returned 14.21% on the Helium Opportunites fund over the past three years.

Jeantet uses a four-fold approach which attempts to combine opportunities in merger arbitrage, corporate actions, index arbitrage and statistical arbitrage – with this being a more tactical element of the fund.

Speaking to Citywire Global in September, Jeantet revealed plans to launch an ‘aggressive’ event driven fund called Helium Performance to meet investor demand for greater risk.

Top five performers in the period October 2009-October 2012

Fund Manager Contributing Fund(s) Three Year TR
Henri Jeantet Helium Opportunites A/Helium Opportunites B 14.21%
James Dinan/Daniel Schwartz MLIS York Event-Driven UCITS 11.94%
Gabriel Teodorescu/Arnaud Yvinec FCP Lafitte Index Arbitrage/LAFFITTE Risk Arbitrage 8.17%
Slimane Bouacha/Fabienne Cretin/Stéphane Dieudonné OFI Risk Arb Absolu A/OFI Risk Arb Absolu XL/OFI Risk Arbitrages 4.22%
Sophie Elkrief Dexia Long Short Risk Arbitrage/Dexia Risk Arbitrage 0.96%

One-year analysis

The number of event driven managers has grown considerably over the past few years, with 20 fund managers running dedicated strategies in the Citywire database.

In the 12 months to the end of October 2012, the average manager lost 0.59%, which means nine of the 20 managed to outperform the average, while eight ended the period in positive territory.

Leading the field over this shorter period is Thomas Sandell of Sandell Investment Services. Sandell, who runs the Castlerigg Merger Arbitrage UCITS EUR fund, has returned 5.98% in the year to the end of October.

The fund invests primarily in merger and acquisitions and Sandell prides himself on having an international outlook when it comes to understanding each country’s merger dynamics.

According to the half year report, Sandell was able to capitalise on a number of unsolicited deals this year.

The New York-based manager is the stand-out performer in this analysis, with the three-year leader Jeantet in second with a return of 2.95%.

Top performers in the period October 2011 to October 2012

Fund Manager Contributing Fund(s) One Year TR
Thomas Sandell Castlerigg Merger Arbitrage UCITS EUR Inst 5.98%
Henri Jeantet Helium Opportunites A/Helium Opportunites B 2.95%
James Dinan/Daniel Schwartz MLIS York Event-Driven UCITS A Acc 2.00%
Peter M. Schoenfeld MS PSAM Global Event UCITS B EUR Acc 1.17%
Roy D Behren/Michael T Shannon MLIS Westchester Merger Arbitrage UCITS EUR C Acc 0.93%