Hong Kong-based OP Investment Management (OPIM) keeps growing and helping some interesting hedge fund managers to launch their own funds. Former banker Michael Wegener, now Managing Partner of Case Equity, is one of them. HFC’s Stefan Nilsson decided to have a chat with Wegener about his event-driven investment strategy.
What can you tell us about your global event-driven strategy?
Case Equity is a global event-driven investment firm across merger arbitrage and special situation equities. Its philosophy is one of a global CIO office investing in best-in-class event-driven situations; defined as value-oriented, event-driven – hard or soft catalyst – with shareholder momentum overlay.
What sets you and your strategy apart from all the other emerging managers in Hong Kong?
Case Equity is the one and only event-driven hedge fund running a global strategy out of Hong Kong, Asia; as event-driven requires the key success factors of information transparency, board accountability and corporate governance. Intra-Asian investing were to add a political dimension coming with elevated risk beyond many investors control; hence our focus on Western markets, many of which trans-Atlantic deals, e.g. Johnson & Johnson’s recent US$30 billion acquisition of Actelion.
You have launched your fund on the OPIM platform. Why did you choose to work with OPIM?
I was keen to start on a multi-manager hedge fund platform allowing me to a) focus on investing and being in front of investors, b) know that the operational and regulatory aspects of the business are being taken good care of, and c) allowing me to keep full equity ownership, brand building identity and future growth support as a stand-alone entity.
Why did you launch the fund with Hong Kong as a base? You run a global strategy, are there advantages to being based in Asia?
I happen to be in Hong Kong, where Case Equity becomes one of the few choices for Asian high net-worth and family office investors looking for a) global equities diversification, b) absolute return strategy (9%-12% IRR target/run-rate) uncorrelated from broader equity markets (<30% beta to market), and c) exposure to global M&A activity (front-page, large-cap, cross-border, complex). Also, event-driven is not a day-trading strategy as an entry point depends on the right week or month – not day – with the investment exits predominantly sold in to the event at M&A (tender) offer price.
What did you do before you launched Case Equity?
I started my career as an investment banking analyst as part of Salomon Smith Barney’s (later Citigroup) Analyst Class 2000, having since focused on M&A/advisory for 15 years globally across multi-industries; prior to Case Equity’s Opportunities Fund launch in March 2016.
If you hadn’t been a fund manager, what would you have been doing?
Possibly M&A/strategy at a global corporate/diversified industrial group; though the skill set to anticipate M&A deals happening is best employed as an event-driven fund manager, delivering attractive risk-adjusted returns for investors.