Due to government restrictions and social distancing recommendations, all our networking events in Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia are currently on hold. We are monitoring the situation and hope to be able to resume our event schedule soon.
Monthly Archives: November 2020
In part 49 of the Hedge Funds Club’s popular people-focused Good Life series of interviews, HFC boss Stefan Nilsson checks in with Christina Qi, Founding Partner of Domeyard and CEO of Databento, for a chat about looking like a decent human being for work, the value of time, sucking at hiking and skiing, preferring champions over mentors, celebrating wins with video games and ice cream, being paid in Egyptian papyrus and much more.
From where and how do you get your daily general news updates?
I read Reddit and HackerNews usually in the mornings. Before COVID-19, when I had to change out of my pajamas and look like a decent human being for work, I would ask Alexa to give me the latest flash briefings. People might find this strange, but I no longer subscribe to any email newsletters. Since time is valuable to me, I use email solely for work matters.
What do you do to unwind on a weekend?
I enjoy hiking in the summers and skiing in the winters. They’re both activities that I suck at but enjoy the falls and scrapes and bruises. I also love playing board games and video games. It took me many years to realise that it’s okay to relax and do nothing. I went to a competitive college where everyone was taught to hustle 24/7, which caused a lot of burnout and general unhappiness. But there’s no point in hustling if you don’t savour the journey and the rewards along the way. To me, success is the number of hours you can afford to do the thing you truly want to do, without material consequences – whether that’s watching your favourite TV show, hanging out with friends, pampering yourself, travelling, etc.
Can you name a great book you have recently read?
“Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss. If there’s one class I wish I could’ve taken in college, it would be a class on negotiation. If I was a better negotiator, it would’ve saved me a lot of time, money and professional relationships.
Your soundtrack of choice?
Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2”. It’s angsty, it’s emotional, and it’s also extremely difficult to play.
What drink do you start the day with and what drink finishes it?
Honestly – water and water. I don’t drink anything else, not for health or religious reasons – I just really like water for some reason. It quenches your thirst and it’s free.
What’s the worst money mistake you’ve made?
I was on a plane ride across the Atlantic and was shocked, upon arrival in Boston, to see hundreds of messages blowing up my phone. It turns out we lost over 5% of our portfolio value that day, which could’ve been mitigated, but all of the decision-makers were on flights at the same time, travelling in different directions. As they say, money mistakes are more than often operational mistakes at the end of the day.
Have you ever had a great mentor and what did you learn?
I didn’t have long-term mentors in my early career and wrote a piece on LinkedIn about this once. I prefer champions over mentors, as the former alludes to a mutually beneficial relationship, and the latter alludes to an unequal “teacher-to-student” or “adult-to-child” mentality.
What gives you energy?
Chocolate and ice cream. Karaoke before COVID-19. Also, my good friends who literally pulled me out of bed during the worst days of my life.
How do you stay grounded and focused as a person in these turbulent and fast-changing times?
I keep my email inbox clean from sales inquiries, newsletters and spam. I also prioritise important tasks and set alarms throughout the day to stay on track.
Can you name a terrific restaurant that you love?
Bigeye Poke, Cafe Rio and In-N-Out Burger are my go-to choices this year.
What’s your favourite museum in the world?
I couldn’t believe how massive the Louvre was when I visited Paris last year. It’s amazing to see something often depicted in movies, in real life for the first time.
You are based in Boston but earlier in your career, you spent some time in Tokyo. What is your best memory from Tokyo?
It’s hard to pick just one memory. Hanging out with new and old friends, driving around the country, singing karaoke and going to the anime club.
Are you active on social media and what do you actually use it for?
Oh boy, I could go on forever. I use Facebook to be human and post about my deepest problems in life. LinkedIn is purely for professional announcements. Instagram and Snapchat are for interacting with close friends. Strava is to track exercises with friends. I like posting memes on Twitter.
Do you have any secret guilty pleasure that you are prepared to reveal here?
My guilty pleasures are out in the open – public information that I don’t mind sharing. I like fast food and trashy reality shows.
What kind of battle dress do you normally put on for work?
It used to be a nice dress and a necklace, but due to COVID, I prefer wearing free company t-shirts and pajama pants now. It hasn’t affected my work progress at all. In fact, my productivity only improved in 2020.
Do you celebrate your wins? If so, how?
Usually video games and ice cream. Nothing fancy. Maybe a Facebook post if the win means a lot to me for some reason.
What’s the coolest, most awesome thing you keep in your office?
A papyrus that this Egyptian Forbes 30 Under 30 guy gave me as payment for karaoke because he didn’t have any USD in his wallet and was only visiting Boston for a few days. I framed it.
What makes you happy?
Helping people get started with their ventures and hedge funds. Seeing my friends succeed. Also, chocolate makes me happy. I wrote these answers at 5 AM, so apologies for sounding totally unprofessional.
HFC’s Stefan Nilsson checked in with David “Gibbo” Gibson, Chief Investment Advisor at Astris Advisory Japan about the increased interest and demand for independent research. Gibbo has a wealth of experience in the equity business. Prior to Astris Advisory, Gibbo worked at Macquarie Capital Securities Japan where he held a number of roles over 18 years in both the US and Japan. His last role was Head of Research in Tokyo where he managed a team of 20 people, and he combined that with covering game software, media and Internet stocks. He has fund management expertise at HSBC Asset Management and National Mutual Funds Management, both in Australia, before joining Macquarie in 2000.
What has the introduction of the MiFID II regulatory reform for financial markets in the European Union in 2018 meant for your business?
It triggered the idea of creating Astris as we could see clients wanted to buy independent research and not pay for services bundled together that they did not want.
You have previously worked for big finance houses HSBC and Macquarie. What are the advantages and the challenges with building a new independent research platform in Japan?
Large finance houses are like trying to steer the Titanic away from the iceberg. We can all see it but no one wants to upset the existing business. As we describe it: “independent thought, quality advice”. The biggest advantage of independent advice is it is focused on delivering alpha for the clients and users and not biased by trading or corporate advice, etc.
You have opted to make your service quite exclusive and not publish public recommendations. Is this a way of differentiating your service from the competition? Are you not losing out on some publicity?
We do publish recommendations on Bloomberg, but that is it. We do not contribute to EPS (earnings per share) consensus, etc. Our analysis and numbers are exclusive for the subscribers. We do publicity by appearing on CNBC, WSJ, Asia Nikkei, NY Times, etc.
Here in Japan, you are well known for your gaming, media and Internet research. How is your approach to research in these sectors different from the competition?
Play to your strengths – I have covered the Australian, US, EU and Japan markets, so it is an international perspective. I used to be a buy-side PM, so when I write, I put myself in the clients’ shoes and write what the clients would be interested to know. Substance over noise – I’m no longer trying to compete with 25 brokers writing the same boring results note. No longer chasing a tail of clients who are over 4,000 people, but focused on less than 100 and adding value/analysis and insight. More data – I buy credit card and other data that few if any securities houses would buy or has the budget for. That augments/guides my stock calls and increases my hit rate. I and not we – notes are written in natural language, no longer need to interpret what analyst meant. If I get it wrong, I say it, if I want to upgrade, I say it and why. More collaborative – clients tell me what they are interested in learning, so I research and write about it. For example, a client asked about BASE (4477), so now I cover it. More commercial – have sell recommendations, write pre-IPO research – Uber/Unity/ANT. On WeWork, I wrote “Dear Masa, Did anyone tell you that’s a bad deal?” Upgraded ZOZO//Mercari on credit card data.
What’s the most significant recent development in the sectors in Japan that you cover?
Shift to cashless/app payments in Japan. Covid accelerating the structural shift to more EC and games consumption. Next-generation console launches.
Japan has a new prime minister in place and is at least making some noise around making Tokyo a better, more efficient financial centre. Are there tangible things happening that you are noticing?
I have not seen anything as yet, hope they are able to make it so. The government’s own initiatives to digitise is a great background for potential reform as well.
The Eurekahedge Greater China Hedge Fund Index was down 1.59% in September, outperforming the Hang Seng and Shenzhen Composite by 5.23% and 4.77% respectively. Greater China hedge funds gained 9.29% return in Q3, bringing their cumulative return since end-March to 27.38%.
Global hedge funds were down 0.76% in September and up 3.86% in Q3 2020. In terms of year-to-date returns, the Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index was up 3.22%, outperforming the MSCI ACWI (Local) by 4.24%. Around 60% of the Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index’s constituents have outperformed the global equity market in 2020. Assets under management for the global hedge funds industry have rebounded increasing by US$120.0 billion over the six-month period ending September 2020. This has come from performance-driven gains of US$122.8 billion partially offset by net investor outflows of US$2.8 billion. This marks a sharp recovery following US$264.1 billion asset decline in Q1 2020.
Riccardo Lehmann has joined Sayers in Melbourne, Australia as Compliance Manager. Founded in 2020 and backed by Australian and US private capital, Sayers is an advisory, innovation and investment business purposefully built for the modern ‘change-age’. Riccardo, a Henley Executive Hedge Fund Program graduate, earlier served as Managing Director and Responsible Officer in the Hong Kong office of Swiss-Asia Asset Management. His career has also included many years with UBS in Singapore, Vienna and Frankfurt. He started his career at Berliner Bank and also worked at Merck, Finck & Co Privatbankiers.
Steven H. Lee has left his role as Managing Director at Constellar Capital Partners in Hong Kong. He has joined Shanghai Mingshi Investment Management’s Hong Kong office as Director, Business Development & Investor Relations. Mingshi is a leading China A-share quantitative specialist hedge fund manager. Steven has earlier in his career worked at Gottex Fund Management and Wellington Management.
Takeshi Kurisu has joined Asahi Life Asset Management (ALAMCO) in Tokyo. Most recently he has spent three years with CFM and has previously worked at K2 Advisors and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank.
Silva Seferian Jacotine has joined Mainstream Group in the fund administrator’s Sydney headquarters as General Counsel and Head of Risk. Silva was most recently a Partner in the Investment Funds group at Travers Thorp Alberga in the Cayman Islands. Earlier she has worked at firms including Walkers, Commonwealth Bank, DLA Piper and Gilbert + Tobin.