While other hedge fund managers and investment businesses struggle (and, in the case of “Downtown” Josh Brown, even take out PPP loans for payroll purposes) amidst the virus-induced chaos, one hedge fund manager is having an epic start to the year.
Alan Howard of Brevan Howard has returned about 100% so far this year, with most of that gain coming from March – the month that the pandemic began to grip the world’s financial markets. We’re guessing his fund doesn’t need to take out a PPP loan to make payroll.
His performance this year is a stark outlier not only for him personally, but for the investment industry over the last quarter, as volatile markets have rattled portfolio managers. Howard’s performance is the best of major macro hedge funds so far this year, according to Bloomberg. This year’s performance comes after “years of mediocre performance” from his firm, BBG notes.
The AH Master Fund was started in 2017 specifically with the purpose of making riskier bets in order to seek out high returns. It includes Howard’s own money, as well as a “handful” of outside investors. The fund is cloaked in secrecy, even to those who work at the firm.
The company’s main hedge fund was up 18% in March and it’s “not clear” how the AH Master Fund was able to achieve such results, though some of the firm’s results were attributed to interest rate trading, according to the company’s April client letter.
While there have been some other notable outperformers during the pandemic – like Saba Capital Management’s 36% return in March and macro trader Said Haidar’s 25% performance – Howard’s fund stands near the top. He was bested by very few, but oil trader Pierre Andurand netted a 155% return in March, slightly beating out Howard.
The returns mark a much needed comeback for Howard: the fund’s assets have fallen to $8 billion this year from more than $40 billion in 2013. At the end of April, the firm’s AUM stood at $9.6 billion.