Managed Futures in the Economist

Managed futures look to be moving up in class, with the most recent edition of the Economist mentioning managed futures in an article talking about how momentum can work. And while it is nice to see managed futures mentioned in a magazine just slightly more respected and read than Futures magazine (sarcasm intended) – the mention unfortunately leaves a little to be desired, as it does little more than make the seemingly obligatory references to John Henry, Winton, and AHL.

The managed futures portion is below, and you can read the full piece here: http://www.economist.com/node/17848665?story_id=17848665&fsrc=rss

It is hardly a surprise that the momentum effect has been exploited by some professionals for decades. Commodity trading advisers (CTAs), also known as managed futures funds, exist to exploit the phenomenon. They take advantage of trends across a wide range of asset classes, including equities and currencies as well as raw materials. Martin Lueck was one of the three founders of AHL, one of the more successful CTAs, and now works for another trend-follower, Aspect Capital. “Trends occur because there is a disequilibrium between supply and demand,” he says. “The asset is trying to get from equilibrium price A to equilibrium price B.”

Many of the trend-following models were developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They were exploited by investors such as John Henry, best known outside the financial world for owning a baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, and a football club, Liverpool (which is on a downward trend of its own). One of the simplest was to buy an asset when the 20-day moving average of its price rose above its 200-day average. In a recent study Joëlle Miffre and Georgios Rallis of the Cass Business School in London found 13 profitable momentum strategies in commodity markets with an average annual return of 9.4% between 1979 and 2004.

Modern CTAs like Aspect and Winton (run by David Harding, another founder of AHL) devote a lot of effort to researching new ways of exploiting momentum. That has sometimes meant trading faster and faster, with a time horizon of milliseconds rather than months. However, not all market movements are part of a trend. Some are merely random fluctuations. “As you trade faster, it is easier to get misled by the noise,” says Mr Lueck. Trend-followers can get “whipsawed” in volatile markets, buying at the top of a short-term trend and then selling at a loss shortly afterwards.

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Disclaimer
The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history.

Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.

Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.

Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.

RCM receives a portion of the commodity brokerage commissions you pay in connection with your futures trading and/or a portion of the interest income (if any) earned on an account's assets. The listed manager may also pay RCM a portion of the fees they receive from accounts introduced to them by RCM.

See the full terms of use and risk disclaimer here.

Disclaimer
The performance data displayed herein is compiled from various sources, including BarclayHedge, and reports directly from the advisors. These performance figures should not be relied on independent of the individual advisor's disclosure document, which has important information regarding the method of calculation used, whether or not the performance includes proprietary results, and other important footnotes on the advisor's track record.

Benchmark index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship, self reporting, and instant history.

Managed futures accounts can subject to substantial charges for management and advisory fees. The numbers within this website include all such fees, but it may be necessary for those accounts that are subject to these charges to make substantial trading profits in the future to avoid depletion or exhaustion of their assets.

Investors interested in investing with a managed futures program (excepting those programs which are offered exclusively to qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7) will be required to receive and sign off on a disclosure document in compliance with certain CFT rules The disclosure documents contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA, as well as the composite performance of accounts under the CTA's management over at least the most recent five years. Investor interested in investing in any of the programs on this website are urged to carefully read these disclosure documents, including, but not limited to the performance information, before investing in any such programs.

Those investors who are qualified eligible persons as that term is defined by CFTC regulation 4.7 and interested in investing in a program exempt from having to provide a disclosure document and considered by the regulations to be sophisticated enough to understand the risks and be able to interpret the accuracy and completeness of any performance information on their own.

RCM receives a portion of the commodity brokerage commissions you pay in connection with your futures trading and/or a portion of the interest income (if any) earned on an account's assets. The listed manager may also pay RCM a portion of the fees they receive from accounts introduced to them by RCM.

See the full terms of use and risk disclaimer here.