Mainstream managers have taken out four of the eight awards at the annual hedge funds awards night, coinciding last week with the Hedge Funds Rock charity event.

The inclusion of larger mainstream managers shows how widely hedge fund strategies are being adopted. GMO won best global macro or futures fund, BGI won best market neutral fund, Warakirri Asset Management won best fund of funds and Colonial First State won best investor supporting Australian managers. But a recent start-up, much more in the hedge fund mould – Regal Atlantic Absolute Return Fund – won the main award of Australian ‘Hedge Fund of the Year’. Regal Funds Management was launched in early 2004 by brothers Philip and Andrew King. It has about $80 million invested and has shot the lights out with its performance: up 59 per cent net of fees in the past 12 months and 125 per cent a year over 24 months. Accepting the award, Philip King said the managers were the first to admit that their returns were unsustainable. Other winners were Cadence Capital for ‘Best Emerging Manager’, K2’s Select International Absolute Return Fund for best long/short and absolute return fund award, and John Morrison of Man Investments, for his contribution to the hedge fund industry. Morrison launched the first multi-manager hedge fund in Australian in 1986, a futures fund for Ord Minnett, and later set up OM Strategic Investments, which was acquired by the Man group in 2000. Morrison is chief executive of the group, based in Switzerland. Both Morrison and Kim Ivey, the chair of the Alternative Investment Management Association, said that the recent market volatility had presented new opportunities for hedge fund managers. Morrison said via a video: “This is where we will come into our own.” About 500 people attended the awards and rock-and-roll night. For the first time the awards presentations were held in a separate venue, the Chauvel theatre in Sydney’s Paddington, which tended to give them more credibility than previous years, together with an entertaining video showcasing all the award nominees.

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