Led by Fortitude Capital, which was deemed Australian Hedge Fund of the Year, numerous managers featured in the AIMA Australia 2008 Hedge Fund Awards while Telstra Super was named Best Investor Supporting Australian Hedge Funds.

The Fortitude Capital Absolute Return Trust, a market-neutral multi-strategy fund, outperformed steadily since its inception in March 2005, delivering 11.27 per cent with a standard deviation of 2.85 per cent. ";The larger return the better, obviously, but our strategy revolves around maintaining consistent returns and remaining neutral to market movements,"; John Corr, chief investment officer of Fortitude Capital, said. ";In the four years of the life of the fund, people have questioned whether remaining market neutral was beneficial as the market continued to go up. Now the strategy is working very well."; The Fortitude trust runs, among others, equity long/short and merger arbitrage plays while maintaining a market-neutral bias. In the 2007-08 financial year, it returned 9.32 per cent. Corr said the fund applied leverage selectively to its trading positions, which often involved small margins. ";But we are trading heavier at the moment because the risk margins are better than they have been in the last four years,"; he said. The seeding of the Melbourne-based LGI Absolute Return Fund earlier this year was the major reason provided for $10 billion Telstra Super being named best investor supporting hedge funds. The $20 million mandate to LGI was the initial investment in an incubation portfolio being built by the fund, which sits within its Australian equities book, overseen by portfolio manager Dan Farmer. Telstra Super’s target allocation to hedge funds is 10 per cent of total assets – approximately half of its alternatives portfolio. The fund recently allocated a second seed mandate to another Melbourne-based manager, Intersuisse Bioscience Managers [see related story]. Further hedge fund awards were received by the following managers during the event: – Kapstream Absolute Return Income Fund – Best Emerging Manager; – Matthews Sabre Fund – Best Long/Short & Absolute Return Fund; – Bennelong Long/Short Equity Fund – Best Market Neutral Fund; – Kaiser Trading Fund SPC – Best Global Macro/Futures Fund; and – Investor Select Advisers Global Opportunity Fund – Best Fund-of-Fund. Kim Ivey, the chairman of AIMA Australia, was recognised for his ongoing support of the domestic industry by receiving the Contribution to the Australian Hedge Fund Industry award.

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