* Says can guard against politicians' influence on markets
* Aims to be "everything that hedge funds are not"
* Will be joined by fund manager, COO, salesperson
By Laurence Fletcher
LONDON, Jan 25 Hedge fund industry veteran
Philippe Gougenheim wants to raise $50 million-plus for a highly
liquid global macro hedge fund he says can guard against the
unpredictable influence of euro zone politicians on markets.
Gougenheim, who was head of hedge funds at Swiss fund firm
Unigestion, will launch the Cayman-domiciled Glasnost fund in
June, named after the former USSR's 1980s policy of openness and
The fund will offer investors weekly access to their cash
with three days' notice, making it far more liquid than most
hedge funds, and it will also disclose all its positions to
investors every month.
"My idea is to be everything that hedge funds are not:
liquid, transparent, with a focus on capital protection," said
Gougenheim, who previously chaired the investment committee at
Man Investments, part of Man Group, the world's largest
listed hedge fund firm.
The fund will trade futures and options on stock indexes,
commodities, interest rates and currencies and will aim for a
10-12 percent return per year with volatility of around 7
percent and a maximum peak-to-trough loss over a 12-month period
of 2 percent.
"I hate losing money and am always very quick in taking my
losses," said Gougenheim, who formerly headed a proprietary
trading team at Societe Generale and an interest rate derivative
team at JPMorgan. "My culture, my DNA, is really in capital
Gougenheim said he could guard his portfolio against the
unpredictable manoeuvring of politicians -- cited by hedge fund
managers as one of the biggest influences on markets and one of
the key dangers to investors as Europe's debt crisis rages.
"Political influence in markets can be mitigated by sound
risk management, which is difficult for many funds as their
positions are not liquid enough for them to get out," he said.
"If there is a big meeting (of European leaders), I can
liquidate all the positions just before the meeting."
Market turbulence, he said, offered plenty of opportunities
to make money.
"I suspect we'll have an environment similar to what we've
had last year. I think I'll add a lot of value by being very
reactive in terms of risk management," he said.
"In this type of environment there will be lots of
opportunities with big macro trends over the medium to long term
and a lot of short-term events."
Gougenheim said his investment process would be based on a
computer model he is developing, his own economic analysis and
analysis of market behaviour in order to avoid crowded trades.
His Switzerland-based firm, Gougenheim Investments, will
employ a portfolio manager, a chief operating officer and
someone in marketing, though they are currently still working at
other firms ahead of bonus season, he said.
He added that he planned to launch a Luxembourg-based fund,
to be run in parallel with his Cayman fund, over the next 12
months to target European institutions.