Some of the largest investors in the world jetted home underwhelmed on Wednesday from a three-day blitz of meetings with hedge fund managers, unimpressed by their bearish outlook and cautious approach to markets.
Many big-money clients - representatives of wealthy families, endowments and private investment firms in New York, London and Geneva - came to the Morgan Stanley Hedge Fund Forum at the $1,000-a-night Breakers Palm Beach resort in a sour mood, hurt by their hedge fund investments last year and so far in January.
Their outlook has not improved much after a stream of panel discussions, individual meetings and private dinners with top hedge fund managers and their sales teams, participants told Reuters. Investment ideas presented were largely familiar, including so-called bearish views on China, commodities and stocks.
"I’m disappointed by their attitudes - they seem resigned and disappointed," said one hedge fund allocator and longtime event attendee who was hoping for more novel investment ideas. “No one is really excited by anything.”
Participants spoke about conference specifics on condition of anonymity because the invitation-only event was closed to the press.
The Breakers gathering, in its 18th year, once again featured a slew of top hedge fund names, including Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment Corp, Dmitry Balyasny of Balyasny Asset Management and Dan Och of Och-Ziff Capital Management.
Morgan Stanley uses the event to parade its hedge fund clients - who pay it commissions for trading and borrowing money - before some of the largest investors in the world.
Hedge fund allocators present included representatives of Vulcan Capital, the money manager for billionaire Paul Allen; New York Life affiliate Private Advisors; and Morgan Stanley’s wealth management division. More than 300 hedge fund investors were registered to attend, according to a list seen by Reuters.
The mostly male attendees sported dark suits with no neckties, as the weather alternated between partial sun and heavy rain. Hedge fund brochures touting “alpha," or skill-based investment performance, were toted around in complimentary canvas beach bags branded with the Morgan Stanley logo.
A spokesman for Morgan Stanley declined to comment.