At the Managed Funds Association (MFA) forum conference in Chicago this June hedge fund professionals reiterated the need for continued education and dialogue with regulators and the media as the industry continually faces the threat of increased regulation and an overall negative image. Speakers on a panel on legal and regulatory issues pointed out how the profile of hedge funds have grown. Eliot Raffkind, partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, said, “The focus on the industry is changing dramatically,” noting that the recent G-8 economic summit spent quite a bit of time on hedge funds. “That would not have happened in the past.”
Raffkind added that Congressman Barney Frank (D-mass) continues to focus on hedge fund registration as does Iowa Senator Charles Grassley. The consensus of panelists was summed up by Raffkind, “It is import the industry has a voice.”
Some in the industry think that voice is too focused on hedge funds and not enough on managed futures. Several attendees of the conference representing commodity trading advisors (CTA) indicated that the MFA, which previously stood for the Managed Futures Association, has ignored the sector that found it.
Paul Wigdor, COO of Superfund Asset Management, which offers a registered public commodity pool, says, “MFA isn’t really focused on managed futures. The managed futures side needs to get attention.”
Superfund is focusing on educating the public regarding the benefits of managed futures and will open a retail store in Chicago in September to help accomplish that goal. “How do you get rid of the pejorative view of futures and how do you educate the investing public about managed futures as an asset class in the current climate,” Wigdor asks.
He would like to see MFA work on relief for public commodity pools from blue sky provisions, which require pools to register in every state, duplicative regulations and loosening advertising restrictions. “As a public fund we would like to advertise performance just as a mutual fund would. We have a registered product with the SEC, so we are a lot like a mutual fund,” Wigdor says, adding, “It is not a level playing field.”
Hot new CTAs
Futures is looking for the best new CTAs to profile in our annual feature. If you have managed customer funds for at least one year and have less than $15 million under management, mail your disclosure document and audited track record to Daniel P. Collins, Futures Magazine, 111 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 2210, Chicago, IL 60604.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline: Friday, Aug. 18, 2007.