For years, commodity trading advisors (CTAs) have complained the Managed Funds Association (MFA), formerly Managed Futures, has neglected its roots and has concentrated on servicing the high-end hedge fund members. But this summer’s MFA Forum conference in Chicago had a distinct managed futures feel as most of the speakers and much of the agenda centered around CTAs.
David Harding, principal of Winton Capital Management and a co-founder of legendary CTA AHL, told a luncheon crowd that the industry should respond to the new political and regulatory environment with “constructive engagement,” an argument that was well-received and echoed throughout the conference.
The MFA has long abandoned efforts to prevent hedge fund registration and MFA President and CEO Richard Baker stated one of its goals is to ensure that MFA member CTA/CPOs registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, do not face added registration under the Securities and Exchange Commission based on new proposals.
Ironically, hedge funds are in the midst of their best half-year performance in 10 years, while CTAs have struggled so far in 2009. The Hennessee Group reported that their Hedge Fund Index gained 11.74% the first six months of 2009, the strongest performance for that period since 1999 when the index rose 14.81%. This year’s performance is more impressive given the relative performance of the S&P 500 this year as compared to 1999. The Barclay CTA Index is down 0.95% through May after one of its strongest years in 2008.
HOT NEW CTAS
Futures is looking for the best new CTAs to profile in our annual feature. If you will have managed customer funds for at least one year as of the end of August and have less than $25 million under management, mail your disclosure document and audited track record to Dan Collins, Futures Magazine, 222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 620, Chicago IL. 60606. E-mail: email@example.com Deadline: Friday August 21, 2009.