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Choosing a Fund Manager: Where to Start?

Feedback in:

Dear Michael, my name is Myles [name] and I am from Dublin, Ireland. I am 43 years old and my back ground is in construction. I have studied trading for the last 18 months, your books, podcasts and website have become the core of my research. Before I go any further, thank you for your work, it will be life changing for me and my family. I have recently purchased your latest system. So as you say yourself let me jump right in!

I came across your fantastic work while reading THE NEXT BIG INVESTEMENT BOOM by Mark Shipman. I think the story of how he started at 16 with almost no formal education and retired with a small fortune at 33 having borrowed £60k from family and friends would be a great story for your listeners. I would love to hear Mark interviewed on your podcast some day. Mark called the property crash in 2007 and also the commodity boom. Mark gives a couple of basic trend following systems using weekly charts.

Michael, I have read all your books and lots more that you have recommended. I realized I needed to educate myself further other than just reading books so I enrolled with the IIFT (Irish Institute Financial Trading) in Dublin, so I could understand the terminology and how to read charts, etc. IIFT are mainly Day Traders, and I realized that this was not for me over the long term, but I learned what I needed and also met two excellent teachers.

My intention is to continue developing my own trading plan and education through my enrollment in your training system. I feel more comfortable trading small until I progress over the years with help from your team. If I may please ask can you suggest any small to medium size trend following fund managers that I might engage with for the medium term with a view to investing 50/100K?

I understand the relevance of perhaps choosing a manager on a drawdown, and also the importance of understanding and agreeing the risk element of any investment, can you suggest other criteria particular to choosing professional fund managers? Finally, I should say that my inquiries may not be strictly within the bounds of your support package but this is where I am and I know I am solely and fully responsible for my own investments now and always. I am already extremely grateful for your guidance and I would very much like to meet you and have a snake heart in Saigon someday, or hopefully in Singapore this year, until then its fish and chips!

Sorry for rambling on, thank you.

I think the best option for finding a manager is to investigate the ones mentioned in my books. There are others of course and I implore you to investigate those too. In the context of my training we can also have some back/forth about the issues associated with selection.

Thanks for the nice feedback Myles.

Top Female Trend Follower: Leda Braga of BlueCrest

A fund manager (and client) writes me from Brazil:

Hi Michael. you ever heard about Leda Braga? She is a Brazilian trend follower with more than $1B USD in assets. She runs BlueCrest and Man has been allocating in her fund for a long time now. Interesting that she is a women, Brazilian, a trend follower and few people know her.

Very quiet firm…more:

Braga, whose $8 billion Blue­Trend Fund is a momentum-based, trend-­following fund, stands alone as the world’s top female portfolio manager in terms of assets under management. Although she prefers to fly under the radar, fellow hedge-fund mana­gers swoon over her knowledge of FX/interest-rate hybrids, equity derivatives and interest-rate exotics, offering praise composed of equal parts shock and awe. As one multibillion-dollar hedgie puts it: “I met her at a Tokyo conference, and if there were ever a quant strategy I would invest in, it’s hers. She’s constantly stressing the need to upgrade and refine trading systems, that you can’t just walk away and expect them to perform with markets shifting so quickly. She’s a dynamo.” Braga heads BlueTrend’s quant strategies. She’s also the president of BlueCrest Capital.

Braga, 42, attended Imperial College in the U.K., where she earned a Ph.D. in engineering and worked for three years after graduation as a lecturer and a research-project manager. She is reportedly the largest staff equity holder in parent company BlueCrest, after legendary cofounders Bill Reeves and Michael Platt. Chances are this might have something to do with the massive returns she has bagged since her fund’s inception in 2004, not to mention her flawless handling of the subprime crisis, which has flummoxed many of her competitors. “Last year, the BlueTrend fund returned approximately 28 percent, net of fees, and this year it was up about 13 percent on the same basis by the end of July,” notes BlueCrest CFO Andrew Dodd.

A former JPMorgan colleague of Reeves and Platt, who quit their jobs as proprietary traders in 2000 to found BlueCrest, ­Braga worked for nearly seven years as a vice president and quant analyst on the bank’s London derivatives-research team before joining the spin-off and derivatives risk-management firm Cygnifi Derivatives Services in 2000. BlueCrest snared her in October 2001, deciding its successful maiden voyage into fixed-income and currency markets should be encored with some black-box strategies. Braga’s fund launched in 2002. A year later, Man Group snapped up a minority stake in BlueCrest, and the rest is trading history.

Despite all the fanfare, Braga is strikingly modest. Attempting to reach her, Trader Monthly ­received an e-mail in which she beseeched her assistant to ward us off. “Aaaarghhh!” she lamen­ted. “Only the misinformed can possibly be interested in me.” Genius, it seems, doesn’t always take to the spotlight.


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