Performance Awards 2019

Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – The three Performance Awards handed out every year go to the hedge funds that delivered the highest net-of-fees returns among all hedge funds within the universe of the Nordic Hedge Index over the last 12-month, 36-month and 60-month periods. Unlike the other awards handed out at the Nordic Hedge Award, as the name suggests, these Performance Awards are pure performance awards.

Performance Award for the Past 12 Months

Wilhelm Gruvberg, Portfolio Manager of Alcur Select.

Long-biased small-cap-focused equity fund Alcur Select bagged the top spot in the list of best performing Nordic hedge funds of 2019. The fund managed by Wilhelm Gruvberg out of Stockholm returned around 51 percent last year. Despite netting a return above 50 percent, which is a great achievement by any standards, Gruvberg pointed out earlier this year that “investors need to take into consideration the risk and return objectives of the fund.” After all, the fund’s net exposure varied between 60 and 100 percent during the year, with an average of about 80 percent.

“It would not be fair to compare Alcur Select’s result with the performance of less aggressive hedge funds in the industry,” acknowledged Gruvberg. “But even after accounting for the risk level of the fund, we had an outstanding year in 2019,” highlighted the portfolio manager. Alcur Select did not register any negative monthly returns throughout 2019.

When stocks pulled back in May, for instance, the fund’s short positions more than offset the losses incurred from the long book. “Throughout 2019, long positions have contributed significantly to the return,” said Gruvberg, yet short positions stepped in when markets were down. “There were many names that contributed to performance in the end, but overall, it was our careful bottom-up stock selection that made the difference.”

The “Performance Awards” are supported and presented by Northern Trust.

Performance Award for the Past 36 Months

From left to right: Kaspar Hållsten, Henrik Rhenman, and Susanna Urdmark (Rhenman & Partners Asset Management).

Rhenman Healthcare Equity L/S scooped up six of the 13 Performance Awards handed out at the Nordic Hedge Award over the past several years. This year, the healthcare-focused fund managed by Henrik Rhenman and Susanna Urdmark received another Performance Award, now for the 36 months to the end of 2019. Rhenman Healthcare Equity L/S returned 78.8 percent from the beginning of 2017 to the end of last year.

Rhenman Healthcare Equity L/S is perhaps one of the most aggressive hedge funds in the Nordic Hedge Index in terms of net market exposure, as the team has maintained a positive view on the healthcare sector since the fund’s inception in mid-2019. As founding partner Carl Grevelius previously told HedgeNordic, “we believe innovation is a great investment opportunity and we have therefore made a very conscious decision to have a high net exposure on a fund level and accept the volatility that it brings.” The aggressiveness and conviction have turned Rhenman Healthcare Equity L/S in one of the best performing members of the Nordic Hedge Index.

The beta exposure to the global healthcare and biotech sectors represented a strong boost to its returns in recent years, but the Stockholm-based fund greatly outperformed peer funds focused on healthcare, funds running long-biased equity strategies, and broader market indices. “These returns are due to a high net exposure paired with good stock selections in biotechnology and medical technology,” argued Grevelius at the beginning of the year. “Our Scientific Advisory Board has also enabled a long-term approach to fund management together with a sharp focus on advances in medical research.”

The “Performance Awards” are supported and presented by Northern Trust.

Performance Award for the Past 60 Months

Mark Shay, Senior Partner at Accendo Capital

Activist investor Accendo Capital has also received several Performance Awards at the Nordic Hedge Award over the years, both for 12-month and 36-month performance. This year, Accendo received the prize for the best-performing Nordic hedge fund over the five years running from 2015 to the end of last year. Accendo, which maintains a focused portfolio of predominantly small- and mid-cap companies from Northern Europe, returned 162 percent between 2015 and 2020.

“To receive the 60-month performance award for this somewhat uncommon investment approach, and in the company of 160+ other managers back in 2015, is humbling and a source of great pride for us,” Elise Auer, Director of Investor Relations at Accendo, comments on the distinction. “Only about half of those managers are still in business today. We are sticking with the same approach that has helped us over the past 12 years and hope to stand on the HedgeNordic podium for many years to come!”

2019 was a particularly strong year for Accendo, its second-best annual performance since launching in early 2008. All six holdings in Accendo’s portfolio contributed to last year’s performance, when the fund returned about 46 percent. “2019 was a strong year for Swedish and Finnish small-caps generally,” Accendo Capital founder Henri Österlund told HedgeNordic at the beginning of the year. “But we can clearly trace the excess returns of our fund to our actions and engagement as owners and board members,” he emphasized.

High concentration can be equally good or bad for fund performance shorter-term but can lead to outperformance over the longer term if targeted improvements are combined with good stock selection.

The “Performance Awards” are supported and presented by Northern Trust.

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About Author

Eugeniu Guzun serves as a data analyst responsible for maintaining and gatekeeping the Nordic Hedge Index (NHX), as well as being a novice columnist covering the Nordic hedge fund industry for HedgeNordic. Prior to joining HedgeNordic, Eugeniu had served as a columnist for a U.S. journal covering insider trading activity, activist campaigns and hedge fund moves. Eugeniu completed his Master’s degree at the Stockholm School of Economics in 2018.

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