10/10/2012

German Manager Plans Global Marketing Pitch

Volatility-arbitrage specialist Conservative Concept Portfolio Management is embarking on a global marketing campaign for a fund that until now has mainly been offered to investors in Germany.

The firm, which has about $1 billion under management, hired marketer Dean Crowder to pitch its CC Athena OS Fund in North America, Europe and Asia. Crowder, who has an affiliation with Chicago broker-dealer Exchange Financial Access, began reaching out to investors in the past two weeks.

Conservative Concept, which was founded in 1991, mainly caters to institutions in Germany. Indeed, some 80% of the firmís capital is managed on behalf of German pensions and insurance companies.

The CC Athena fund, which launched in 2005, trades options on European and U.S. equity indexes. It has delivered a 7.3% average annual return and has had only one down year ó dropping 3.9% in 2010, compared to a 12.8% gain for the S&P 500 Index. The vehicle, representing Conservative Conceptís only pure-play hedge fund, had some $120 million under management at its peak. But during and after the financial crisis, a number of investors in the fund asked to be moved into a UCITS version of the strategy or to transfer their money into separate accounts ó requests the firm readily complied with. The upshot: The fundís assets have fallen to a mere $10 million.

Co-founder and chief executive Hans Juergen Metzler now wants to rebuild the hedge fund business. Horst Gerstner, who has worked at Conservative Concept since 2001, manages CC Athena with Steffen Kern, who joined the firm in 2008 from LBBW Asset Management.

Baader Bank, a German investment bank, owns a 65.4% stake in Conservative Concept, and provides the firm with administrative and compliance support.

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