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March 29, 2017  

Weiss Expands Product Line, Strategy Count

Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers is tweaking its strategy mix once again.

The New York firm, with about $1.4 billion under management, recently recruited a quantitative global-macro specialist to augment the strategies covered by its flagship Weiss Multi-Strategy Partners fund. Joining this month is portfolio manager Kaska Dratewska, who previously worked at Caxton Associates.

At the same time, Weiss has carved out two new strategies from existing portfolios: information science, a “spin-out” from the technology book; and “financial factors,” which had been part of the financials team. Those moves follow two earlier strategy spin-outs from the interest-rate team: global derivatives and asset volatility.

The additions bring the total number of strategies managed by Weiss to 22, up from 16 a year ago. Typically, Weiss allows new portfolio teams to run proprietary capital for some time before attaching them to the multi-strategy fund.

In a March 22 note to investors, the firm also unveiled two new funds it plans to launch later this year: a high-yield bond vehicle dubbed Weiss Credit Opportunities Fund and Weiss Alpha Balanced Risk Fund IDF, an insurance-dedicated version of an existing fund.

The credit opportunities fund will be run by Clinton Matter, a high-yield bond trader who has been running money for Weiss Multi-Strategy Partners since 2015, having previously served as co-head of credit opportunities at RBC Capital.

Since the financial crisis, Weiss repeatedly has adjusted its mix of products and strategies. Last year, for example, chief investment officer Jordi Visser staked a quantitative-investment team with a small amount of proprietary capital, with the idea of eventually offering investors exposure to the strategy.

Following two years of flat returns, the flagship fund gained 9.6% last year.

The March 22 investor letter also said Weiss Multi-Strategy Partners was cutting its performance fee to 20%, from 25%, effective Jan. 1, 2017. The management fee remains at 2%.

The firm, founded by George Weiss, has existed in one form or another since the 1970s. Initially a brokerage, Weiss Associates morphed into a hedge fund manager in 1986. It then converted to a proprietary-trading operation for a number of years before re-emerging as a multi-strategy fund shop in 2005.