AltsAxis Vegas Observations
May 25, 2022
By David Goldstein
Recent market volatility and what that means for alternative investment managers has been a hot topic of conversation at industry events.
During the week of May 9, 2022, approximately 100 hedge fund, private equity and venture capital fund managers, 70 allocators and 20 industry service providers gathered in Las Vegas for the inaugural VegasAxis conference put on by AltsAxis, a manager/investor matchmaking firm.
Topics discussed included:
Attendees at AltsAxis concurred that volatility is a benefit to many managers who have had difficulty producing returns for their clients and have outpaced an equity market that has been moving in a nearly straight-up line for the past few years. Although no one wants to see a straight down market, the recent swings in the markets have proven positive for managers on the right side of their long/short bets.
Naturally, any discussion about the markets is followed by the question, “Why the swings and what could cause them to settle down?” Inflation, the Ukrainian conflict, Federal Reserve moves and continuing supply chain issues were all cited as major factors. While these are certainly not groundbreaking observations, varying opinions on what will happen next certainly made participants pay attention.
Conversations around the COVID-19 pandemic continued. There were multiple people/firms that had to back out of the conference or send substitute participants due to exposure to the virus, or due to having a current infection. Attendees concurred that this now feels more like an expected norm and slight inconvenience rather than a big disruption in business. Are we now learning to live with the virus rather than trying to avoid it or outrun it? Time will tell.
Retention and recruitment of talent continues to be in the front of many people’s minds. Just about everyone agreed that the cost of retaining talent is increasing and the ability to offer more in terms of quality of work/life balance is a major factor in attracting new employees.
Finally, no alternative investment conference would be complete without discussion around cryptocurrency and blockchain. As most people are aware, Bitcoin is currently trading at more than 60% off its all-time high and most of the other well-known crypto names have suffered the same fate. Regardless, new funds with a cryptocurrency focus continue to pile into the market and the traditional alternatives space continues to attract talent at both the fund and service provider level.