Sunday, 14 December 2008

When in doubt, blame the regulators

Bramdean Asset Management is the fund manager set up by Nicola Horlick. One of its funds - Bramdean Alternatives - had almost 10% of its assets in Madof Investments, the hedge fund/pyramid scheme which "made off" with lots of its investors' money. In fact, Bramdean has disclosed that Madof Investments accounted for 0.15% of its funds under management.

This is quite clearly a massive and embarrassing foul-up for Bramdean, so it is good that an outfit that has piled its clients' money into a pyramid scheme knows who is to blame:
The allegations made appear to point to a systemic failure of the regulatory and securities markets regime in the U.S. ... This apparent failure raises fundamental questions about the regulatory system under which this has happened and no doubt this will be the subject of intense debate as the facts emerge.

This sort of pin the blame on the regulators approach appears to be becoming increasingly common in the financial world.

I would have thought 'ensuring that a major investment is not a pyramid scheme' would be taken as a given by most clients. Notably they do claim that due dilligence was done, but not by them it appears:
The Madoff business has been subject to due diligence by many of the most experienced professionals in the global markets, including our own advisers RMF Investment Management – Nassau branch, which is part of MAN Group.

So, Bramdean is blaming the regulators for failing to spot the wonkiness of a fund they voluntarily put their clients' money in, plus they suggest that they left due dilliegence up to a third party, despite the fact that this represented 10% of their alternatives portfolio. I know I'm just a simple lefty, ignorant of the ways of the City, but what does Bramdean actually do for its management fee if kicking the tires of a fund that accounts for 10% of one of its portfolios isn't part of it?

3 comments:

Charlie Marks said...

Wow, quite a turn around.

Last year "Hurrah for light touch regulation! Keep your distance, regulators!"

This year: "Damn light touch regulation! You regulators should have done something!"

I hear the folks at Bramdean are very attentive. Tea and biscuits. Shame about the investin', mind...

CharlieMcMenamin said...

You may already know about these sorts of criticism, but I thought you'd enjoy this detailed and professional sounding shredding of Horlick

http://brontecapital.blogspot.com/2008/12/robust-and-thorough-due-diligence-is.html

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