Rokos and Goldman Sachs hit in bond market upheaval


Billionaire dealer Chris Rokos and Goldman Sachs are amongst big-name buyers which were hit onerous in the market upheaval following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Bond costs rocketed in extremely risky buying and selling at the beginning of this week, when SVB’s demise sparked a flight to security and led buyers to query how a lot additional the US Federal Reserve can carry rates of interest. That caught many merchants off guard, and collided instantly with hedge fund methods that had profited handsomely in 2022 from betting on additional aggressive financial tightening.

The ache has affected a clutch of the best-known speculative buyers in the market.

London-based Rokos, which manages round $15.5bn, is down round 12.5 per cent this month, mentioned individuals who had seen the numbers.

At Goldman, a buying and selling desk that handles interest-rate merchandise misplaced round $200mn, in line with folks acquainted with the matter. Goldman declined to remark.

Chris Rokos: down round 12.5% this month

BlueCrest Capital, bond dealer Mike Platt’s funding agency, which made 153 per cent final 12 months thanks in half to bets on rising rates of interest, has additionally misplaced money, say folks acquainted with the agency. It is down round 7 per cent this 12 months.

And Andrew Law’s Caxton Macro fund misplaced round 3 per cent this month.

“What’s hurt a lot of people in macro [bets on global bonds and currency moves] is that everyone was positioned for rates rising,” mentioned one insider in the hedge fund trade. But on Monday, the market moved violently the opposite means. With costs hovering, the yield on the two-year Treasury word fell at its quickest tempo since 1987. Some funds raced to unwind their positions, additional fuelling the bond rally.

The “erratic prices action” led to “many investors triggering stop losses on short positions”, mentioned Mark Dowding, chief funding officer at RBC BlueBay.

Macro hedge funds misplaced 2.15 per cent on common on Monday alone, in line with knowledge group HFR, the largest day by day loss for the reason that market turbulence of late 2018. A daily social gathering of hedge fund managers and different buyers in London on Thursday night time had a “sombre”, wake-like tone, folks acquainted with the matter mentioned, in distinction to a victorious environment after spectacular returns in 2022.

Rokos hit the headlines in late 2021 when he was wrongfooted by an enormous sell-off in short-term authorities debt, as buyers panicked that rates of interest must rise quicker than central banks had initially indicated. His fund completed the 12 months down round 26.6 per cent, its worst 12 months since launch in 2015.

He subsequently decreased considerably the market danger he was taking in the fund to attempt to keep away from a repeat of the losses. Last 12 months he made greater than 50 per cent, his fund’s finest 12 months.

Many computer-driven funds, which latch on to market tendencies and which had lengthy been betting that the massive rally Treasury yields would proceed, additionally misplaced money.

The Schroder Gaia Bluetrend fund, run by Leda Braga’s Systematica, fell by 10 per cent this month to the tip of buying and selling on Monday, in line with numbers despatched to buyers, taking losses this 12 months to about 11.5 per cent.

Among different computer-driven funds dropping money, Man Group, one of many world’s greatest hedge fund companies, misplaced 10.6 per cent in its $5.4bn Evolution fund this month and 7.1 per cent in its $5.9bn Dimension fund.

And Rotterdam-based Transtrend, which manages $5.6bn, misplaced 9.6 per cent on Monday.

Just over half its losses got here from bond bets, though losses have been inside its danger tolerances, mentioned a spokesman, and the fund has caught with its quick positions in US bonds.

Such quant funds are down on common by round 6 per cent this month, in line with a Société Générale index of those portfolios.

However, just a few hedge funds have been capable of revenue in the course of the market turmoil, notably these betting in opposition to financial institution shares.

Barry Norris, chief funding officer at Argonaut Capital, profited by shorting SVB and has additionally been betting in opposition to Credit Suisse for a number of weeks, serving to his fund to realize 4.5 per cent this month.

The Swiss financial institution’s shares, which are actually down by greater than one-third this 12 months, fell sharply after the chair of Saudi National Bank dominated out additional funding. On Friday the shares fell additional, regardless of the pledge of liquidity assist from the Swiss National Bank.

Short curiosity in Credit Suisse was operating at simply 3.2 per cent of its shares excellent at the beginning of the week, in line with S&P Global Market Intelligence. But quick positions have shot as much as 8.2 per cent as of Thursday, as issues have grown in regards to the lender.

“The problem with Credit Suisse is that it was already suffering from deposit flight,” mentioned Norris. “If you can’t stop the deposit flight then the only way out is to be taken over by a bigger bank.”

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