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Ramius Releases White Paper: Allocating To Managed Futures: Performance Considerations Within The Risk Parity Framework

Stocks in this article: COWN

Ramius LLC (“Ramius”), the global alternative investment management business of Cowen Group, Inc. (“Cowen”) (NASDAQ: COWN), today provided a review of recent managed futures performance, the nature of certain market phenomena impacting trend following strategies, and the role these strategies have within the asset allocation framework. The review was co-authored by Ramius Trading Strategies (RTS) Chief Executive Officer, William (“Bill”) Marr and Director of Investment Research, Alexander Rudin, PhD.

Bill Marr said, “One of the biggest challenges the investment management community faces today is how to allocate capital without having to explicitly predict which assets will outperform others over a given time period. This Ramius white paper illustrates a way to address this issue using the approach known as Risk Parity Based Asset Allocation. Risk parity funds seek to allocate capital primarily focusing on estimated risks of available investment opportunities rather than expected returns. At Ramius, we believe this philosophy allows investors to broaden their investment options, while at the same time maintaining a structurally sound, diversified portfolio.”

The paper revolves around two essential questions:

I. What percentage of the investment portfolio should a given investor allocate to Managed Futures, if any?

II. Do Managed Futures still present a differentiated and valid investment opportunity despite back to back years of disappointing performance?

With regard to the first question, the paper explores a disciplined portfolio construction methodology using a risk parity framework. Emphasizing non-correlation, risk reduction, and monthly rebalancing, the authors examine the efficiency of various portfolios using stocks-bonds-managed futures over the past 15 years.

The paper also discusses the recent performance of managed futures and highlights three main factors negatively impacting the strategy over the recent market cycle. Examined from a historical and macro perspective, the authors argue that these factors are likely temporary and that a consistent allocation to managed futures will likely enhance investor portfolios going forward.

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