With just about every hedge fund and its dog preparing to relaunch absolute return funds under a Ucits compliant structure to capture new sources of capital, the role of marketers and distribution specialists within the firms has seldom been more prominent. And demand for their services has taken off.
"Demand for marketers is definitely increasing at a fast pace," says Sasha Jensen, head of alternative fund distribution at Kinsey Allen. "Hedge funds have woken up to the fact that they urgently need to step up their distribution efforts for 2010, they need to retain cash as well pitch for the new money that is expected come into the market over the following two quarters."
Gaining the Ucits seal of approval allows hedge funds to distribute their funds across Europe and to a broader range of potential clients. Firms to create these onshore, regulated funds include Blacksquare, Brevan Howard, Dalton, GLG Partners, Marshall Wace and Veritas.
The latest recruitment insight by headhunters Heidrick & Struggles suggests the demand for hedge fund marketing talent is on the increase that the roles include everything from: "Seeding deals, to strategic fund raising, and associated new structures to tap into new assets and allocations."
That's not to say that the proliferation of Ucits funds is the only reason for hedge fund marketers' enhanced status.
"Any marketer who knows and understands how and where to market a Ucits compliant fund will be a value add for a hedge fund," says Jensen. "However, this knowledge and skill-set can never be superseded by an excellent rolodex and provable track record of retaining and raising assets in 2008 and 2009."
Such expertise is likely to be hot throughout 2010 - in a poll of 30 alternative asset managers by KdK Asset Management, 80% said they intended to launch a Ucits fund in the next year. Returns offered by these structures are lower, but they address investor concerns about transparency in the hedge fund sector.
"The move is mainly motivated by the ambition to gather more assets from sources that are not or no longer accessible through offshore funds or managed accounts," said KdK.