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Managed Futures for Institutional Investors: Analysis and Portfolio Construction

Managed Futures for Institutional Investors: Analysis and Portfolio Construction

Galen Burghardt, Brian Walls

ISBN: 978-1-576-60374-1

May 2011

351 pages

In Stock



A practical guide to institutional investing success

Managed Futures for Institutional Investors is an essential guide that walks you through the important questions that need to be addressed before investing in this asset class and contains helpful direction for investors during the investing process.

Backed by years of institutional experience, the authors reveal the opportunities offered by managed futures. They also include information on practices in the managed futures area and present the various analytical tools and building blocks required to use managed futures effectively. The book also contains insight on the issues that must be addressed when building and evaluating portfolios.

  • Shows where to find data to evaluate managed futures and explains how managed futures are regulated
  • Offers guidance on how to apply classic portfolio construction tools to managed futures
  • Reveals how managed futures investments can help investors evaluate and meet risk, return, and liquidity objectives

Managed Futures for Institutional Investors provides all the practical information to manage this type of investment well.


Introduction: Why Invest in CTAs?

What Kind of Hedge Fund is a CTA?

Why Do CTAs Make Money?

How Much Should You Invest?

What About the Risks?

They're a Good Fit for Institutional Investors.

How the Book is Structured.

Part I: A Practical Guide to the Industry.

Chapter 1 Understanding Returns.

Risk and Cash Management.

Trading, Funding, and Notional Levels.

The Stability of Return Volatilities.

Basic Futures Mechanics.

A Typical Futures Portfolio.

Chapter 2 Where Are the Data?

The CTA Universe and Your Range of Choices.

The Fluid Composition of a Database.

How Backfilled Data Can Mislead.

Trading Programs and Lengths of Track Records.

Returns Net of Fees and Share Classes.

Sources of Data for Indexes of CTA Performance.

Chapter 3 Structuring Your Investment: Frequently Asked Questions.

How Many Managers Should You Choose?

What are CTA Funds?

What are Multi-CTA Funds?

What are Managed Accounts?

What are Platforms?

How Do You Compare and Contrast These Offerings?

Who Regulates CTAs?

How are Structured Notes and Total Return Swaps Used by CTA Investors?

What Are the Account Opening Procedures for a Managed Account?

What is the Minimum Investment in a CTA?

What Does It Mean When a Manager is Closed?

What Are the Subscription Procedures for a Fund?


Part II: Building Blocks.

Chapter 4 How Trend Following Works.

The Two Basic Strategies.

Making the Systems Work in Practice.

Transactions Costs.

Other Considerations.

Case Study: Two Models from 1994–2003.

Rates of Return and Leverage.

Commodities and Capacity Constraints.

Market Environment and Give Backs.

Chapter 5 Two Benchmarks for Momentum Trading.

Data and the Trend Following Sub-Index.

Trend Following Models.

Laying the Groundwork for Analyzing Returns to Trend Following.

Constructing a Portfolio.

Simplifying Assumptions.

How Did the Models Do?

The Newedge Trend Indicator.

Next Steps.

Chapter 6 The Value of Daily Return Data.

How Good Are Daily Data?

Estimating Return Volatility.

Distributions of Estimated Volatility.

Beware a False Sense of Confidence.

What if Underlying Returns are Highly Skewed?

Effect on Drawdown Distributions.

Chapter 7 Every Drought Ends in a Rainstorm: Mean Reversion, Momentum, or Serial Independence?

The Costs of Being Wrong about Timing Investments Can Be Substantial.

The Data.

The Test Tally.

Test for Serial Dependence: Autocorrelation.

Test for Serial Dependence: Runs.

Conditional Return Distributions.


Chapter 8 Understanding Drawdowns.

Drawdown Defined.

What Should They Look Like?

What Forces Shape the Distributions?

The Distribution of all Drawdowns.

The Distribution of Maximum Drawdowns.

The Core Drawdown Function.

Empirical Drawdown Distributions.

Reconciling Theoretical and Empirical Distributions.

Putting a Manager’s Experience in Perspective.

What about Future Drawdowns?

Further Questions.

Chapter 9 How Stock Price Volatility Affects Returns.

A Look at Historical Returns.

Stock Price Volatility and Returns on the S&P 500.

S&P 500 Volatility Dominates Market Volatility.

CTA Returns, Correlations, and Volatility.


Chapter 10 The Costs of Active Management.

Forgone Loss Carry Forward.

Liquidation and Reinvestment.

Other Costs.


Chapter 11 Measuring Market Impact and Liquidity.

A Very Fat Data Set.

A Representative Market Maker.

Fitting the Curve to the Data.

Hidden Liquidity.

Estimating the Risk Aversion Parameter.

Volume, Volatility, and Market Impact Profiles.

Where Do We Go from Here?


Part III: Portfolio Construction.

Chapter 12 Superstars versus Teamwork.

The Contribution of Low Correlation to Portfolio Performance.

How Reliable Are Correlation Estimates?

The Contest.

Dropping and Adding Managers.

The Value of Incremental Knowledge about Return Distributions.

The Costs of Dropping and Adding Managers.

Chapter 13 A New Look at Constructing Teamwork Portfolios.

Why Look Back?

A Fresh Look at the Original Research.

Two New Approaches.

Comparing the Four Approaches.

Reviewing the Results.

Chapter 14 Correlations and Holding Periods:  The Research Basis for the Newedge AlternativeEdge® Short-Term Traders Index.

Review of Previous Research.

Index Methodology and Construction

How Low are the Correlations?

Why Are the Correlations Low?

Holding Period and Return Correlation

Why Are There Not More Short-term Traders?

Replicating the Index.

Cautions and Managing the index.



Chapter 15 “There Are Known Unknowns”:  The Drag of Imperfect Estimates.

Improving Risk Adjusted Returns.

Throwing Out the Losers.

Due Diligence and Evaluation.


About the Authors.