Travel, research and personal contacts drive Palladio

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Sarah Clar-Boson, CEO of Geneva-based Palladio Alternative Resarch, explains how selection is done on behalf of clients.

Geneva-based Palladio Alternative Research SA, which advises on more than $1bn of assets, has instituted rigorous checks on the funds offered to clients to meet new demands for transparency and performance.

Set up in 2009 and now headed by CEO and founding partner Sarah Clar-Boson (pictured), Palladio has two other partners: Christophe Reech, CEO and chairman of Reech AiM Group; and Jean-Marc Emden, CEO of Nassau-based Autana Capital, who has been involved in alternative investments since 1992. Managing director ­Katherine Hill joined this February.

The firm’s primary sources of funds are its extensive global hedge fund industry network, proprietary own research and conferences, and a global travel schedule that puts the principals in direct and regular touch with clients.

It is building a reputation as a source of original investment ideas, with an emphasis on small- and ­mid-sized managers, niche strategies and healthcare.

“We provide research, advisory and due diligence on hedge funds and fund of hedge funds,” says Clar-Boson, a former analyst at Optifin SA and UBP Alternative Asset ­Management Group.

“We have an approved list of hedge funds that meet our stringent tests of performance, consistency of strategy, transparency and operational framework. But we don’t advise on just those funds. We also evaluate them for particular clients, or for our Approved List.”

The service includes customised mandates and research on side pockets. The selection process is both quantitative and qualitative, with the latter more important. ­Clar-Boson says:

“Our process is clearly top-down: by selecting the appropriate strategies according to the macro environment, then identifying ­candidates that fit our stringent due diligence criteria, and by ongoing macro, qualitative, quantitative and operational monitoring.”

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