Groupama Asset Managment has "not abandoned" long/short hedge fund strategies although it has shifted towards equity market neutral, said Henri Chabadel, the firm's head of Sigma Fund Management.
Chabadel wants the fund to distance itself from the sectoral investment model, taking a quantitative approach leading to a classical, coherent set of ten positions. Despite not prioritising any sector in particular, it has a heavier weighting towards utilities, telecoms and oil.
The sole sector Chabadel intends to avoid is financials. “This sector has been polluted by heaps of political and economic data, which is not very appealing,” he explains. It was made doubly unattractive due to the shorting ban in place in France from August until recently.
Running the fund effectively means keeping a close eye on the news. “We follow the news closely as it can have a strong influence on the financial and industrial sectors,” Chabadel explains.
The upcoming French presidential election has been dominating the country’s financial news due to Nicolas Sarkozy and the socialist favourite to win, François Hollande, tussling to appear the hardliner against the financial community.
Hollande appears to have gained the upper hand in this battle, having declared war against finance in a widely publicised speech. Yet Chabadel is relaxed about the outcome of the polls. “We already know what Hollande’s agenda will be. It is just part of the electoral machinations.”
Ultimately, he says, the political leaders understand that France is in a tough economic situation. “I am not too concerned by the economic climate in France.”