Lazard Asset Management (LAM) has launched the Lazard US Fundamental Alternative Fund, a UCITS compliant, a liquid and diversified portfolio primarily focused on US securities, with the flexibility to invest across the whole market cap spectrum.
Utilising bottom-up stock selection, the Fund seeks to take long positions in equities of companies believed to have strong and/ or improving financial productivity and attractive valuations, and short positions in companies with deteriorating fundamentals, unattractive valuations, or other qualities warranting a short position.
The fund will be managed in New York by portfolio managers Dmitri Batsev and Jerry Liu, who leverage a dedicated and highly experienced US equity investment team. The team, which is made up of 23 investment professionals, has an average of 18 years of investment experience and 12 years at LAM.
“In our view it is financial productivity that ultimately drives the valuation of companies,” says Dmitri Batsev, portfolio manager of the Lazard US Fundamental Alternative Fund. “We believe that forward-looking fundamental analysis is key to valuing these opportunities, both when stocks rise and when stocks fall.”
Liu says: “Expanding the US opportunity set to both longs and shorts allows us to create a differentiated portfolio of investments, seeking to provide investors with strong down-market protection, up-market participation, and lower volatility than the overall market.”
The fund is based on the existing Lazard Fundamental Long/Short strategy, which has delivered a +11.2 per cent annualised net return compared to the HFRI Equity Hedge (Total) Index at +5.9 per cent over the last three years. The strategy has generated these returns while realising two-thirds of the volatility of the S&P 500 Index with a 53 per cent correlation and only 8 per cent of the downside.
LAM offers a range of equity, fixed-income, and alternative investment products worldwide. As of 30 September 2015, LAM and affiliated asset management companies in the Lazard Group managed USD183 billion of client assets.