Alan Howard’s Hedge Fund Soars 100% in Virus-Fueled Chaos

Billionaire Alan Howard has doubled his investors’ money in the coronavirus crisis.

The macro trader has returned about 100% this year in the hedge fund that he personally runs, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Most of the gain was in March when the pandemic sent the global markets into a tailspin, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

A spokesman for Jersey-based Brevan Howard Asset Management declined to comment.

Howard’s return marks one of the most profitable money-making phases of his investing career and is the highest achieved by a major macro hedge fund this year. The no-nonsense, fast-talking trader is leading his firm’s dramatic turnaround after years of mediocre returns and an exodus of investors.

Howard’s AH Master Fund was started in 2017 to make riskier bets in order to achieve high returns. It has a handful of external investors, money from the firm’s flagship hedge fund and Howard’s own money. Every detail of the fund is kept top secret by the firm, according to people familiar with the company.

It’s not clear how exactly Howard’s fund achieved its triple-digit returns. The firm’s main hedge fundgained more than 18% in March to record its best-ever month. Returns, parts of which came from allocation to Howard, were driven by interest rate trading across directional, volatility and relative value strategies in a range of different markets, the firm wrote to clients in April.

Boom and Bust

The global pandemic has led to a raft ofbooms and busts in the $3 trillion hedge fund industry, with three in every four losing money in March, according to preliminary data compiled by Bloomberg. Some of the firms led by legendary investors such as Ray Dalio and Michael Hintze suffered their worst-ever losses, while many others used the crisis to churn bumper profits.

Saba Capital Management gained 36% in March, macro trader Said Haidar gained 25%, while famed oil trader Pierre Andurand saw one of his hedge funds surge almost 155%.

It’s not thefirst time Howard has generated eye-catching returns in his money pool. It surged 37% in May 2018, when it managed about $2.3 billion.

Brevan Howard is making a comeback after firm-wide assets dwindled to less than $8 billion at the end of last year, from more than $40 billion in 2013. After pulling money for years, investors have just started to allocate fresh capital again. The firm managed $9.6 billion at the end of April, according to a letter to investors.

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