From the Publisher
HFI is fortunate to bring you an exclusive to start 2019. The New Year begins with a revealing Q&A with hedge fund genius Simon Henriksen, CIO and CEO of London-based spin-out Henriksen Asset Management (aka HAM). Whilst every effort has been made to ensure a high level of accuracy in the following, please be aware that some massive blunders may have crept into the published content. Any errors are the legal responsibility of the transcription service Any-Old-Way (.com).
Quick Q&A With Simon Henriksen, Hedge Fund CIO and CEO
Investment style: “We use quantitative tools to give a risk-controlled framework for alpha identification across the markets. We aim to be best in class, and we leave it to investors to decide which class that is. We are not “Labels People” and don’t like to limit ourselves. We only have investors on board who are smart enough to go along with that mindset. We acknowledge that our investors can be as creative and insightful as we are and are our partners in making money (for us).”
Office space: “I like to summarise it as traditional with a modern twist. Though I have heard it described as twisted fuddy-duddy by a former investor. We have modern art in our meeting rooms which I selected myself with help from a Jopling-person. We have etched glass walls throughout our office space with profiles of my face on each panel to give it some personality. I don’t agree with the due diligence staff that came in and said there was too much personality.”
Biggest lesson learned: “I am humble every day I go into work, and markets give you that lesson again if you forget it. My biggest learning from markets was unusual – it was from getting something exactly right. I had been tracking copper for some time and identified a great set-up. I found the ideal mechanism to express my view, and we got a multi-bagger return from using a pre-identified catalyst. So I learned I had to back my view always and in every circumstance.”
Last cultural event: “I am on the board of National Treasures, and I’m there for my support of artisan artefacts rather than the proceeds of my day job, though I am a significant donor. So aside from attending the event they last sponsored, my last cultural event was “The Lehman Trilogy”. It is so good to switch off completely from markets and explore another world, and theatre does that for me.”
Role model or mentor: “I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the greats early in my career. But the guy who has influenced me most as an investor and entrepreneurial businessman has to be Jason Wolf of Wolf Capital. I learned hedging from him and he showed me how to name your firm. He had very humble beginnings and bootstrapped his way to a multi-billion dollar business before the indictment. After he gave me $450m of his, office space and all his investor contacts, I learned how hard it was to start a business from nothing.”
Business management style: “I like to be comfortable at work. That means an Eames chair, yoga before breakfast, but also employing some trusted lieutenants in the business. Take my cousin Joe, who heads research – he does such a great job and really informs my decision-making. My brother Mike had several jobs in bar work so makes the ideal COO for generating a fun work environment. And my sister Amy was the best office manager I could find when I scanned my business network on my phone. We have a safe, open environment here at the firm. Investors like transparency and I am very transparent in how I run my business. All costs are charged to the Master Fund and everyone knows that who does enough work in due diligence.”
Marketing approach: “We like to be on top of all the tools available in the modern world. We send out pdfs and have used Powerpoint slidepacks from the beginning. We have a website with all the contact information a potential investor could need. We make sure we have the latest version of Excel to track our investors, and our investor relations team can boast of five interns and a part-time recent graduate in Ancient History with Archaeology. I’d venture that we have a bigger staff than most to look after our investors for a fund of our size!
Mentions, Twitter, Instagram, PR specialists, Facebook, Allocator, AltX, Murano, DarcMatter, CRMs, 3PMs – we have had presentations from all of them. We know all about content-driven marketing here, it’s just that we choose not to use it. Did I say that we have a page on LinkedIn that LinkedIn kindly generated automatically for us?”
Favourite reading: “There is no one book. I love Sun Zsu “The Art of War” and I get a lot out of Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, but the book I go back to time and again is “Interior Design Using Only One Colour” by Katerina Ropey. It is inspirational in so many ways beyond soft furnishings – it is a meta-text of real substance, and operates on many levels.”
Down-time interests: “I like tunnelling under adjacent properties from my basement in Chelsea. I am competitive so I am trying to get my network of tunnels to go slightly further than my neigbours’. But it is not really about the yardage.”
Simon Henriksen is not available for further interviews or even a chat by text with the questions agreed in advance. Please respect his privacy and his genius.