Hawksmoor Partners recently had the opportunity to sit down with Greg Winterton, the publisher of AlphaWeek, a new daily news site for investors and other participants in the alternative investments market.
Q1 – Why did you decide to launch Alpha Week and what makes you believe the market needs another hedge funds news title?
I decided to launch AlphaWeek because I believe that there is still an opportunity for a media-style property to collaborate with the industry to help it consume information and data to make the overall conversation more effective. To that end, in these early stages of the product being live, we’re having conversations with different companies in different geographies to ensure that what we are going to produce genuinely helps all participants in the alternative investment industry with the dissemination and consumption of information. With regards to the market needing another hedge funds title, I think that’s more of a question for the market. I think that if AlphaWeek can offer content that is worth someone’s time to consume, there will be a place in the market for it, and that’s what we’re trying to do.
Q2 – What can readers expect from Alpha Week and what do you think will help to define it for contributors and advertisers?
AlphaWeek fundamentally seeks to provide a vehicle for fund managers to tell their story to investors, and therefore for investors to get some colour on the managers from a people perspective and a company culture perspective. Most investors have access to a manager’s performance data, either via a database subscription, or an investment consultant they work with, or even just being on a mailing list, but many funds don’t get the media exposure that they need to help them tell their story. We intend to profile managers each week, and investors can read the profiles free of charge, and track the content we produce on any given manager in their AlphaWeek library.
On the advertising front, AlphaWeek isn’t a play for advertising dollars in the traditional sense. You see Google and Facebook taking more and more share of ad spend, and even some of the media behemoths can’t attract advertisers like they used to. AlphaWeek won’t be publishing multiple stories each day to chase clicks for advertisers. We’ll be creating stories and ecosystems for our commercial partners to help them with their brand awareness and lead generation activities.
Finally, on the contributor side, we’re looking for anything that we think will help managers run their businesses better. As long as the content is relevant and insightful, we’re interested in engaging with firms to that end. The bottom line is this; is what we’re publishing worth a few minutes of someone’s time? Do we deserve to be on their computer screen, on their mobile device or in their inbox? That’s the fundamental driver behind our content strategy.
Q3 – Will Alpha Week be just about hedge funds or will you be covering other asset classes too?
It’ll be hedge funds initially, but we’d like to expand to other alternative asset classes as well; private equity is a natural next move, and private debt is an asset class that’s emerging as a standalone, so that’s something we’re looking at. In the long term, I see AlphaWeek as a funds-based content platform, including mutual funds.
Q – What have you been up to prior to launching AlphaWeek?
I’ve spent much of the last 17 years on the commercial side of financial media. I started my career at SPG Media, but the bulk of my experience is at Thomson Reuters, where I worked in London from 2004 -2006 and in New York from 2006 – 2014. I worked in the alternatives publishing group, which produced content and networking events for private equity, venture capital and hedge funds. I also worked at The Hedge Fund Journal here in London for a year after returning to the UK.
Q – In your view as a publisher, how would you describe the health of the hedge funds industry in 2017, and what could it be doing to promote itself more to both investors and the public more generally?
I think the industry is in good health; the firms which produce data on industry AUM and performance are all reporting increases in both of these metrics. Furthermore, the industry is constantly evolving; it’ll be very interesting to see the extent to which artificial intelligence settles into the different aspects of a fund’s operations in the next couple of years.
With regards to what it could do to promote itself to investors, I think that there is good work being done by the trade associations like AIMA, the Managed Funds Association, Hedge Fund Association and the Standards Board for Alternative Investments to better align the interests of investors and fund managers, and create more transparency and better communication between the two. Additionally, more firms are signing up for the Principles for Responsible Investment; in my view the industry is being more pro-active and collaborative than ever before.
It’s a different situation with the public perception, however. Some hedge funds are making buckets of money for public and private pensions, university endowments and charitable foundations; there are literally millions of people all over the world whose lives are affected positively by positive hedge fund performance. However, the mass media doesn’t mention the good stuff. We as an industry need to engage with the end investor/allocator community to better communicate the pros of hedge funds to the investors’ constituents.
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