Quant. Shop Offers Heady Long/Short Hedge Fund

Dec 17 2008 | 1:56am ET

Santa Monica, Calif-based MarketPsy has launched a quantitative hedge fund that incorporates psychology into its trading strategy. So far, the firm’s Long-Short Fund has outperformed its discretionary counterparts, returning 6.03% since inception in September.

MarketPsy’s fund, which focuses on U.S. mid- to large-cap names, profits from what it calls psychology-driven movements in equities prices.

“Our investment strategy is based on the fact that innate psychological biases distort investors’ perceptions of stock value,” said Richard Peterson, managing director. “We find misvalued stocks by examining investors’ and executives’ language in SEC filings, executive conference calls and stock message boards. We have performed extensive software development, trade back testing, and portfolio simulation. Our long-short strategy is based on our discoveries of the psychological factors that predict stock price movement.”

In September, Peterson said the fund’s performance lagged because investors were not emotionally overreacting to the crises surrounding Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, and the credit freeze. The fund lost 6.7% that month.

However, the firm says investors began to overreact to news reports and media the following month, resulting in a 9% gain. In November, the firm’s short positions in solar stocks performed well after the U.S. presidential election, consistent with the classic “buy on the rumor and sell on the news” price pattern, said Peterson.

“We also performed well in November due to strategic long positions in financial stocks during the bailout of Citigroup.”
The fund charges a 1% management fee and a 10% performance fee with a $100,000 minimum investment requirement. It has a one-year lockup period.

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