Key Global Macro Hedge Funds to Follow

Generate Investment Ideas by Following the Best

••• Hero Images / Getty Images.

Taking cues from longstanding hedge funds can help you formulate investment strategies. There are many hedge funds around the world that generate alpha using a number of different strategies, ranging from arbitrage to short selling. Over the past years, global macroeconomic (“global macro”) investing has grown increasingly popular due to the turbulence affecting many parts of the world. Many of these funds must regularly report their largest holdings to the U.S. SEC., which creates an opportunity for investors to piggy-back on the knowledge.

Here is a look at three global macro hedge funds with exemplary histories of performance. International investors can follow their trades by reading SEC filings.

How to Read SEC Filings

The most important SEC filing for international investors to watch when analyzing hedge funds is the Schedule 13F filing, which contains a detailed record of a fund's largest holdings. By comparing these holdings between two time periods, investors can determine what stocks, funds, or other assets were purchased or sold over time.

Many websites such as Whale Wisdom aim to simplify this process by automating the comparison of asset between periods but investors can find the information for free on the SEC's website. Investors can also set up e-mail alerts to be notified when SEC filings from many different companies are made public.

While SC 13F filings must be made on a regular basis, it's important to note that there is a delay between the fund buying an asset and them disclosing the purchase in regulatory filings. Investors should be sure to compare the price paid by the fund at the time of purchase to the current market price to asses whether the anticipated movement has already occurred.

Bridgewater Associates

Bridgewater Associates is a $150 billion global macro hedge fund that invests based on economic trends, such as inflation, exchange rates, and U.S. gross domestic product readings. As early pioneers of currency overlay strategies, absolute return products, and risk parity concepts, the hedge fund was among the fastest growing asset managers in the world between 2000 and 2005.

In 2010, the company was ranked #1 in Institutional Investors’ Worlds Top 100 Hedge Funds list and received the Macro Focused Hedge Fund Firm of the Year award among other things. AR&A also ranks the company #1 in its Hedge Fund Report Card and Billion Dollar Club categories given its consistent outperformance of competitors and innovative strategies that it brings to the market.

Caxton Associates

Caxton Associates is a global macro hedge fund that makes investments based on its analysis of worldwide economic trends. According to a Financial Times interview with CEO Andrew Law, the hedge fund is largely focused on three core principles, including listening to the markets, paying attention to politics, and effectively managing risk in order to improve long-term returns.

While the hedge fund experienced some redemption issues early in its history through 2008, it has since made more than $13 billion for its clients – or 14% annually – with half the volatility of the S&P 500. That makes it a leader among global macro hedge funds and a solid performer among all hedge funds in general. Notably, the company never truly restricted redemptions either.

Soros Fund Management

Soros Fund Management is a hedge fund that was reclassified as a “family office,” which is run by the legendary billionaire George Soros. In addition to breaking the Bank of England back in 1992, netting more than a billion pounds in a single day, he has averaged a 20% annual rate of return over the subsequent four decades, making the fund one of the best performing in the industry.

In general, the fund is focused on investing in public equity and fixed income markets worldwide, as well as foreign exchange, currency, commodities, private equity, and venture capital funds. The company has large investments in transportation, energy, retail, financial, and other industries, which makes the investments worth following moving into the future.

Key Takeaway

International investors can glean a lot of insights by following the investments made by leading global macro hedge funds. In addition to these three funds, investors can take a look at the SEC filings associated with many other funds in order to create lists of “stocks to watch” as an alternative to investing in broader market exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) that may not offer quite as much alpha.