Hedge funds outperform at Hong Kong "fight night"

Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:41am EDT
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By Parvathy Ullatil

HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - It was the kind of opportunity loss-stricken investors probably wished for in the worst months of the financial crisis: getting a bunch of hedge fund managers in a boxing ring and pummeling them.

But the mood at the hedge fund "fight night," held in Hong Kong late on Thursday, was exuberant, as managers and executives slugged it out, raising for charity nearly HK$700,000 ($90,300) from auctions.

Asian hedge funds have returned close to 22 percent year to September, outperforming their U.S. and European counterparts, a year after the Lehman Brothers' collapse rocked the industry.

Most of the tables were booked by banks and other financial institutions seeking to win favor with the industry. Six matches were held in total, with six winners crowned at the end of the night.

Hedge funds 3A scored big with their competitor, John "Headcount Reduction" Crane, who at 49 was the oldest to jump into the ring. Crane beat out his much younger rival, Link-ICAP's Justin "Carve 'em Up" Jones on the judge's decision.

"I really had to work on resisting the urge to kick my opponent," said Crane, a long-time practitioner of Thai kickboxing.

The 12 contenders, whom the host for the evening said had never donned a pair of boxing gloves before they signed up for the fight night, began training in July.

Training intensified in the final weeks and most of the night's boxers seemed relieved to break free off its rigors.

"No regrets at all. Nothing was broken and no lasting pain," said 46-year old Benoit "La Tornade" Descourtieux who manages the Calypso Asia Fund.

Descourtieux was gracious about his loss to Nomura's Jesse Kavanagh who recently underwent heart surgery.

<p>Chris 'Fingers' Aukland from Michael Page bleeds during a boxing match against George 'The Assassin' Sobek from UBS at the Hedge Fund Fight Nite in Hong Kong October 29, 2009. Twelve financiers participated in six charity fights on Thursday, watched by 800 of their peers from the corporate and finance world of Hong Kong. REUTERS/Bobby Yip</p>