TORONTO (HedgeWorld.com)–After seeing its assets mushroom to C$300 million since the beginning of the year, Canadian hedge fund distributor iPerform is gearing up for its next spurt of growth with the recent hires of three mutual fund industry veterans–Pierre Novak, Dan Gosselin and Paul Perrow.
Mr. Novak, previously with Trimark and Zenith Alternative Investments, was appointed vice president of marketing and sales for iPerform. Mr. Gosselin, formerly of Wood Gundy CIBC World markets and Midland Walwyn Merrill Lynch, joined as managing director of capital markets and corporate finance. Mr. Perrow, who previously held senior posts at C.I. Funds and Merrill Lynch Investment Managers Canada, was named to the newly created position as director of business development for iPerform.
The pioneering Toronto-based hedge fund distributor has seen dramatic growth by tapping a growing interest in hedge funds among Canada’s mass affluent and retail markets. In a short time, the firm’s staff has grown from about 9 people to 36 professionals, including a sales team of about 18 marketers.
“We’re really just executing on the same business plan we had in place when we started this all 20 months ago. Things are going very well. Sentiment toward hedge funds has been growing slowly but steadily positive in Canada. We think there is more growth ahead, and we expect to announce a deal with a large international hedge fund group in the near future with us acting as distributor,” said Toreigh Stuart, president and chief executive.
In its short history, iPerform has put together six pools of capital from Canadian investors that it targeted at international long/short managers. The largest chunk of assets, C$200 million, was raised for the iPerform Strategic Partners Hedge Fund, a structured fund of funds that closed in May.
The iPerform fund of funds deal highlighted a glaring difference between the evolving Canadian hedge fund market and its U.S. peers, where investors must be qualified institutional investors or accredited high-net-worth investors. With lower regulatory thresholds, iPerform was able to raise capital for its fund in blocks of C$20,000 to C$40,000 from individual investors.
With an average allocation of C$30,000, 12,000 affluent Canadians put money with iPerform’s long/short-focused fund of funds. The largest number of investors came from Ontario’s denser population centers, with about half as many coming from Alberta. In fact, investors in the fund came from nearly every region save Canada’s maritime provinces, where iPerform didn’t bother registering for approval.
“We charged fees of 2.5% (management) and 20% (incentive) which is quite in line with the industry norms in the U.S. and reasonable considering the number of accounts and their size. We didn’t have a $1 million minimum on this,” Mr. Stuart said.
With a growing sales team and a network of alliances that covers some 20,000 advisers across Canada, iPerform sees more opportunity ahead. “Our plan is to do maybe three funds (or structured products) a year,” Mr. Stuart said. “What we’ve done is really put in place something with extensive distribution capabilities.”