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Hedge fund marketers find new ways to connect in the age of COVID-19

As third-party marketing teams and capital introduction executives are rethinking how they work, it isn’t simply a move to a home office and emailing potential hedge fund investors from the comfort of their living room.

Virtual capital introduction events and webinars have been announced and held in the U.S. in recent weeks, and have rewritten how networking is done across the hedge fund industry as in-person, high-profile conferences have been cancelled.

While Anthony Scaramucci weeks ago said SkyBridge’s SALT Conference was still happening, the firm yesterday announced the cancellation of the 2020 Las Vegas conference due to COVID-19. The 11th annual SALT conference was due to take place on May 19 through 21 and was a highlight on many investor and managers travel calendars drawing roughly 2,000 attendees.

Officials said the event will not be re-scheduled for later this year, but SALT Middle East in December will be held and SALT 2021 in the U.S. will resume. Last year was the firm’s first Middle East conference in Abu Dhabi.

“The well-being of the SALT community is our first priority, and after consulting with numerous experts, we determined cancellation is the best course of action,” officials announced. Those who already purchased tickets are said to receive full refunds.

The SALT team said they plan on producing an increasing volume of value-added digital content related to investments, technology and geopolitics. Officials added that a proprietary technology platform is in development to deepen connections between members of the community that will be rolled out later this year.

Third party marketing firm Agecroft Partners also announced that it has canceled its annual Gaining the Edge event in Chicago that brings investors and managers together to discuss strategic thinking regarding the industry and trends.

The inaugural Chicago hedge fund conference in 2019 was a huge success in selling out several weeks in advance, and so Agecroft said it still plans on returning to Chicago in 2021. The New York version of the Gaining the Edge program will return in November 2020 as planned. That event has sold out over the last five years running with more than 650 attendees.

Agecroft’s Don Steinbrugge said that it will be hosting some of the panels virtually via its Gaining the Edge – Educational Hedge Fund Webinar Series.

“We expect to see a major rotation of assets due to changes in strategy preferences, large dispersions of performance among managers with similar styles, and an increase in fund closures,” wrote Steinbrugge. “As investors look to reposition and realign their portfolios during this rapidly changing investment environment, they will seek information on various strategies and current and prospective managers.”

In order to keep in contact with potential hedge fund investors, Agecroft plans on replacing its road trips with hedge fund clients with video conferencing technology including Zoom, Webex, LogMeIn, JoinMe and GoToMeeting. The firm has chosen to primarily use Zoom, which will allow Agecroft’s hedge fund clients to meet investors virtually face-to-face and to screen share presentations in real time while they are at work or in their home office.

Steinbrugge added that investors can choose to share their video or simply dial in to watch and/or listen.

The marketing shop will also be hosting invite-only, password protected webinars for hedge fund managers to update groups of investors they have pre-existing relationships with on how they are navigating these volatile markets. Webinars allow for multiple presenters and allow for recorded webinars to be played back later.

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