AXA Investment Managers
AXA has brought several trend-setting deals to the market this year, such as the first managed and capital-protected credit-default swap portfolio, structured with ABN AMRO. It has also expanded on the types of assets it manages, offering several property-linked funds this year, for example. AXA is also making headway bringing derivative-based investment products to the U.S.
BlueMountain Capital Management
The New York-based fund manager, which launched in November 2003, has USD2.7 billion in a range of credit funds, and has impressed the Street with what it has achieved in this short time. The group was able to launch two structured credit funds this year, in spite of tranche pricing dislocations in April and May which saw other funds register substantial losses.
The London-based asset manager with USD14 billion under management is known for structuring and managing credit-linked products. This year it has kept ahead of the curve with--among other things--a delta-neutral CPPI deal, structured with Credit Suisse First Boston. One structurer described Cairn as, "The most sophisticated counterparty; second to none."
Cheyne Capital Management
Cheyne is another London-based asset manager with credit derivatives expertise. The fund manager, which was founded by Jonathan Lourie and Stuart Fiertz and has USD26.7 billion under management, is heralded for its CDO management skills. Its recent capital-protected deal structured with JPMorgan using synthetic portfolio insurance also caught the eye of investors.
Fortis Investment Management
Fortis was recommended by dealers and investors alike for its breadth of coverage. It is a key player in the European investment products market, bringing to market significant volumes of both equity- and credit-linked offerings this year. Fortis, aside from the large scale of its operation, also stands out for its willingness to embrace new products, said dealers.