Bullish positions in gold and volatility and well-timed short bets on China and emerging markets, among other areas, were some of the trades that benefited hedge funds on Friday as markets digested Britons' surprise decision to exit the European Union, according to people familiar with the matter.
Saba Capital, the credit hedge fund in New York, and a flagship fund at the London investment firm Odey Asset Management were two beneficiaries of the "leave" victory in the U.K. overnight, according to these people. And so-called "macro" fund managers George Soros and Stanley Druckenmiller, who run private firms managing family money through investments in a range of assets, appeared to be benefiting from long positions in gold, according to filings, though their overall performance numbers weren't clear.
Saba, run by the fund manager Boaz Weinstein, was up primarily on positions that benefited from volatility — a combination of holdings that included equity put options in Europe and Asia and credit-default swaps, or insurance policies on debtors unable to pay off their debts, one of these people said.
With nearly 13 percent upside through the end of May, Saba is one of the better performing hedge funds this year, according to an industry poll conducted weekly by HSBC.
At the same time, Odey Asset Management, which runs a variety of funds, was up 15 percent in its flagship fund by the close of European markets on Friday, according to people familiar with the matter. (Nonetheless, with declines of more than 26 percent through mid-June, according to HSBC, in its European fund, Odey has been home to some of the worst performance numbers so far this year.)
Odey, which manages about $10 billion, is headed by Crispin Odey, an outspoken advocate for Britain's exit from the EU who according to sources familiar with the matter commissioned private polls to get an early gauge on the potential outcome of Thursday's referendum vote.