Hall Resigns as Duet Commodities Fund Manager After Losses

Tony Hall, chief investment officer at Duet Commodities Fund Ltd., and portfolio manager Arno Pilz resigned after losing money in nine of the past 10 months.

The fund remains open and the portfolio managers are in the process of being replaced, Henry Gabay, co-chairman and co-founder of Duet Asset Management Ltd., said today in a telephone interview from London. Hall and Pilz are still managing the fund while Duet seeks replacements, he said. Hall declined to comment when reached by phone today.

The Duet Commodities Fund lost 11 percent since August 2011 and 6.4 percent this year through June, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Newedge Commodities Trading Index of hedge funds invested in raw materials lost 1.8 percent this year after gaining 1.1 percent in June.

“Market conditions have been especially tough for this type of manager,” said Gabriel Garcin, a portfolio manager at Europanel Research and Alternative Asset Management, a $550 million fund of hedge funds. “On the one hand you have pretty strong buy signals particularly in the energy markets due to political risks, and on the other you have a global economic slowdown pushing down prices.”

BlueGold Capital Management LLP, the $1 billion energy hedge fund co-founded by Pierre Andurand, liquidated in April after losing 34 percent in 2011. Fortress Investment Group LLC said in May it would shut a $500 million commodities fund after it lost almost 13 percent in the past four months. Billionaire trader John Arnold told investors on May 2 he would close his Centaurus Energy Fund.

Commodity Swings

The Standard & Poor’s GSCI Index of 24 raw materials rose as much as 12 percent this year before slumping 13 percent in May and rebounding 0.5 percent in June. The measure is down 2.7 percent since Dec. 30.

Brent crude, the benchmark for more than half the world’s oil, has slid 3.8 percent in 2012 after reaching an almost four-year high of $128.40 per barrel on March 1. U.S. natural gas has gained 44 percent since falling to a 10-year low of $2.175 per million British thermal units on April 20.

The Duet fund trades commodities from oil to metals after starting in July 2010. It gained 26 percent in 2011.

Hall joined Duet to start the commodity fund after two years as global head of distillates oil trading at the Credit Suisse-Glencore alliance, which was dissolved in January 2011. Before that he was global head of middle distillate oil trade at Deutsche Bank AG between 2006 and 2008.

Pilz, who traded metals for UBS AG and Apollo Management LP’s metals fund, heads Duet’s metals trading. The fund managed as much as $350 million in March.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE