Kuvari’s $1.5 Billion Hedge Fund Surges 26%, Closes to New Money

Kuvari Partners’ hedge fund gained 26.3% in 2020, defying a mediocre year among European peers that bet on rising and falling shares amid the pandemic.

The surge in returns and an influx of investor cash lifted the London-based Focus Fund run by Vikram Kumar to $1.5 billion, a company spokesman said. The fund’s performance compares with a 3.9% gain through November for European long-short equity hedge funds overall, according to the latest data compiled by Eurekahedge.

Kuvari has closed the Focus Fund to new money, the spokesman said. The firm also started a new fund Monday with more than $100 million that will wager on rising shares.

Human stock-pickers put up some of their best performance numbers in a decade last year, with some of the industry’s biggest names such as Tiger Global Management, Coatue and D1 Capital Partners posting returns in excess of 35%. By contrast, the coronavirus-fueled volatility humbled many quant funds, whose trading models were thrown off by swings their computers had never seen before.

Kumar, founder and chief investment officer at Kuvari, has a track record of identifying companies set to fall in value. The Focus Fund made money last year with short bets on companies including Network International Holdings Plc, which nearly halved in value, according to the spokesman. It also benefited from a surge in tech shares and online food services provider HelloFresh SE.

The stock-picker has tripled the Focus Fund’s assets since spinning it off from TT International in 2017. The Cambridge University alumnus, whose family emigrated from East Africa to the U.K. in the 1960s, made 15.3% in 2019 and 10.5% the year before, according to an investor letter seen by Bloomberg.

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