Hedge funds are betting that a tumble in shares of UK asset management companies including Abrdn and Ashmore will accelerate as a brutal bear market dents their investment performance and ability to attract new business. Ken Griffin’s Citadel, Steve Cohen’s Point72 and Marshall Wace are among those running bets on lower share prices for listed so-called long-only firms, whose bias towards rising asset prices puts them at more acute risk from the tumult so far in 2022 in equities and bond markets. Investment house Abrdn, emerging markets fund group Ashmore and investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown are among listed firms where hedge funds have increased their negative bets this year.
The trillion-dollar retail investment express is losing steam, dampening the fortunes of British trading platforms that boomed during lockdowns on the back of a meme stocks frenzy. Many stock-pickers are steering clear of a turbulent market as living costs rise and the economy teeters, squeezing the business of consumer investment platforms that are facing falling fees and thinning margins. Even the biggest fish, such as FTSE-listed Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell and those owned or recently acquired by major banks and asset managers, are struggling with wilting flows of new customers and money.
While the West's big investors have ditched Russia in recent weeks, one small group of armchair investors sees a bargain and is shrugging off any ethical qualms. At a time when many in Britain are pouring cash into charities to support relief efforts in Ukraine after its invasion by Russia, others are looking to profit and offering tips to "buy the dip" on social media. "For me it is a one (sic) in a lifetime chance to buy," said an investor about stock in Russia-focused steel and mining group Evraz on the Reddit website on March 4.