06Jun

In the fast moving world of alternatives, one of the challenges is not just staying on top of the financial news, but trying to be ahead.

There’s no shortage of information. Fund managers employ highly-paid analysts using sophisticated computer programs and artificial intelligence to sift through the firehose of news and data to detect actionable patterns and trends.

But when professionals (and more than a few investors) look for news about what others are doing, how they’re performing, competitors, and trends and developments in the world of alternatives, they rely on the many online blogs and publications to stay up-to-date.

Especially for newcomers to field, knowing which are the best, which are the must reads, is not easy. Just identifying blogs specific to alternatives is time-consuming. Fortunately, a few sites have done the work.

From the various lists, we pulled five that appear among the top on each of the sites we consulted. We’re not saying these are the best or the top sources for information about alternatives or hedge funds – though each is newsy, current and well trafficked. Make that decision yourself.

  • CNBC – Provides breaking and other news of the sector. Though many posts are limited to paid subscribers, articles are exclusive and detailed.
  • HedgeWeek – Part of the Global Fund Media Ltd. network focusing on hedge funds. Oriented toward providing industry news with multiple daily updates. Other features: newsletter, special reports, webinars.
  • Opalesque – In-depth and detailed news and commentary on hedge funds and alternatives. Well-regarded and highly knowledgeable, sponsors roundtable discussions among fund managers and investors discussing issues and trends. Limited free subscriptions.
  • Preqin.com – Not a traditional blog, but a data and research provider covering the full range of the alternatives sector. Some of the research is free to registered subscribers. Especially useful are quarterly reports and Preqin Insights posts.
  • Hedgeco.net – Its primary value lies in its database of hedge funds which includes detailed, if not always completely current, information about thousands of funds and managers. The sites includes some news of funds and managers. Free subscriptions are available.

Some others to review:

  • The Hedge Fund Journal – An online magazine of the industry.
  • Risk.net – Not exclusively about alternatives, the site covers risk management, derivatives and regulation with a section devoted to hedge funds.
  • AllAboutAlpha – This is the blog of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association. Not a news site, the blog includes a broad range of issue-type articles, analysis and commentary by a variety of industry professionals.
  • ManagedFunds.org – The blog of the Managed Funds Association, a trade group.
  • Hedge Fund Law Blog  A service of the Cole-Frieman & Mallon law firm.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Green Key

Don’t Commit the Sin of Overproductivity

Is it possible to be too productive?

The short answer is “Yes.” The consequences of overproductivity can be as serious in white collar work as it is in lean manufacturing.

If that surprises you, consider what it means to exceed expectations and not just by doing more than what is expected, but overproducing to such an extent that you sometimes run out of work and feel guilty if you stop to take a breath.

Laura Stack, a productivity professionals, calls overproductivity a “deadly sin.”

Why would someone who’s written more books on productivity than practically anyone and who regularly speaks at conferences about improving productivity warn about being too productive? Because overproductivity on a sustained basis leads to a poor or non-existent work/life balance, it takes a toll on your body to always be running, managers ding you should you ever perform at “normal” speed and burnout forever looms.

“Too much work,” writes Stack, “Can damage your health in many ways, from cardiovascular disability to too little sleep, a poor diet, dehydration, and more .”

If that isn’t enough, your co-workers will come to resent you, since they’ll be pushed by the boss to perform at your pace. When you need their help on some task how likely do you suppose they’ll be to come to your aid?

“Like a nova that briefly outshines, if you overproduce too long, you may burn out, whereupon you’re useless, not just to yourself but to everyone. And in the modern business environment, an underperforming asset, even a human one, is unlikely to last long,” says Stack.

The point of this post isn’t to dissuade anyone from working hard and being productive. Instead, learn to pace yourself so you can perform well, sustain quality and be as productive next week, next month and next year as you are today.

Image by mohamed Hassan

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Green Key

Some Like It Hot, Some Like It Cold

With summer promising to be a hot one and workers returning to offices, the perennial battle over the thermostat is about to heat up. (Yes, the pun is intended.)

It’s a battle office managers are all too familiar with. Their struggle to reach the perfect Goldilocks temperature is never-ending. Some like it hot; some like it cold, and there’s rarely agreement on the “just right” office temperature.

BusinessNewsDaily attempted to help out in an ambitiously headlined article, “How to Resolve the Office Temperature Debate.” But does it? Of course not.

The article mentions that OSHA, which has no specific requirement, recommends an office temperature setting between 68 and 76 F. The article then cites a study by Helsinki University of Technology’s Laboratory for Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning declaring the ideal office temperature to be exactly 71.6 F. But then, the annual average temperature in southern Finland is only 43.7 F.

A study the article doesn’t mention puts the ideal temperature at 77 F. That study measured typing output and errors in an insurance company headquarters, so don’t expect to convince the men in your office to bump up the thermostat.

Men prefer cooler temperatures. This 2019 study from the University of Southern California has men doing better when the temperature is at or below 70 F. Women, on the other hand, did much better as the temperature went up.

Concluded the authors of the study, “Our findings suggest that gender mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards.” Obviously, the authors were never office managers, otherwise they would be keenly aware of the loss of productivity to bickering, surreptitious thermostat resetting, and formal complaining caused by those finding the office too hot.

Because it’s easier to warm up by wearing a sweater – or a Snuggie as one interviewee told BusinessNewsDaily – office managers tend to dial down the thermostat.

Jared Weitz, CEO and founder of United Capital Source, told the publication he keeps his office at 73 F. “We encourage people to bring in sweaters or jackets if needed, and desktop fans are allowed.”

No matter what you do, you’ll never please everyone. CareerBuilder found that out years ago when it surveyed office workers on the issue only to discover half of them thought their workplace too hot or too cold.

So how does BusinessNewsDaily resolve the issue and justify its headline? The article makes two suggestions. Consult an HVAC professional to set the temperature, then you can blame them. We added that last part.

Or, says the article, “You may be better off enforcing one temperature and requiring your employees to stick to it.”

Photo by gryffyn m on Unsplash

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