Bramdean Has Woman Run Money, Is Wrong

by Johnny Debacle

Nicola Horlick, a “superwoman” by trade, founded and runs a closed-end investment fund called Bramdean Alternatives Limited (LSE: BRAL). She named the fund after a Hampshire town in which she has a house. Both the fact she did so and the house itself can be described as “quaint.” Here is a description of what Bramdean does:

Bramdean takes on the responsibility of investing with funds and fund managers on behalf of our clients. We research the worldwide investable universe of alternative fund managers and funds, searching for the most talented managers and highest quality investments available to our clients. Our goal is to find investments that will deliver superior returns and which are lowly-correlated to more traditional investments.

Our own experienced investment management team together with our network of industry specialists enable Bramdean to access managers and funds that are often closed to new investors.

Ah yes! Access! But what kind of access was Bramdean getting?

Bramdean Alternatives Ltd (BRAL.L) said almost 10 percent of its holdings were exposed to Madoff, the U.S. company at the heart of an alleged $50 billion fraud, sending shares in the UK asset manager crashing on Friday.

Bramdean, headed by well-known fund manager Nicola Horlick, said it had two holdings that maintain trading accounts with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities that represented 9.5 percent of its net asset value at the end of October.

Separate WSJ piece:

Before news of the Madoff scandal broke in December, Ms. Horlick had publicly endorsed the money manager, calling him “very, very good at calling the U.S. equity market” in an interview with the Financial Times.

If you follow that second link, you can read how Horlick has done so well at getting access that she may well be out of her own firm by a mob of shareholders.

Maybe this played a part:

Apparently allocating assets into the biggest Ponzi scheme since the Securities Exchange Company is NOT a good call. Math indicates that it is in fact detrimental to investment performance. Maybe some due diligence should have been due done? Isn’t that why people pay fund of funds fees? Isn’t that the only reason? Oh wait, I forgot, they were paying for access. Silly me! Over the same time period as outlined above, the S&P 500 returned -30% to her closed-end alternative FoF’s performance was -45% — not what you’d expect from a “superwoman.”

Recommendation: Now this is not to say that all women shouldn’t run money. Only a fool would say something so blatantly sexist. But I will write it. Women shouldn’t run money. If you do find yourself in a situation wherein a woman is running money for you, you can expect them to charge you for “access” to a money sucking blackhole just as was done here.

It’s worth expanding this negative sentiment across all people who mostly trade on their name, whether it be Uma Thurman’s husband or whoever the bullshit artist du jour is. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes WHAT you know (and the desire TO know rather than wallowing in your own lazy ignorance) matters more than WHOM you know.

HT to WC Varones

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  1. jd
    July 8th, 2009 | 9:20 am

    nicola horlick is her stage name now.

  2. HAM05
    July 8th, 2009 | 2:55 pm

    women should never run, they’re much harder to catch that way

  3. July 8th, 2009 | 11:08 pm

    Whatever happened to Pomegranate Capital btw? I think that story is ripe for an update!

    [/terrible pun]

  4. July 9th, 2009 | 8:36 am

    Since their original run of PR puff pieces when she was ramping up, there was a multi-year silence. And then there is the above further puff piece from a site that not only references this site, but can’t properly code html to create a hyperlink with our name. So, my guess, she is using her connections to stay afloat, seems like she has about the same AUM in October as she did back when and that piece was from October before things got SCARY scary. I wonder if her fund of funds invests in fund of funds like Bramdean?

  5. right
    July 9th, 2009 | 11:33 am


    So she invested 50bn with Madoff? No? Who gave him the other bit? Men perhaps…?

    Anyways, I accept a dick is necessary to make good investment choices. Must be why 99% of homeless people I see roaming the streets round here are male.

  6. July 9th, 2009 | 1:28 pm


    You aren’t adjusting your homeless gender expectations for the fact that vag trades at a serious (10x) premium for food/home/money as compared to wang.

  7. Cory
    July 10th, 2009 | 12:50 pm

    Best article, and best comment thread I have read on this site in a while.

    Touche Anal yst. Categories of individuals who would be homeless if they did not own a vagina:
    3.”Real” Housewives of the (insert metropolitan city here).

  8. Size
    July 10th, 2009 | 3:09 pm

    Categories of men who wouldn’t ever get laid if Prostitutes didn’t have vaginas:


  9. Size
    July 10th, 2009 | 3:34 pm

    As long as we’re using a sample size of ONE to justify such broad statements…

    I know a woman who runs money (derivatives trader, not a hedgie or CEF manager like Nicola was/is) who made in excess of 100% last year after her 50% fee and has generally kicked the ass of her male counterparts historically as well – both in terms of return and volatility of returns. Of course, you won’t know her because she she’s forcing her investors to redeem a portion of their investment each year and won’t take new capital.

    Oh, hell, why stick to one? Let’s give it up for Marge Teller (“Large Marge”) who DAILY traded in excess of $100 Billion of Eurodollar interest rate futures on the CME until a few years ago when she quit to spend time with her kids (after becoming very rich). I believe it took six proud owners of a penis to replace her. I can think of at least two other very successful female traders who ran other people’s money and kicked massive ass. So, based on the fact that my sample size is a massive 4X larger than yours, I think I can confidently state that ONLY women should ever run money. I can say this because, obviously, my grasp of statistics is as tenuous as yours.

    Trading on your name is a different issue. What idiot wouldn’t trade on his/her name? What’s stupid is the boneheads lining up to pay someone for their name.

    Jim Simons had a great idea in Medallion. He can’t deploy any more capital there. So, whatever REIF is, it’s at least his second best idea. What you don’t know as an investor is if the second best idea is only a little worse or if it’s just a dud. But you know the REIF investors think that if Simons is smart and has ONE good idea that ALL his ideas are good. People are kinda dumb and there are plenty of people who will separate idiots from their money.

  10. July 10th, 2009 | 4:59 pm


    Your reasoning and logic and “facts” are of no use here.

  11. Charles Krug
    July 13th, 2009 | 5:59 am

    Size: So you know people, well done.

  12. Pleb
    July 13th, 2009 | 11:21 am

    >>>Anyways, I accept a dick is necessary to make good investment choices. Must be why 99% of homeless people I see roaming the streets round here are male.

    Yeah, and if you polled them, you’d find that being homeless, drunk, screaming profanities, sleeping on steam grates, and shitting their pants is just a strategy they use to avoid having to deal with women’s bullshit. And it works! Most of us men aren’t that clever though.

    Ps. Who says women don’t have a sense of humor?

  13. Size
    July 16th, 2009 | 9:28 am

    Your reasoning and logic and “facts” are of no use here.

    Well, that’s not why I come here. After all, the blog is written by men, so how much of any of those things could I really expect?

    Size: So you know people, well done.

    Went right over your head, didn’t I, Chuck?