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Brynjolfsson (Armored Wolf) joins James Alpha to continue GRRIX strategy


John Brynjolfsson, who recently announced the shuttering of his own investments firm Armored Wolf and its conversion into a family office, is to join James Alpha Advisors to continue managing its James Alpha Global Enhanced Real Return Fund (GRRIX) strategy.

Brynjolfsson has been a proponent and investor in liquid securities strategies including catastrophe bonds, with the Armored Wolf portfolio having contained an allocation to cat bonds and insurance-linked securities (ILS). James Alpha Advisors provides alternative investment mutual funds and was involved in the launch of the original GRRIX strategy.

Similarly, the James Alpha Global Enhanced Real Return Fund (GRRIX) which Brynjolfsson managed under the Armored Wolf banner, contains an allocation to cat bonds, albeit small at around 3% of the fund assets at the end of the first-half of 2015.

Armored Wolf had been hit by commodities volatility in recent months, which drove Brynjolfsson to announce that he would be returning client funds and converting the portfolio to a family office. The largest fund managed by Armored Wolf had shrunk from $1 billion to $250m over the last few years.

He told Bloomberg in a recent interview he was “looking forward to a sabbatical,” but the announcement of his joining James Alpha Advisory suggests the sabbatical may be short-lived.

Both John Brynjolfsson and Tim Alford, also an Armored Wolf portfolio manager and investment committee member, will join James Alpha Advisory to continue acting as portfolio managers of the GRRIX strategy.

“This role connects me with an organization with which I have a longstanding relationship and respect hugely. James Alpha was instrumental in launching Armored Wolf six years ago and has served as trusted counsel across a broad range of disciplines. Tim and I have also managed portfolios together over the same period of time and I look forward to continuing that partnership as well,” Brynjolfsson commented.

He continued; “James Alpha, Tim and I started GRRIX almost five years ago and have compiled an attractive track record together, particularly during the difficult market environment of the last 12 months. I believe the strategy is ideally suited to the current investment environment which will continue to reward portfolio managers who can identify and nimbly exploit alpha generating opportunities in highly liquid securities around the world. In addition to a clear top-down macro view, tactical positioning and adaptability are the keys to success in today’s capital markets.”

Alford added; “James Alpha is a perfect fit for us and we believe our strategy is a perfect fit for the today’s challenging markets. Our fund seeks to provide retail investors access to the same sophisticated investment strategies that institutional investors benefit from and that John and I have successfully implemented for more than two decades.”

For investors in the GRRIX strategy it will be business as usual, with no change to portfolio management and operations. Meanwhile for the portfolio managers Brynjolfsson and Alford it provides the opportunity to continue a strategy that they created for their investors.

“We identified James Alpha Management as the right partner for us due to the scale and quality of its operations and as the best organization to seamlessly roll up the corporate and operational aspects of GRRIX. The new format will simply be a continuation of a collaboration Tim and I have already enjoyed with James Alpha for the past six years. More importantly, our new roles free us from business concerns to focus on what we enjoy and excel at, which is generating alpha for investors,” Brynjolfsson said.

Jim Vitalie, CEO of James Alpha Advisors, commented; “We are, of course, delighted to deepen our relationship with world class money managers like John Brynjolfsson and Tim Alford. Over time, we believe we will be collaborating with John and Tim in many other ways as well. They are a great addition to our team.”

Brynjolfsson’s investments have included real asset and hedged strategies, with liquid securities forming a key piece of the portfolios he built. Event-linked securities (cat bonds and ILS) have played a part in his strategies and will likely continue to, as opportunities and market conditions allow.

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