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What slump? Hedge fund investors happy, ready for more

Oh to work in the hedge fund industry. Despite getting thrashed by the S&P last year, hedge funds are expected to see a surge of fresh assets this year from happy investors with relatively modest expectations.

Hedge funds should attract as much as $171 billion in new investments in 2014, which could push total industry assets to a record $3 trillion by the end of the year, according to a new Deutsche Bank survey.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is how generally pleased investors were with the average 9.3% return a year ago. That’s nothing to scoff at normally, but it occurred during a year when the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 32%. Many publicly questioned whether the industry would lose some supporters considering the average fee structure. That argument has seemingly been put to rest.

Roughly 80% of survey respondents said they were “happy” with last year’s returns. Moreover, close to 65% said they don’t expect 2014 returns to breach the 10% threshold. It comes as no coincidence then that big-name bulge-bracket traders are moving to the buy-side at every opportunity. Big money, moderate expectations and minimal regulation. Sign me up.

The Foodie Revolution (eFinancialCareers)

Financial professionals have smelt an opportunity and more are quitting their day jobs to take advantage of the foodie revolution. We talked to several who’ve done it to find out why.

Avoiding Banker Burnout (eFinancialCareers)

Banker burnout is an all-too-real phenomenon. Sure, employees in other industries face intense pressures, but likely not the same physical, mental and emotional burden as bankers.

Kill Switch (WSJ)

Nasdaq in March will implement a “kill switch” that will allow firms to set limits on the sizes of positions they are willing to take. Several trading fiascos, highlighted by the Knight Capital collapse, have made the tool paramount.

An Issue of Perception (WSJ)

Here’s a sneaky way to convince your boss that you’re working harder: start coming in later. One investment banker pushed back his start time three hours but stayed that much later. “It hasn’t gone unnoticed that you’re putting in additional hours,” his boss said after several weeks.

Post-Bonus Exodus (Bloomberg)

Yet another managing director has departed from Goldman Sachs. Brian Saluzzo, Goldman’s co-head of technology infrastructure, is headed to American Express. Perhaps those reports about Goldman slashing pay for MDs were accurate.

The Lure of the Mid-Market (BBW)

Michael Malone, a former J.P. Morgan MD, is heading to the mid-market. He’s joining Dallas-based Comerica as the chief executive officer of its securities and insurance units. Mid-market firms can pay more in cash and are beginning to entice some bulge-bracket bankers.

Blood Will Be Shed (Dealbreaker)

“Huge layoffs are coming Thursday at BNP…going to be ugly,” a source told Dealbreaker. Meanwhile, its closest rival, Societe Generale, just made two new hires as part of its U.S. and Asian push into cash equities trading.

Buzz Around the Office

Animals, with an S (Daily Mail)

If you need another reason to not eat Hot Pockets, here’s one. The brand’s Philly Steak & Cheese brand is being recalled after regulators found the company processed “diseased and unhealthy animals…that were unfit for human consumption.” The fact that “animal” is pluralized may be the scariest part.

AUTHORBeecher Tuttle US Editor

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