60-Second Interview Series: Q&A, Mitch Ackles, CEO Of Hedge Fund PR

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60-Second Interview Series: Q&A, Mitch Ackles, CEO Of Hedge Fund PR

October 9, 2019

This week, we sat down with Mitch Ackles, CEO of Hedge Fund PR, the global president of the Hedge Fund Association, and a spokesman for HFA, A Leg To Stand On (ALTSO) and Help For Children (HFC).

“Talk to me about the HFA and Hedge Fund PR as they exist separately but also how they intertwine?”

Before founding my PR firm in 2005, I was the Global Marketing Manager for Dow Jones TradeStation and the VP of Capital Introduction for Global Partners Group. In both roles, I served sophisticated investors, traders and hedge funds. When I decided to form Hedge Fund PR, I knew that my subject matter expertise and strong connections to the media would be an asset to alternative investment managers that needed to build their brands in an effective and compliant way.

In 2006 I was asked to volunteer as a spokesman for HFA, which was an incredible honor. I soon ran for HFA’s board of directors and today, I am currently serving in my third term as HFA’s global president. Becoming an industry leader has been instrumental in the growth of my business. It has allowed me to build a robust and relevant contact network, and for this reason, I have never once had to advertise.

How has the hedge fund industry changed over the past ten or so years from your perspective?

The hedge fund industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. In the early years, these funds primarily managed money for high-net-worth investors and family offices. Today most funds aim for institutional investors, and to attract them these firms have had to become much more institutional in their infrastructure, operations and marketing communications.

It’s also no longer possible to say hedge funds are unregulated or lightly regulated. Today hedge funds must comply with regulations wherever they plan to do business.

“What are some of the biggest challenges you’re seeing hedge funds face currently? What challenges do you anticipate in the next 3-5 years?”

While some things are different, one challenge is still the most prominent – the performance of the fund’s strategy. While great marketing and PR can be excellent gift-wrapping, hedge fund managers must still be able to consistently deliver alpha.

Over the next 3-5 years, I think the revolution of AI and Machine Learning will continue to have a major impact on investment management. All businesses must adapt to survive, and those that do can thrive. A major challenge for hedge funds will be attracting and retaining the top-tier talent that would typically work in Silicon Valley. And many Wall Street and hedge fund firms are working hard to make this happen.

“What’s the best piece of PR advice you can give to any of your clients?”

I always start a PR engagement with hours of media training. One nugget that encapsulates my advice is a quote from Mark Twain: “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.”

Tell me about some of the biggest wins or successes you’ve seen the HFA as an organization achieve?”

As president of the Hedge Fund Association, I take great pride in what we have achieved. More than 40 elected and appointed volunteers in over 16 countries work to deliver on our mission to advance transparency, development and trust in alternative investments. We do this by producing exceptional educational events that inspire, inform and expand connections within our industry.

While these successes make me very happy, I am most proud of HFA’s achievements when it comes to diversity. When I joined HFA’s board of directors, I was one of four white men leading the organization. Today our board is half men and half women. And we continue to recruit new leaders and speakers with diversity in mind.

“What’s something you’re passionate about outside of the hedge fund industry?”

I am passionate about family. While my partner and I don’t have kids we have many nieces and nephews. Uncles Mitch and Nick take great joy in spoiling them!

“As someone who has a highly impressive network, what’s your advice on building meaning, professional relationships?”

Find your niche and give back. I decided early in my career to focus on the sophisticated areas of finance, investments and hedge funds. Once I did that I worked, and continue to work, to connect with like-minded peers and inspire them to lead. I also think that it’s vital for everyone in the industry to find ways to give back. Many of us in the hedge fund community actively support charities like Help For Children and A Leg To Stand On. These causes and many others are excellent ways to expand your network and make a difference for others at the same time.

 

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