As part of our DarcMatter Manager Series, we took the opportunity to interview the team at Straits Financial Fund Management LLC, about the background of the firm, their strategy, and their management team. For more information, visit Straits Financial Fund Management LLC’s Fund Profile here on DarcMatter.
What is the history and background of your company, principals and funds?
Straits Financial Fund Management LLC is an affiliate of Straits Financial LLC and is a fully licensed and registered Commodity Pool Operator (“CPO”) whose first offering is Straits Financial Premier Fund I, Ltd. This professionally managed Futures Fund is offered in two Feeder Fund formats: Straits Financial Premier (U.S. Feeder) Fund I, L.P. (for U.S. accredited investors) and Straits Financial Premier (Offshore Feeder) Fund I, Ltd. (for non-U.S. investors). For more information, visit www.straitsffm.com
Headquartered in Singapore, Straits Financial Group is the brokering division of the CWT Group and has established affiliate offices in Singapore, Shanghai, Jakarta, Dubai, Hong Kong, Chicago, and New Jersey. The U.S. subsidiary, Straits Financial LLC, is a CFTC-licensed and NFA-registered Futures Commission Merchant and a full Clearing Member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the Commodity Exchange (COMEX), the CME Clearport, the Nasdaq Futures Exchange (NFX), the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE), the New Zealand Exchange (NZX), and the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME). Through its global offices and partnerships, the Straits Group is focused on delivering a wide range of financial services including brokerage of exchange-traded and OTC products as well as trade facilitation for physical commodities. For more information, visit www.straitsfinancial.com
The CPO and the Futures Fund are managed by experienced Futures Industry executives:
Mr. Mazurek became a registered Associated Person of the General Partner in December 2013 and has been listed as a principal of the General Partner since December 2013. Mr. Mazurek is also the President of the General Partner, where he is responsible for overseeing the business strategy, sales and operations of the General Partner, including its arrangements with the Fund, Offshore Feeder Fund and Master Fund.
Mr. Mazurek is also currently the President of Straits Financial LLC, a Futures Commission Merchant, a position he has held since October 2010. As President of Straits Financial LLC, Mr. Mazurek is responsible for the administration, sales and operations of the firm. From March 2012 to October 2014, Mr. Mazurek was also the President of Straits Forex LLC, an introducing broker. As President of Straits Forex LLC, Mr. Mazurek was responsible for the administration, sales and operations of the firm.
From July 2010 through October 2010, Mr. Mazurek served as an Associated Person of Henning & Carey, LLC, an introducing broker.
From January 2008 through March 2010, Mr. Mazurek served as the President of Macquarie Futures USA Inc., a futures commission merchant. In this position, Mr. Mazurek developed and managed Macquarie Futures USA Inc.’s business strategy, hired and directed sales staff, cross sold alternative investments, promoted electronic trading platforms, established internal credit, risk and compliance controls, and managed all trade execution and clearing operations.
Joseph R. Randazzo
Mr. Randazzo became a registered AP of the General Partner in December 2013 and has been listed as a principal of the General Partner since December 2013. Mr. Randazzo is also a Managing Director of the General Partner, where he is responsible for overseeing the business strategy and sales of the General Partner.
Mr. Randazzo is also currently a Senior Vice President of Straits Financial LLC since May 2011. He became a registered AP of Straits Financial LLC in November 2011 and has since been responsible for the development of the Managed Futures product as well as the development of futures and foreign exchange sales. He has been registered as the branch manager of the Straits Financial office in Red Bank New Jersey since July 2012.
From July 2013 to October 2014, Mr. Randazzo was a Senior Vice President of Straits Forex LLC where he was responsible for developing foreign exchange sales.
From December 2009 through May 2011, Mr. Randazzo worked as a self-employed consultant as well as an independent investor.
From June 2005 through November 2009, Mr. Randazzo served as a Managing Director Institutional Sales at FX Direct Dealer. He was responsible for FX marketing and product development for institutional clients.
James F. Curley
Mr. Curley became registered as an AP of the General Partner in December 2013 and has been listed as a principal of the General Partner since December 2013. Mr. Curley is also a Managing Director of the General Partner, where he is responsible for overseeing the business strategy and sales of the General Partner.
Mr. Curley is also currently a Senior Vice President of Straits Financial LLC, a position he has held since May 2011. As a Senior Vice President, he has responsibility for the development of the Managed Futures product as well as developing futures and foreign exchange sales. In regard to Straits Financial LLC, Mr. Curley became registered as an AP in November 2011.
From July 2013 to October 2014, Mr. Curley was also a Senior Vice President of Straits Forex LLC where he was responsible for developing foreign exchange sales.
From January 2001 through May 2011, Mr. Curley served as the Chairman and CEO of Curley Investment Services. He was responsible for consulting on the development of alternative investment products relating to Unified Managed Accounts and investments such as hedge funds, managed futures and individually managed accounts.
In addition to these responsibilities, from November 2009 to May 2011, Mr. Curley served as a Director of Business at HedgeServ Corporation. He was responsible for sales development in fund administration.
From June 2005 through November 2009, Mr. Curley served as a Managing Director Institutional Sales at FXDD. He was responsible for FX marketing and product development for institutional clients.
He is a former director and executive committee member of the Chicago Board of Trade as well as a former director of NFA and the Futures Industry Association.
How is your fund differentiated from other alternative strategies?
Premier Fund I allows Accredited Investor participation in a pooled, professionally managed alternative product fund normally reserved for QEPs (Qualified Eligible Participants). It is offered in smaller investing amounts of $10,000 to both U.S. and non-U.S. investors in two Feeder Fund formats: Straits Financial Premier (U.S. Feeder) Fund I, L.P. and Straits Financial Premier (Offshore Feeder) Fund I, Ltd. The Funds permit investor participation in alternative investment strategies, a recognized component of diversified and balanced investment portfolios. The program is uncorrelated to Equities, Bonds, or other Alternative Investments and allows exposure to liquid, transparent markets with an experienced Trading Advisor.
Dunn Capital Management, LLC conducts the trading on behalf of the Master Fund. The founder, Dr. William A. Dunn, is one of the early pioneers of managed Futures, having started Dunn Capital in 1974.
An investment in one of the Feeder Funds allows investor access to Dunn’s World Monetary and Agriculture (“WMA”) Program, a program that has been successfully traded for 30+ years. It is important to note that Dunn was ranked 4th on Barron’s top 100 hedge funds in 2016 and 27th in 2017.
Positions are established on regulated Futures Exchanges where price, volume and open interest are totally transparent. No Swaps or other OTC contracts are traded.
And, with Dunn, there are annual audits; a clean regulatory history; no personal employee futures accounts; 24/7 trading desk; current BCP procedures; trading in only products on regulated Exchanges; third-party independent pricing; daily review of all transactions and Value-at-Risk; daily check-out with clearing FCMs, no option trading – buy or sell.
Please explain the investment process for the strategy.
WMA is a 100% systematic medium to long-term trend following program, encompassing a portfolio of financial, energy, metal and agricultural futures contracts. The investment objective of Dunn’s WMA Program is to extract profits from up and down trends, resulting in a return stream that exhibits very low correlation with traditional asset classes.
It is quantitative, statistical and 100% systematic. There are no discretionary overrides of any computer-generated signals. The program is designed to capture major trends and to scale risk exposures. The latter is managed via a proprietary “Adaptive Risk Profile” which was designed to adjust to changing market conditions.
54 regulated Futures Exchange contracts are traded where price, volume and open interest are totally transparent.
How does your fund complement an investment portfolio?
The World Monetary and Agricultural program followed by Straits Financial Premier Fund I has a very low correlation with traditional asset classes such as stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.. 54 markets are currently traded: Energy, Agricultural, Volatility, Long and Short-term Interest Rates, Foreign Exchange, Stock Indices and Metals.
Including futures in an investment portfolio can reduce volatility while enhancing return. Futures portfolios can have substantially less risk at every possible level of return than portfolios of just stocks, or stocks and bonds.
Investors looking to diversify their portfolios into non-correlated products for absolute returns, crisis protection, and/or risk mitigation can find a solution with Premier Fund I.
Are you looking at any particularly attractive opportunities right now?
Straits Financial does not proprietary trade for itself and does not provide any investment advice. We believe both detract from our main focus: Servicing the investment needs of our customers. We are proud of ability to connect investors to a top tier Commodity Trading Advisor and to their well established, successful managed futures program at investment levels attractive to Accredited Investors.
Straits believes investing in Straits Financial Premier Fund I, Ltd. is an excellent choice for those seeking scalable portfolio diversification and low-correlated revenue streams with an alternative investment product at investment levels of as low at $10,000.
Read other interviews in the DM Manager Series here!