Alternative Investment Awards 2016 25 Best iAbsolute Return Emerging Markets Strategies & Best Emerging Europe Fund: The Violet Emerging Markets Fund AppleTree Capital is an award winning independent financial advisor specializing in European Emerging Markets and Absolute Return Strategies. We spoke to Dimitrios Apistoulas to find out more information. Company: AppleTree Capital Name: Dimitrios Apistoulas Email: [email protected] Web Address: AppleTree is an awarded alternative investment manager launched in May 2010 by Michael Nicoletos and Dimitris Apistoulas. From 2012 on- wards its flagship, the Violet Emerging Markets Fund, has outperformed all market and peer indices. The fund is a long-short Emerging Markets Equities Fund focused on Emerging/Developing Europe. The portfolio consists only of listed, liquid equities, bonds and listed derivatives. Since its launch in May of 2010, Violet has significantly outperformed its benchmark, the MSCI EMEA (in 2015 alone, Violet yielded a net return of +18.8% vs a -22.3% drop of the MSCI EMEA). Within the course of the past 3 years, the Violet Fund has yielded a net return in excess of 90% vs a more than 20% drop of the MSCI EMEA. The firm’s mission is to deliver exceptional value to its investors by strictly adhering to its philosophy of transparency, liquidity, and risk management. In particular, we take risk management very seriously. Our approach, which has been a key driver of our strong outperformance, is multi-fold: we have two in-house risk specialists (one for financial risk, and another for political risk), we track daily portfolio performance through multiple levels of detail, compile daily consolidated risk reports, and utilize a host of quantitative analytics to map the different sets of relevant risk metrics, derived both from internal and external sources (i.e. BBG Analytics, EIU, Fact-Set). When it comes to our investing strategy, we have a unique approach, which sets our company apart from the crowd and ensures that our fund keeps achieving superior results. We challenge ourselves and our convictions, constantly, to ensure that all angles are covered. Financial markets are full of “noise”. Therefore, our main effort is to distinguish the real market-moving news that have a real effect in our portfolio vs the usual noise which can only cause intra-day or very short term price fluctuations. Every morning, before we begin with our daily routine in the office, the fund Managers begin by debating a very radical and con- trarian position in the form of a reduction ad absurdum argument: they assume that the existing portfolio is not optimal. They challenge and de- bate everything: from our macro/political view, to portfolio net exposure, individual positions and sizing. This debate takes place every morning, and does not settle until the managers are convinced that the strategic investment decisions taken are on the right track. While unconventional, this investment mentality has proven to be an excellent modus operandi to revise our assumptions, identify behavioural biases (both personal, but also across the industry), and affirm the strongest of our convic- tions. This profound process of daily re-affirmation of our fund’s strategy through productive debate lies at the core of our investment philosophy. AppleTree remains at the forefront of Emerging Markets developments by employing a comprehensive data gathering process that allows us to pool information from a number of different sources: we use a network of established relationships with local professionals, who provide a first-hand experience of the political and financial developments on ground; we frequently attend road shows and make company visits to speak directly to companies management ourselves; we do extensive in-house research to identify valuation miss-pricings; we review exhaustively company releases and quarterly results, as well as use a diversified array of 3rd party re- search; finally, all team members engage in robust monitoring of daily news and macro-level trends, utilizing the latest technology, local feeds, and so- cial media (Bloomberg, Twitter, etc.). This constant flow of information, as well as our team’s dedication to synthesizing and constantly re-evaluating new developments, provides us with a thorough understanding of all major developments, challenges, and macro trends in the EMEA region. The hedge fund industry is currently facing some very turbulent times. There has been a lot of talk lately about hedge fund managers under- performing and not deserving the fees they earn. An increasing number of investors has shown special interest to passive funds, as many of those have outperformed top active managers. We believe we need to look beyond that: if fund managers are good at what they do, illustrate a high level of commitment, vigour and transparency, then there is cer- tainly a value to their role – a value that no passive fund can ever attain. We believe that we – at AppleTree – have exemplified this to our inves- tors: not only have we outperformed our benchmarks, but we have also demonstrated that we will always be thoroughly transparent in whatever we do, and fully reliable whenever they need us. Our relationship is about trust, dedication, and perseverance. At such difficult times, with passive funds making important gains, we believe that it is these exact values that will set active Managers apart across the industry. Looking ahead, we are very excited to announce that the company is in the process of opening a new office in London and getting an FCA license, where we aim to add another fund to our portfolio. With this transition, we will be shifting our primary operations to London, retaining our Athens office as a supplementary base. AI16046