| Karin Bylund

Work hard, play harder – an interview with the man behind Hedgebrunch

What happens when you group professionals, investors and friends together? Potential business deals? Perhaps. Panel discussions? Maybe not – what about the networking aspect of it? Certainly – but the approach to how one forms a relationship with another in such an industry can make all the difference, especially when business deals are called into play – but add for example, the luxury/lifestyle element to it, where the social and relaxed aspects get ignited. Enter, Hedgebrunch – an exceptionally engaging networking event for the hedge fund and alternative investment world founded and created by business networking maven, Gus Morison, who had previously spent time working in the hedge fund world as a Sales Director.

After having attended one too many conferences around the world, the monotony of the way things were done in such a seemingly glamorous industry began to take its toll and as Gus puts it,  “I thought there must be a better way to do this. So that was the real genesis of Hedgebrunch, to get people in the industry to connect with each other the same way they are aiming to do at those events but at a much more social, convivial event – something that you would want to go to, not have to.” And so far Hedgebrunch is gaining momentum and demand, now soaring its way into hedge fund centres around the world including New York and Geneva with plans to further expand in Chicago, Miami, Monaco, Dubai, Singapore and Shanghai.

Hedgebrunch at The Library Member’s Club in London

This adventurous concept is now becoming a hospitable playground for financiers, investors and professionals alike where they can expect to “come along and mix with people, the idea being that you want to connect investors and funds and anyone whose going to help funds as well, plus also the luxury/lifestyle brands which bring an interesting element to hedge funds – it is not just another conference and sitting in another hotel conference room. At our upcoming event for instance we have Rolls Royce offering chauffeur services to and from the event combined with other Work and Play elements. There is a whole range of different activities at different events so that it becomes something you want to go to. When it comes to connecting with others – we facilitate as much as possible but it is down to the guests to mix and network – thankfully, the hedge fund world is a really sociable place and its people are good at that.”

To break it down, Hedgebrunch is divided into three main events, each catering to a different number of professionals starting off with Classic events with 150-200 people – their flagship event so to speak, where the whole industry is invited to network. The following events, Club and Private are “based on a particular partner or theme with 10-50 hand selected guests, for example, a private bank may ask us to host 10-15 very select people around a private table in a Michelin starred restaurant. At these events it is us talking about a specific topic or a specific fund or big macro-economic theme that’s important to everyone around the table.” The most exciting of all – one in which they have not pushed out there too much at the moment – Hedgebrunch Bespoke, is a relatively new category that they are adding due to the demand from professionals. An example, a Hedgebrunch ski-week hosted earlier in February, which gained popularity, and will continue to see them hosting bespoke events, with a second one coming up in Ibiza this summer.

The Hedgebrunch network has been growing organically since their beginnings in 2013, having already reached a 12k mark. When asked what is in store for their future, Gus replies “I would certainly like to see Hedgebrunch in more cities especially across the US. The Far East is definitely another big market we would like to hit – huge opportunities especially with the Chinese market opening up recently that is just in the process of exploding – Dubai and the Middle East, too – building up that team quite significantly and just connecting with more people on a daily basis. We are in a good spot at the moment but we can do so much more.

 There is an opportunity to have a lot of fun with it as well, where everywhere we go we can make it exciting and appealing and we want to bring people into that. It is weird because the hedge fund world is incredibly advanced when it comes to alpha generation and operational stuff (alpha generation is making a return from the market) but it is unbelievably archaic in lots of other areas and actually, when it comes to non-alpha and operational technology and connectivity and things like that, it is light years behind in comparison to other industries. We want to engage people in a fun, convivial but really useful conversation, and keep expanding that and keep helping each other.”

As they say, work hard, play harder – that is Hedgebrunch for you.

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