Australian Hedge Fund Soars 145% Thanks to Cannabis Investments

March 3, 2017
Globe and Mail
Business and finance Canada International News

Bets on marijuana companies helped an Australian manager soar 145 per cent last year to become the world’s best-performing hedge fund.

Stock and credit investments in North American marijuana producers contributed to 22 percentage points of last year’s gain for the $200-million Tribeca Global Natural Resources Fund, said Sydney-based Ben Cleary, who co-manages the pool with Craig Evans. The fund has advanced 4 per cent this year through February, Mr. Cleary said.

The wagers helped the hedge fund rise to the very top among more than 10,000 rivals tracked by data provider Preqin and stand out in a lackluster year for the industry. Eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia legalized recreational cannabis use among adults and more than half the country’s states have laws allowing medical use of the drug. While federal laws prohibit the sale of marijuana and officials from Donald Trump’s administration have sent mixed signals on whether they would increase enforcement, Mr. Cleary said he isn’t concerned because cannabis laws are state-based.

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