We recently interviewed Moez Kassam, Chief Investment Officer at Anson Funds, a hedge fund with offices in Toronto, Canada, and Dallas, Texas. Below we discuss Anson Funds, Moez’s work in the Toronto community, and his outlook on financial markets.
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?
Moez Kassam: Absolutely! Anson Funds is a privately held alternative asset management company. The firm was founded in Dallas in 2003 and I started the Toronto office in 2007.
We have a family of hedge funds and our total assets under management are currently $1.5 billion USD. Our success with the funds has led to some great recognition from major industry publications like Barron’s, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters. Earlier this year we were also recognized as a global top performing hedge fund by BarclayHedge based on a three year annualized return.
Q: Can you provide some specifics about the services offered by Anson Funds?
Moez Kassam: Our flagship is the Anson Investments Master Fund, which is a long-short hedge fund. Through various strategies, such as fundamental longs and shorts, as well as special situations, we strive to generate strong returns for our investors while minimizing our risks throughout multiple market cycles. We generally want to maintain market neutral positioning.
Anson Funds is oriented around gaining conviction through deep research. We do much of this research the old fashioned way: reading annual and quarterly reports, independent research, doing our own financial modeling and spending an inordinate amount of time pouring over charts on our Bloomberg terminals. More recently, we have taken advantage of advanced technologies, including machine learning systems, to give us additional insights into market trends. Even compared to 10 years ago, markets move extremely quickly, and can change direction abruptly, and so we work extremely hard to stay on top of it.
Q: You’re very active in your community as a philanthropist and volunteer, especially through your foundation, the Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation. Why is this important to you?
Moez Kassam: My wife, Marissa, and I always hoped to be in a position where we could help our community. That is why we started the Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation.
Toronto is such an incredible city and we want to do everything we can to make it a better place for all of our citizens and residents. Through the foundation, we particularly focus on supporting vulnerable people and communities in the GTA. We focus on five key sectors: food, healthcare, shelter, culture and new immigrants.
Q: Are there any major announcements in your philanthropy you can share with us?
Moez Kassam: Definitely. We made a $1 million donation to Michael Garron Hospital last year, which will be used to help create a state-of-the-art food court. The goal was to ensure that patients and healthcare workers in this important healthcare institution have access to healthy and nourishing food. We felt this was a special institution and cause given everything that our healthcare workers have done for our community over the last two years, just unbelievable selflessness and emergency efforts, and we felt it was only right that we did our part to recognize these efforts and give back.
Q: You clearly have a passion for food, both in your philanthropy and in your free time. What can you tell us about that?
Moez Kassam: Who doesn’t love food? It has always been a passion of mine and it goes beyond culinary appreciation. What I love most about food is that it brings family, friends, and communities together. I frequently host dinner parties because I feel it’s a great way to connect with people and gain new perspective on life.
On my own time, I’m the CFO -Chief Food Officer of Toronto’s Dîner en Blanc chapter, helping plan their annual events. I’m also a sitting judge for Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants and I was a co-founder of Canada’s largest food hall, Assembly Chef’s Hall. Truthfully, my love of food is really just an extension of my deep appreciation for the value of human connection.
Q: What do you see in the near future for Anson Funds? Anything you’re especially excited about?
Moez Kassam: Today’s financial markets are as dynamic as they have ever been. From increased retail investor participation to all kinds of systemic changes brought about by DeFi and crypto, there’s really significant and structural change taking place.
What I can say is that Anson Funds will continue to be a nimble and intelligent investor. We’re going to continue to build on our strategies which have worked in the past, while staying current on major industry trends and changes. Staying ahead of the curve is really in our DNA, and it’s more important than ever.
Personally, I think it’s a really exciting time to be an investment professional, and I wouldn’t change my job for anything.