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Managed Futures


Managed futures refer to investment strategies where professional portfolio managers, known as Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs), actively trade various financial instruments and commodities, using futures contracts. The aim is to generate returns for investors with a low correlation to traditional asset classes like stocks and bonds. They provide potential benefits such as diversification, risk management, and the possibility of profiting from both rising and falling markets.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Managed Futures” is:/ˈmænɪdʒd/ /ˈfjutʃərz/

Key Takeaways

  1. Diversification benefits: Managed Futures offer the potential to generate returns that are not highly correlated with traditional asset classes like stocks and bonds. This can help diversify investment portfolios and reduce overall risk.
  2. Risk management: Managed Futures have built-in risk management techniques, such as placing stop-loss orders, adjusting leverage, and position sizing, helping to protect against large losses in an investor’s portfolio.
  3. Profit potential in various market conditions: Managed Futures strategies can take long or short positions in a variety of financial instruments, such as commodities, equity indices, fixed income, and currencies. This flexibility enables them to take advantage of trends and profit from both rising and falling markets.


Managed futures are important in the business and finance realm as they offer investors a unique and valuable diversification tool within their investment portfolios. As a type of alternative investment strategy, managed futures involve professional management of futures contracts or options on futures, enabling them to profit from various market conditions, including up, down, and sideways trending markets. The use of managed futures brings potential benefits such as improved risk-adjusted returns, reduced portfolio volatility, and enhanced overall performance. Additionally, they provide exposure to a broad array of global asset classes, including commodities, currencies, interest rates, and equity indices, making them an essential component for investors seeking diversified investment opportunities and risk mitigation.


Managed futures is an alternative investment strategy employed to potentially diversify a portfolio and mitigate risks in the overall investment landscape. The primary purpose of managed futures is to allow professional money managers, referred to as Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs), to actively manage futures contracts, options on futures, and foreign exchange contracts in globally diversified and liquid financial markets. By participating in managed futures, investors can aim to achieve consistent returns and reduce portfolio volatility, regardless of the behavior of traditional asset classes like stocks and bonds. Managed futures have grown in popularity, as they can provide portfolios with numerous benefits, such as the ability to generate profits in different market scenarios. These investment strategies can potentially perform well during both bull and bear markets, exhibiting a low correlation with traditional market investments. This low correlation attribute is particularly attractive to investors looking to further diversify their portfolios and reduce the likelihood of losses when traditional markets experience downturns. CTAs, using their expertise and sophisticated risk management systems, can analyze and speculate on future market trends using various quantitative models and techniques, thereby capturing profit opportunities for the investors. Consequently, managed futures offer investors potential for profitability, risk management, and increased diversification in an ever-evolving market landscape.


Managed Futures refers to the practice of professional money managers investing in futures and options markets on behalf of their clients. These money managers, known as Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs), use a variety of trading strategies to provide portfolio diversification and potentially generate returns in different market conditions. Here are three real-world examples of managed futures funds: 1. AQR Managed Futures Strategy Fund (AQMIX): This is a mutual fund managed by AQR Capital Management, one of the leading quantitative investment firms. The fund seeks to provide long-term, risk-adjusted returns by investing in a diversified portfolio of global futures and forward contracts across asset classes, such as equities, interest rates, currencies, and commodities. The AQR Managed Futures Strategy Fund uses various quantitative models to identify and exploit trends in market prices .2. Winton Diversified Futures Fund (WDTIX): Winton Capital Management, a global investment management firm, manages this fund that aims to generate positive returns for investors by employing a systematic, rules-based approach to trading a diverse range of futures and forwards markets. The WDTIX fund uses proprietary research, statistical analysis, and mathematical modeling to identify and capture profit opportunities in numerous markets worldwide. 3. Campbell & Company Managed Futures Fund (CMFAX): Campbell & Company is an experienced investment manager specializing in managed futures investments. The CMFAX fund employs a multi-strategy approach that combines systematic trend-following, value, and carry strategies across a broad range of global futures markets, including equity indexes, fixed income, currencies, and commodities. This approach aims to provide investors with potential for attractive returns, portfolio diversification, and reduced risk exposure during uncertain market conditions. These examples showcase the various ways managed futures can be employed in investment portfolios, offering investors the potential for diversification and the ability to generate gains in a wide range of market environments.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What are Managed Futures?
Managed Futures refer to an investment strategy where professional portfolio managers, often known as Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs), trade futures contracts or options on futures contracts, managing the funds on behalf of their clients. These trading advisors use a variety of trading strategies, including trend-following, arbitrage, and market-neutral strategies, to optimize returns and manage risks.
What asset classes do Managed Futures invest in?
Managed Futures invest in a wide range of asset classes, including commodities, currencies, equity indices, fixed income, and other financial futures contracts. This diversified investment allows for potential growth opportunities across different markets and sectors.
What are the benefits of investing in Managed Futures?
Managed Futures offer several benefits, including portfolio diversification, low correlation with traditional assets, potential for consistent returns in various market conditions, and professional management by experienced traders. Additionally, they can provide risk management through their ability to go long or short on various financial instruments.
How do Managed Futures differ from traditional investments like stocks and bonds?
Managed Futures differ from traditional investments as they allow for long and short positions, providing flexibility to profit from both rising and falling markets. Also, they have a low correlation with traditional assets, making them an excellent tool for diversification and risk management within a diversified portfolio.
Are Managed Futures suitable for all types of investors?
Managed Futures may not be suitable for all investors due to their unique characteristics, high potential for returns, and associated risks. Investors should carefully assess their risk tolerance, financial goals, and investment knowledge before considering Managed Futures as part of their portfolio.
How can investors access Managed Futures investment?
Investors can access Managed Futures investments through various channels, such as managed accounts, pooled investment vehicles like commodity pools, and mutual funds. Additionally, some exchanges offer futures trading for individual investors who wish to trade futures contracts themselves.
What are the risks associated with Managed Futures investments?
Some risks associated with Managed Futures investments include market risk, leverage risk, liquidity risk, counterparty risk, and regulatory risk. It’s essential for investors to understand these risks and consult with financial professionals before investing in Managed Futures.
How do Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs) generate returns in Managed Futures?
CTAs generate returns in Managed Futures by employing systematic or discretionary trading strategies based on technical analysis, fundamental analysis, or a combination of both. They utilize various statistical models, trend-following techniques, and risk management tools to optimize their investment strategy and generate returns for their clients.
What are the fees associated with Managed Futures investments?
Fees associated with Managed Futures investments typically include management fees, performance (incentive) fees, and brokerage fees. Management fees are usually based on a percentage of the assets under management, while performance fees are based on a percentage of the net profits generated by the CTA. Brokerage fees cover the cost of executing trades on behalf of the investor.
How can investors monitor the performance of their Managed Futures investments?
Investors can generally monitor their Managed Futures investments through periodic performance reports provided by the Commodity Trading Advisor (CTA) or the investment vehicle’s sponsor. These reports typically include detailed information on the investment’s performance, including returns, risk metrics, and strategy updates. Additionally, some Managed Futures investments may also provide investors with online access to view their account information and performance data.

Related Finance Terms

  • Commodity Trading Advisors (CTAs)
  • Systematic Trading Strategies
  • Diversified Portfolio
  • Risk Management
  • Performance Metrics

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