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Axel Capital’s Anna Nikolayevsky Is Betting Big on Lithium Production

Even though the hedge fund industry is supposed to be driven solely by talent and based on meritocracy, women in the industry are pretty rare. One of the reasons is that women are not as attracted to hedge funds as men, but there also a lot of issues that stem from gender inequality and unfair treatment. Nevertheless, there are many women who are employed at top management positions at various investment firms and even some women who launched their own hedge funds. One of the latter is Anna Nikolayevsky, who founded Axel Capital and is currently the fund’s Chief Investment Officer.

Anna Nikolayevsky graduated with a B.S. degree from the NYU’s Stern School of Business and obtained her MBA at Columbia University. She joined Goldman Sachs Large Cap Value Fund, where she covered autos, semiconductors, software and utilities. She also worked at Zweig-DiMenna Associates as an analyst, sourcing and managing long/short equity investments. In 2011, Nikolayevsky was named one of 50 Leading Women in Hedge Funds by Ernst & Young.

In 2002, Nikolayevsky founded Axel Capital, a long/short equity hedge fund that currently has over $82 million in regulatory assets under management. Axel Capital, which is also led by Anastasia Jeanne Venetos-Wahl its Chief Compliance Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer, generated solid annualized returns of 11.3% between 2002 and 2011, posting solid gains of over 20% in both 2008 and 2009. Under Nikolayevsky’s leadership, Axel Capital was awarded a Lipper Award for Best North American Long/Short Equity Fund in 2010. Axel also won the Investor’s Choice award for Emerging Fund of 2015 and for the Emerging Global Equity fund of 2015.

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In its latest 13F filing, Axel Capital disclosed an equity portfolio worth $152.10 million in its latest 13F filing. The largest portion of the portfolio is allocated to the Financial sector, which amassed nearly 45% of the value at the end of September, although this is mainly due to the fund’s large position in SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:SPY), which is worth around $64 million. The Materials sector has the second-largest share of over 30%, followed by the Technology and Consumer sectors.

Even though Nikolayevsky invested nearly a half of Axel Capital’s 13F portfolio in an S&P 500-tracking ETF, her other stock picks significantly underperformed the Index, according to our calculations. We estimate a fund’s returns by taking into account the performance of the fund’s long positions in companies with a market cap over $1.0 billion. Axel Capital’s picks gained 6.4% in the first six months of 2017, compared to the S&P 500’s 8.20% return. For the 12-month period ended June 30, the fund’s long positions posted a weighted average return of 4.9%, compared to the Index’s growth of 19%.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the top positions from Axel Capital’s last 13F filings, in which the fund made changes of over 10% during the third quarter.

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