Anson Funds’ Moez Kassam Invests in the Promise of People

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    Moez Kassam is the co-founder of Canada-based hedge fund, Anson Funds. Since 2007, Kassam has grown Anson Funds to manage over $1.4 billion in assets and built a reputation as a talented stock picker. Yet, Kassam’s picks extend beyond the financial markets. Through his philanthropic endeavors, he has also placed winning bets on organizations helping people achieve their dreams, and turn their lives around.

    Kassam and Anson Funds have recently garnered attention for the fund’s returns. For example, BarclayHedge’s, Barclay Managed Funds Report, selected Anson Funds for a number of rewards. BarclayHedge ranked the fund 4th among its top performing long/short equity hedge funds for 3-year Compound Annual Return in 2022, 3rd for 3-year Compound Annual Return in 2021, and 7th for 2020 Annual Return. Anson Funds has also been recognized as a top-performing investment manager by Barron’s, Bloomberg and HedgeWeek.

    Anson Funds uses various metrics and indicators to track market trends. Implementing these tools, the firm seeks to maximize returns through three core investment strategies: classic shorts, value longs and opportunistic investments. Together those strategies form the Anson Investments Master-Fund which comprises a substantial portion of its total assets under management.

    The returns mentioned above are particularly uncommon because the fund has continued to perform regardless of the market environment. As Kassam explained in a recent interview with Reuters, “[2022] was easier for shorting because the economic environment felt like a headwind to the whole market, instead of the tailwind seen in previous years. Shorts have been impossible for years.” The article continues by highlighting some of Kassam’s winners for 2022.

    To achieve success as a portfolio manager, Kassam relentlessly researches companies, securities, and other investments to identify opportunities the market may be overlooking. A key component to his research is archived through networking. Kassam networks with leaders from business, politics and other members of society to develop his market view. Kassam is also always consulting economists, academics, other professionals, industry leaders and those on the ground to find diligence to support a trade. He is active and highly involved in Anson Funds’ investment decisions.

    There are similarities between Kassam’s philosophy as an investor and his approach to philanthropy. Just as he may be more optimistic about a company’s prospects than the market, Kassam believes some individuals and communities can achieve more with the right support. He and his wife, Marissa Kassam, have made multi-million dollar donations through the Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation to have such an impact in Toronto and other communities worldwide.

    For Kassam, business and philanthropy go together. Prosperity and good fortune present a responsibility to give back, he says, as well as rewarding opportunities to make a transformational difference in the lives of real people. The Moez & Marissa Kassam Foundation supports organizations that impact the following primary areas of focus: food and shelter, healthcare and research, youth development and education, marginalized groups, immigration, and arts and culture.

    The Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation’s recent $2.5 million donation to Ontario’s Sinai Health Foundation is a prime example of a life-saving healthcare initiative. The gift will allow Sinai Health to bring its world-leading program for women and infants to communities across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka through the launch of a new fellowship program.

    Moez and Marissa Kassam Fellows will be selected for an opportunity to learn from experts in the Frances Bloomberg Centre for Women’s and Infants’ Health at Sinai Health in Toronto. The goal is for Fellows to return to home with training and skills that strengthen neonatal services in their communities.

    The Foundation also donated $1 million to the Michael Garron Hospital in 2021, and actively supports the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, SickKids VS Limits Campaign, the Canadian Foundation for AIDS research, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

    The below provides a quick look into various organizations that the foundation has supported – providing a wholistic picture of where the Kassam’s hope to facilitate making a chance.

    In the food category, the foundation supports Community Food Centres Canada, which focuses on bringing health, a sense of belonging, and social justice to low-income communities across Canada. In 2020, CFCC served a total of 183,153 meals across Canada.

    Similar to the above, Summerlunch+ is another initiative the Moez and Marissa Kassam Foundation has supported. As a nutritional educational program, Summerlunch+ provides healthy meals to students during summer vacation while teaching cooking skills that will last a lifetime. Since 2016, Summerlunch+ has delivered over 100,000 meals to children attending summer camps in Toronto.

    The Foundation also supports MakeWay, an organization founded by a small group of philanthropists whose goal was to foster a healthy planet and a just Canadian society. MakeWay now has a regional presence in Manitoba, Northern Canada, Western Canada and Ontario with over 60 community-led projects.

    Other than food, another area which focuses on the basic needs for people is the need for shelter. Fred Victor Center focuses on the homeless and low-income populations living across Ontario. The organization provides various supportive services to aid people in need to not only receive immediate help, but to help them carve a new path to their lives. These services do not just include affordable and transitional housing they provide food access and job and training services as well.

    Another organization in the same sector as Fred Victor Center and is also supported by the foundation is Homes First. It is an organization that targets communities that may be marginalized, and without bias assists them while seeking permanent and safe shelter. The organization has been around for 35 years, and since then has grown to operate 15 shelters.

    The School Opportunity Fund (SOF) is a charitable initiative established by the Marissa and Moez Foundation. Its aim is to provide financial support to underprivileged students to help them pursue their education and achieve their full potential. The SOF provides funding for tuition fees, books, and other educational expenses, thereby reducing the financial burden on students and their families. With this support, students can focus on their studies and achieve their goals, leading to a brighter future for themselves and their communities. The SOF is a commendable effort by the Marissa and Moez Kassam Foundation to promote education and give back to society.

    Similarly, the Foundation is an active supporter of Camp Ooch and Camp Trillium,  which is a charity that supports kids who are affected by cancer through administering year-round programs that are in-hospital. One of the three Camp Ooch sites includes Ooch Muskoka which is the only overnight oncology camp in Canada which is able to provide onsite IV chemotherapy and blood transfusions.

    The final category that we will explore here is immigration. The Kassam’s see the importance of immigration to the nation, and the importance of assisting the people coming in and setting them up to actually thrive in a new environment. The foundation is a National Building Circle Donor for the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC).

    Windmill Microlending, is a registered charity serving newcomers. Windmill Microlending is backed by the private sector, but also the public sector as the Government of Canada, and the Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec provincial governments are all proud supporters. The charity provides capital via microloans to skilled immigrants in order for them to continue the careers they had worked for, in Canada. This allows for them to continue to progress, rather than regress in their careers even after relocating.

    As made clear above, Moez Kassam is not only a skilled investor but also a philanthropist with focused efforts to make a difference in many areas. The synergies of both of Kassam’s passions make him who he is.

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