Q3 2023 Commentary

Q3 2023 Commentary

The Variant Alternative Income Fund (the “Fund” or “NICHX) returned +2.29% over the third quarter of 2023 in a period marked by uncertainty in the equity markets, falling bond prices, and higher prevailing interest rates. NICHX outperformed investment grade bonds, high yield corporate debt, and hedge fund indices over the quarter, as well as YTD. As for net 1-year returns, the Fund outperformed investment grade bonds and hedge fund indices while trailing high yield corporate debt.


Source:  Bloomberg

Regarding longer-term annualized performance, NICHX continues to show strong performance over the three and five-year intervals, attaining net returns of +9.99% and +9.60%, respectively, far outperforming investment grade bonds, high yield corporate bonds, and hedge fund indices over those periods.


In terms of performance attribution, the Fund experienced broad positive contributions across the majority of positions in the portfolio. The Fund benefited from core niche exposures, with specialty finance, transportation finance and royalties providing the largest positive impact to returns over the quarter. No asset class provided a negative contribution to performance in the 3rd quarter.

As for changes in portfolio positioning, Variant continued to invest capital into current and new positions. The Fund made additional investments with partners across areas of the market including loans to charged-off debt buyers, royalties, medical receivables, and aircraft leasing. Regarding new investments, the Fund made initial investments across litigation finance and transportation finance. In the litigation finance bucket, the Fund structured a credit facility backed by employment and consumer class action fees for settled cases, as well as structured an SPV to provide senior capital secured by a portfolio of six patent litigation cases. On the transportation finance side, the Fund deployed capital into Fund IV of a current partner that invests in mid-life aircrafts and aircraft engines and sale-leasebacks.

Assets under management grew over the quarter by $187 million and ended the quarter at $2,900 million. For the year, assets under management have increased by $749 million. Liquidity management remains a key focus given the underlying private exposures and the current market environment.  As of September 30th, the Fund could access an estimated 31.4% of its investments over a 12-month period.

The Fund paid out its dividend and executed another redemption offering.  This redemption offer fulfilled 100% of client requests without proration, as has been the case throughout the Fund’s history.

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Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

Inception date is October 2, 2017.  Returns are net total returns.  Between October 2017 and September 2018, performance is quoted for the Variant Alternative Income Fund LP, the predecessor private fund that converted into the interval fund.  The predecessor fund was, in all material respects, equivalent to the interval fund.  The private fund track record was adjusted to reflect the interval fund’s estimated expenses and expense limitations.  Specifically, it reflects a management fee of 0.95% and fund expenses capped at 0.50%.  The track record uses geometric returns and reflects the reinvestment of earnings.  Results are unaudited.

“IG bonds” & “BBG Agg ” refer to the Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Index, which is a broad-based flagship benchmark that measures the investment-grade, U.S. dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market. “High yield” & “BBG HY” refer to the Bloomberg U.S. High Yield Index, which measures the U.S. dollar-denominated, high yield, fixed-rate corporate bond market. “Hedge funds” & “HFRXGL” refer to the HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index, which is designed to be representative of the overall composition of the hedge fund universe.  “Equity” & “S&P 500” refer to the S&P 500® Index, which is a market-value weighted index of equity securities.  Please note:  The referenced indices are shown for general market comparisons.  Investors cannot directly invest in an index and unmanaged index returns do not reflect any fees, expenses or transaction costs.  Reference indices are provided for illustrative purposes only.  There are no known published benchmarks or indices comparable to the investment strategies of the Fund.

The Variant Alternative Income Fund is a continuously-offered, non-diversified, registered closed-end fund with limited liquidity. There is no guarantee the Fund will achieve its objective.  An investment in the Fund should only be made by investors who understand the risks involved, who are able to withstand the loss of the entire amount invested and who can bear the risks associated with the limited liquidity of Shares.  A prospective investor must meet the definition of “accredited investor” under Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933. 

Important Risks: Shares are an illiquid investment. You should generally not expect to be able to sell your Shares (other than through the repurchase process), regardless of how the Fund performs. Although the Fund is required to implement a Share repurchase program only a limited number of Shares will be eligible for repurchase by the Fund.

An investment in the Fund is speculative, involves substantial risks, including the risk that the entire amount invested may be lost, and should not constitute a complete investment program. The Fund may leverage its investments by borrowing, use of swap agreements, options or other derivative instruments. The Fund is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company, meaning it may be more susceptible to any single economic or regulatory occurrence than a diversified investment company. In addition, the fund is subject to investment related risks of the underlying funds, general economic and market condition risk.

Alternative investments provide limited liquidity and include, among other things, the risks inherent in investing in securities, futures, commodities and derivatives, using leverage and engaging in short sales.  The Fund’s investment performance depends, at least in part, on how its assets are allocated and reallocated among asset classes and strategies. Such allocation could result in the Fund holding asset classes or investments that perform poorly or underperform.  Investments and investment transactions are subject to various counterparty risks. The counterparties to transactions in over the-counter or “inter-dealer” markets are typically subject to lesser credit evaluation and regulatory oversight compared to members of “exchange-based” markets. This may increase the risk that a counterparty will not settle a transaction because of a credit or liquidity problem, thus causing the Fund to suffer losses.  The Fund and its service providers may be prone to operational and information security risks resulting from breaches in cyber security.  A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption, or lose operational capacity.


Foreside Fund Services, LLC, distributor.