Hedge Fund Highlights: Warren Buffett, Bill Ackman & Richard Gerson

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Buffett has big lead in bet against hedge funds (CNBC.com)
With four years remaining, Warren Buffett has a commanding lead in a decade-long bet that put a low-fee stock index fund up against a portfolio of high-priced hedge funds. Buffett put his money behind his long-held argument that “experts” don’t do better than the stock market as a whole. It’s the basis of his argument that the fees “helpers” charge investors usually aren’t justified. In a piece written by long-time Buffett friend Carol Loomis, Fortune reports that after six years the fund Buffett selected for the wager, the Vanguard 500 Index Fund Admiral Shares, was up 43.8 percent at the end of 2013.

Berkshire Hathaway

Herbalife Detractors Meet With FTC to Press Ackman Pyramid Claim (Bloomberg)
A Latino advocacy group supporting hedge-fund manager Bill Ackman’s claim that Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF) is a pyramid scheme said it met with a federal regulator yesterday to push for an investigation of the nutrition maker. The League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, met with U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez to detail alleged abuses, it said. At an earlier press conference, LULAC said Herbalife deceives Latinos and other disadvantaged consumers with false promises of wealth and success. Peter Kaplan, a spokesman for the agency, declined to comment or confirm the meeting’s content.

Falcon Edge Raises $75M For New Hedge Fund (FINalternatives)
Falcon Edge Capital founder and CIO Richard Gerson has launched on and offshore versions of his new hedge fund with $75 million, according to regulatory filings. The Falcon Sovereign Fund carries a $100,000 minimum investment. Gerson launched Falcon Edge, a long-short equity, global markets-­focused hedge fund firm, with $1.2 billion in 2012 along with Eton Park vets Navroz Udwadia and James Minshull.

2013′s best hedge fund manager still picking winners (MarketWatch)
We recently published our list of 2013’s best hedge fund managers. Michael Castor was at the top of the list because he picked eight stocks for us during four different interviews and five of those stocks returned more than 100% in under six months. We track a lot of hedge funds and we have never seen anything like this. Yesterday, his last pick in 2013, Furiex Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:FURX), surged 130%. Furiex was a binary outcome play and Castor got a little bit lucky but this is what investing is. You make calculated bets where the odds are on your side.

Hedge Funds Preparing for $1 Trillion Property Bill: Mortgages (Bloomberg)
Hedge funds are zeroing in on America’s malls and hotels. Axonic Capital LLC, LibreMax Capital LLC and Saba Capital Management LP are among firms positioning to provide loans as more than $1 trillion in commercial real-estate debt originated before the property crash comes due over the next three years, aiming to bridge the gap for borrowers needing more cash than banks are willing to lend. “New participants are capitalizing on that void,” said Richard Hill, an analyst at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), who said he’s surprised by the range of investors entering the market.

Wealth addiction hits global 1% (CNBC.com)

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