Hedge Fund News: David Tepper, David Simon, Citigroup Inc.

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APPALOOSA MANAGEMENT LPHedge Fund Manager David Tepper’s Bet on Hartford Financial (YCharts)
It doesn’t seem likely that Superstorm Sandy, which wreaked havoc across the Northeastern U.S. coastal regions little over a month ago, will claim Hartford Financial Services Group Inc (NYSE:HIG) as one of its casualties. True, the insurance giant has exposure to the massive losses incurred across the region – but a relatively small amount of the possibly $20 billion of insured losses, cushioned by the fact that the Hartford is a diversified insurer, whose business lines include life insurance as well as property and casualty, which does business not only in the United States but also Japan, and which also offers mutual funds. Since Sandy, however, the Hartford is lagging a broad index of its giant peers, as seen in a stock chart, in spite of a big vote of confidence by hedge fund manager David Tepper. Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management, tripled his stake in the Hartford during the third quarter according to SEC filings, and now owns more than 3.6 million shares.

Orangefield Group Acquires Columbus Avenue (Reuters)
Orangefield Group, a global service provider of administration, management and trust services announced it has acquired leading hedge fund administrator Columbus Avenue Consulting LLC. The division will officially operate under the Orangefield-Columbus brand. Orangefield-Columbus has over $25 billion in assets under administration. Clients will continue to work with their same management teams and benefit from a global suite of operational capabilities and services. Entering into North America with a hedge fund focus is a strategic choice. To maximize the level of service to clients worldwide, Orangefield takes on a very focused expansion approach. According to Joep Bruins, CEO of Orangefield, the acquisition of Columbus Avenue is a perfect example of that approach.

S. Korea’s Hedge Fund Industry Grows Sevenfold (CRI)
S. Korea’s hedge fund industry has grown sevenfold over the past year since the so-called Korea-style hedge fund was introduced in December 2011, the financial regulator said Thursday. Assets managed by homegrown hedge funds reached 1,017.5 billion won (940 million U.S. dollars) in November, sevenfold from 149 billion won in December last year, according to the Financial Services Commission (FSC). The number of hedge funds rose to 19 last month from 12 in December 2011 when those homegrown hedge funds were licensed for the first time in the country’s history.

Hedge Funds Bullish as India Banks’ Premium Double Peers (Businessweek)
Indian bank debt offering almost double the yield premium of global lenders is attracting hedge funds impressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reaction to the threat of a junk credit rating. Finisterre Capital LLP is betting on a decline in bond risk for State Bank of India (SBIN) Ltd. and Bank of India Ltd., while Observatory Capital Management LLP bought dollar-denominated notes of ICICI Bank Ltd. (ICICIBC) The nation’s corporate debt yields 353 basis points more than Treasuries, according to a JPMorgan Chase & Co. index of 55 issuers, including 39 lenders. The spread on global banks is 181, a Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) index shows.

South Africa’s hedge fund landscape driven by institutional demand (Opalesque)
South Africa has long been considered one of the less risky, more defensive emerging market plays for investors. The country offers a diverse economy, and relatively strong exports that are not solely reliant on a specific natural resource. These themes extend into its growing hedge fund industry, which saw early interest from institutions through the fund of funds structure. Taken together, the needs of institutions and fund of funds have institutionalized this market early, making new entrants organically less risky and lower in volatility if they wish to respond to the expectations of investors in the country.

Paulson official says real estate fund performing well (eFinancialNews)
A $298.4m real estate fund managed by Paulson & Co. would be worth as much as twice the total amount invested if the properties were sold today, a Paulson official said at the fund’s annual meeting in Manhattan yesterday. The fund has made 11 land purchases and acquired two hotel portfolios. But Paulson said at the meeting that he was not interested in cashing much out today. He believes the fund could return several times its initial investment as the housing market continues to rebound.

Man Group Hires Makena’s John Rohal as North America Chairman (Bloomberg)
Man Group Plc (EMG), the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund manager, hired John Rohal as its first-ever executive chairman for North America as the London- based firm seeks growth outside the U.K. Rohal joins on Jan. 1 from Menlo Park, California-based Makena Capital Management LLC, where he oversees the firm’s public equity and so-called tactical hedged equity investments, Man Group said in a statement today. Rohal will help develop the company’s products for the U.S. market and “deepen Man’s relationships” with institutional clients such as pension funds, foundations and family offices, the statement said.

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