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Hedge Fund News: John Taylor, William Ackman, Louis Bacon

Why the CEO of the Largest FX Hedge Fund is a Euro-Permabear (StreetInsider)
John Taylor, founder and CEO of the world’s largest currency hedge fund FX Concepts, told Bloomberg Television he’ll “probably always be a bear on the euro” and that “it is hard to look at the European situation and see a cloudy sky become clear. Much more likely that cloudy sky will start to rain on you.” The reason the euro is up, says Taylor, is because the dollar is down, and it’s all thanks to Draghi and Bernanke. “Normally equities correlate very highly with risk on and risk on correlates very highly with dollar weakness. So wanting to strengthen the equity market means you want to weaken the dollar, so therefore for those kinds of things go along with each other,” said Taylor.


P&G’s Stumbles Put CEO On Hot Seat for Turnaround (WSJ)
On Sept. 4, Robert McDonald, chairman and chief executive of The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) -0.42% finally met the hedge-fund manager who began making his life difficult this summer. William Ackman greeted him with a 75-page litany of complaints about his three years at the helm of the consumer-products giant—poor results, eroding investor confidence and sagging employee morale, according to several people familiar with the meeting. Mr. Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management LP had bought $1.8 billion worth of P&G stock in June and July, capped the roughly 90-minute get-together in downtown Manhattan, these people said, with a pitch aimed more at the two P&G board members in attendance, The Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) +1.25% Chief Executive James McNerney Jr. and American Express Co. AXP -1.73% CEO Kenneth Chenault: Strip Mr. McDonald of his board-chairman role and search for a new CEO.

Hyaline Capital launches macro-driven long/short equity hedge fund (Opalesque)
Hyaline Capital Management recently launched a top-down, macro-driven long/short equity hedge fund, domiciled in Delaware. The new investment firm is located on Fifth Avenue in New York. In an email sent to Opalesque, Hyaline’s co-founder Justin Meadlin said the fund’s focus is on macro and sector investments via ETFs as well as single stock selection across industries, with a particular focus on the consumer, retail, industrial and financial sectors.

Nordic hedge fund investors more demanding, sophisticated (Opalesque)
Nordic investors demand openness, lucidity and clear line of communication from their hedge fund managers or they will walk out the door, a participant at the Opalesque Nordic Roundtable said. …Markus Rudling, Head of Salus Alpha in the Nordic region said, “Even before the financial crisis, information, communication and transparency have been really key for the Nordic investor community. If you cannot communicate, if you cannot open up, if you cannot have a muted discussion, you will not have any investors, irrespective of what kind of performance you have or model or strategy you run. If the investors and the seller do not meet in the middle, nothing will happen.”

Hedge Fund CEO Pleads Guilty to Multi-Million-Dollar Investment Fraud (ImperialValleyNews)
The former CEO of the hedge fund management company Osiris Partners LLC admitted today to conspiring with others to defraud investors of more than $4 million, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. Michael J. Spak, 44, of Chesterfield, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez in Camden federal court to an information charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Harcourt expands Asian alternatives distribution team (InvestmentEurope)
Harcourt Investment Consulting has boosted its alternative product distribution strategy in Asia by hiring Claire Liou, as the region’s own hedge fund industry continues its climb back from losses and outflows in the 2008 global crisis. Liou will be based in Hong Kong and report to Ulrich Behm, CEO of Vontobel Asia Pacific. Harcourt is part of Switzerland’s Vontobel group. She worked previous in business development roles at Vision Investment Management and Haitong International Asset Management.

UK regulator outlines areas where hedge fund managers need to improve (HedgeFundsReview)
“Hedge fund managers, like all asset managers, are not immune to supervisory changes that are happening in our move to the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority] and our new approach to supervision,” said Fiona Bissett, manager, alternative investment team at the Financial Service Authority (FSA). The FSA is set to split early next year and the FCA will take over regulation of the asset management industry, including hedge fund managers.

FSA to do all it can to help hedge fund managers implement AIFM directive (HedgeFundsReview)
The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) has said it will make full use of the transposition arrangements under the alternative investment fund managers (AIFM) directive to help hedge funds meet requirements once the directive is implemented in July next year. The directive “was negotiated at speed in a highly charged political environment and, even now less than a year before implementation, we have a scary position where there remains uncertainty on some substantial points”, said Sheila Nicoll, director of policy, conduct of business unit at the FSA. The final draft of the Level 2 measures, which will set out the details for how the directive will be implemented, are expected by the end of September.

Lowest Number of Hedge Funds at High-Water Mark Since 2003 (InstitutionalInvestor)
When hedge fund investors next week start learning about how their fund fared in the third quarter, most likely they will be satisfied that they made a decent amount of money for a change given the strong summer rally. Others will just be relieved that their fund rose back above its high-water mark. For according to HFR, as of June 2012, 43 percent of the funds that comprise its broad-based HFRI Fund Weighted Composite Index had reached their respective high-water marks over the trailing 12 months.

Hedge Fund Pivot Joins BTG to Defy Bacon’s Investment Desert (SFGate)
Carl George’s $1.7 billion hedge fund at Pivot Capital Management Ltd. rose 17 percent in 2011 after he predicted a surprise interest rate cut in Brazil. …The winning streak puts his Monaco-based firm in a select group: Macro hedge funds that have consistently made money since the start of 2011. Over that period, most of the traders who investors pay the most to profit from global economic trends have been confounded by Europe’s debt crisis and uncertainty over how a slowdown in China would affect growth. Macro firms on average have posted losses amid markets Moore Capital Management LLC founder Louis Bacon says resemble an “investment desert.”

Hedge-fund managers face lower pay in wake of weak returns (NYPost)
Warning to all Mercedes dealers: hedge fund bonuses could be tight this year. Many money managers are looking at lower pay — in the form of performance fees — as tepid returns for 2012 fail to make up for last year’s steep losses. As of the end of the second quarter, only 43 percent of hedge funds had cleared a performance hurdle known as high-water marks over the past 12 months, according to data from fund tracker Hedge Fund Research. For many, those that fail to hit their marks by the end of the year will forgo their usual fee of 20 percent of profits until clients have recovered from losses.

Here’s What This $5 Billion Hedge Fund Company Has Been Buying (DailyFinance)
Every quarter, many money managers have to disclose what they’ve bought and sold, via 13-F filings. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks. Today let’s look at one of the biggest hedge fund companies, Eton Park, founded by Eric Mindich in 2004. Mindich had spent 15 years at Goldman Sachs before that, becoming, at age 27, its youngest partner. Mindich invests in both long and short positions on stocks and in private equity investments and specializes in merger arbitrage. He reportedly nearly tripled the value of Eton Park in its first seven years but has posted some bumpy results lately, causing some shareholders to pull out. …New holdings include Ireland-based biotech concern Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE:ELN), which is planning to spin off its drug discovery business.

Strategists’ ETF Investing Guide for Q4 2012 (InAudit)
As the adage goes, “bull markets climb a wall of worry.” The robust stock market rally this year took the bears, retail investors and hedge fund managers alike by surprise. The world’s largest ETF,SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ), advanced 16% year to date, while mutual fund investors pulled money out of stocks in favor of bonds and most hedge funds underperformed the market. What should ETF investors do now? We asked several ETF portfolio managers for their read on the market and their best ETF investing idea for the fourth quarter. Matt Reiner, portfolio manager at Wela Strategies in Atlanta with $1 billion under management: “We remain moderately bullish heading into fourth quarter as we think that some certainty created by the election coming to a close will help propel equities to a small rally to end the year.”

Asia hedge funds suffer shortage of legal talent (AsianInvestor)
Demand is rising among hedge fund managers in Asia for experts to tackle the growing volume and complexity of regulatory, legal and compliance requirements*. In the past, only the largest firms would have in-house staff in this area, but that is changing fast. …There is an increase in both local regulation in Asia – such as Singapore’s new fund manager regime – and international requirements, such as the US’s incoming Commodity Futures Trading Commission rules and Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca).

Jack Cavanaugh: Hedge fund doesn’t need a hand-out (StamfordAdvocate)
Nobody Asked Me, But: – Why in the world is Gov. Dannel Malloy and his administration offering more than $100 million in tax breaks and other incentives to the world’s biggest and richest hedge fund so that it can put up an office building on choice South End waterfront property that’s restricted for use as a working boatyard, when the founder and head of the firm is the richest person in Connecticut and the 33rd wealthiest American? According to Forbes magazine’s latest list of the 400 richest Americans, the wealth of Greenwich resident Ray Dalio grew from $6.5 billion in 2010 to $10 billion last year, which would seem to indicate that he doesn’t need a hand-out from Connecticut taxpayers in his effort to move his business from Westport to Stamford.

Palmer Square Capital Management adds institutional marketer (PIOnline)
Emily Colella joined hedge funds-of-funds and hedged mutual fund manager Palmer Square Capital Management as managing director, business development. The position is new. Ms. Colella will work to expand Palmer Square’s presence in the institutional marketplace in this new position, said Christopher D. Long, Palmer Square president and managing director, in an interview. Ms. Colella will be based in Kansas City, Mo.

How to Ace a Hedge Fund Interview (HedgeCo)
“Then you don’t have anything to remember,” said Mitch Ackles, President of the Hedge Fund Association and CEO of Hedge Fund PR. “Make sure that everything is truthful and above board. Be completely clear if you’ve ever had any black marks on your record, if you’ve ever had any disciplinary actions from a regulatory agency. Be very clear. Be honest and upfront about everything.” Ackles said that job seekers should thoroughly investigate the firm that they want to work for. “Learn everything you can about the firm’s culture,” Ackles advised. “See if they have a LinkedIn group. See if there are press releases. See if there’s a sense of their corporate approaches, how well they treat their employees. Be informed going in, that is vitally important.”

Wide interest in Rae’s resort (TheAustralian)
HEDGE fund managers from New York, cashed up couples from Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai plus a couple of wealthy local pub barons are expressing interest in buying the Byron Bay boutique hotel Rae’s on Watego’s, according to owner Vincent Rae. Mr Rae, 50, is selling the seven-room hotel — which has hosted entertainment legends such as Keith Richards, Lenny Kravitz and Pink — after 21 years. He plans to leave Australia to develop a chain of entertainment complexes in the Indonesian archipelago and will divide his time between Southeast Asia and Barcelona, where he plans to buy a house and start a family.

Technology Helps Boost Hedge Fund Marketing (Finalternatives)
For the bulk of 2012, institutional investors have continued to re-allocate capital away from the traditional asset management space and into alternatives. Both private equity and hedge funds are reaching their pre-2008 crisis AUM watermarks. Record low interest rates, political and economic uncertainty and increasing liabilities are forcing many pension/ERISA plans, foundations, endowments and other institutional investors away from beta driven strategies and into more un-correlated, lower volatility strategies. So far in 2012, over $20 billion of new capital has flown into the hedge fund space with total assets at approximately $2.1 trillion, according to July data from research firm HFR.

Winton Capital expands Asia-related activities with Lyxor (InvestmentEurope)
Winton Capital, one of Europe’s most popular fund managers last year, has expanded its activities in Asia by providing research consulting to the first computer-driven fund in China. The Hong Kong subsidiary of the world’s largest computer-driven hedge fund manager is acting as a research consultant to the new strategy, which was launched by Shanghai-based Fortune SG Fund Management Co, which has about RMB 36bn assets, and European management house Lyxor Asset Management.

Woodbine Capital Fails To Build On July Gains In August (ValueWalk)
Woodbine Capital Advisors LLC, which began full operations in 2009, was down in the month of August, after failing to build on the gains realized during the month of July, and after experiencing a disappointing month in June. Woodbine capital reported a 0.32% decline in August, contrary to its July gains of 2.96%, the highest monthly gain in nearly two years. The New York-based hedge fund had reported underwhelming results in June, after the fund declined by 2.13%. The fund is up close to 3% for the year. Woodbine Capital LLC states that most of the losses were due to a short euro positions, wiping out any significant gains reported from long positions held on short-term Spanish and Italian debts. The hedge fund literally struck gold on long positions held in European Equities and Gold, albeit detracting long positions in front end U.K interest rates.

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