Hedge Fund News: Warren Buffett, T Boone Pickens & George Soros

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Passive funds an active threat for Europe’s fund managers (Reuters)
Warren Buffett built a fortune of nearly $60 billion from astute stock picking, but when the 83-year-old dies, the vast majority of the money he leaves his wife will be parked in a fund that simply moves in step with an index. The afterlife plans of the man nicknamed the Sage of Omaha, revealed in a letter to his investors earlier this year, underline a sea change afoot in the investment industry. Fed up with high fees and poor performance, investors are increasingly shunning active fund managers who promise to beat the stock market in favour of cheaper, passive funds, which simply track it.

hedge funds vs. mutual funds

Listed Swiss hedge fund of funds outperforms with 3.43% returns in first half of 2014 (Opalesque)
Swiss alternative investment company ALTIN AG outperformed in the first half of this year and posted 3.43% returns as at end June 30. Comparatively, the HFRI Fund of Funds Composite Index managed 1.53% gains while the MSCI World Hedged index posted 3.36% returns during the same period. In its half year result sent to investors, ALTIN said the first six months of the year were characterized by a strong and somewhat renewed appetite for yield, a forceful rotation from growth/momentum-driven stocks to value stocks and by heightened geopolitical risk emanating from Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East.

Illinois puts $1.1 billion to work right away (PIOnline)
Teachers’ Retirement System of the State of Illinois, Springfield, kicked off its 2015 fiscal year with investments and commitments totaling $1.1 billion and set the stage to tactically deploy at least another $1 billion with real estate and hedge fund managers. The system’s longest-tenured manager, Pacific Investment Management Co., Newport Beach, Calif., was awarded $500 million for management in a new strategic partnership by trustees of the $45.3 billion fund. PIMCO will manage the allocation in a customized strategy that will invest in corporate and mortgage-related credit opportunities globally with an annual net return target between 10% and 12%.

BlackRock powers up a hedge fund unit (PIOnline)
BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK), the world’s largest money manager, is creating a hedge fund boutique within its vast investment management empire. It is Carl Eifler’s mission to push BlackRock from being almost an accidental hedge fund manager — albeit a really big one — with an eclectic array of funds to a powerhouse that spans the full spectrum of hedge fund strategies. Mr. Eifler, managing director, said he has been working to “offer a small-firm atmosphere wherever the hedge fund (portfolio manager) is located within BlackRock.” He was named head of the hedge fund direct strategies group within the BlackRock alternative investments unit in March 2013.

Boone Reborn: Rediscovering life at 85 (ForbesIndia)
A board his Gulfstream G550, T Boone Pick- ens—legendary trader, corporate raider, energy visionary and billion-dollar philanthropist—slides off his shoes and reaches down to grab his feet. He’s got a surprise in store. Pulling his legs up onto the thick leather seat, he tucks himself into lotus position, as if getting ready to meditate. It’s proof that he’s still got it: Physical strength, stamina, ability. A future. “He’s the most flexible man I’ve ever known,” Pickens’s wife, Toni Brinker, says with a wry smile.

A look back at the world’s biggest market crises (CNBC)

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