SEC v. FINRA, Robinson Launches Altana Fund, Activist Funds

Lee Robinson’s Altana Wealth Launches Hedge Fund (HFMWeek)

New investment management firm Altana Wealth, started by Lee Robinson, one of the co-founders of Trafalgar Asset Managers, has launched a hedge fund designed to protect investors from defaults by debtor nations. The Altana Sovereign Diversity Fund aims to provide diversification benefits to sovereign portfolios by offering an inflation hedge through avoiding weak currencies. Robinson has put $25m of his own money into the fund and will be looking to continue the strong investment record he has built up over 10 years.

Jeff Smith

Activist Hedge Fund Starboard Value Replaces 3 Members of Regis Board (TwinCities)

Shareholders gave a stinging rebuke to Regis Corp. Thursday, electing a rebel slate of directors who’ve vowed to shake up the Edina-based haircare giant. The three new dissident directors are tied to an activist hedge fund, Starboard Value, which has been attacking Regis’ financial performance and corporate leadership. Thursday’s results were preliminary, with official totals still to come. But Regis President Randy Pearce said at the company’s annual meeting in Edina that he doesn’t expect the results to change.

Moore Capital Europe Fell by Almost Half in 2010 (FINAlternatives)

Profits at Moore Capital Management’s European business fell by almost half last year, according to a regulatory filing. Moore Europe Capital Management’s seven partners split just £21.8 million last year, down from £40 million divided amongst four partners, including two companies in 2009. Moore Europe’s profits have fallen every year since it was established in 2007, from £155 million that year to £143 million in 2008, Financial News reports.

Penny Zuckerwise to Join Guggenheim Investments (FINAlternatives)

Finance industry veteran Penny Zuckerwise will join New York-based Guggenheim Investments, an asset manager with $115 billion under management, as head of institutional distribution. In her new role Zuckerwise will be responsible for the expansion of the firm’s global institutional distribution business as well as consultant and client relationship management.

SEC Rebukes FINRA (NYTimes)

As a Wall Street watchdog, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority typically dishes out sanctions and fines. Now, however, Wall Street’s self-policing agency is on the receiving end of a regulatory rebuke. The Securities and Exchange Commission ordered the regulator on Thursday to overhaul its internal controls after a Finra official in Kansas City altered documents amid an S.E.C. inspection. Finra, a private nonprofit organization that monitors brokerage firms, agreed to hire an outside consultant to review its procedures for handling internal documents.

MF Global Shares Continue to Slide After Downgrade (NYTimes)

Even as the market reacted positively to a Greek debt deal, MF Global, the besieged futures and commodities brokerage, continued to feel the pain. On Thursday, Fitch announced that it had cut MF Global’s long-term credit rating to BB+/B, the highest level of non investment-grade debt, and warned that it may further downgrade the firm. The news sent shares in MF Global tumbling another 12.9 percent by Thursday afternoon, to $1.48.

Evercore Profit Up 35% (NYTimes)

Evercore Partners, a boutique investment bank founded by a former deputy Treasury secretary, Roger C. Altman, is doing its best to weather a global deal-making slump. In the third quarter, the firm posted a profit of $19.7 million, or 46 cents per share, up 35 percent from the same quarter last year. That figure, which was adjusted to exclude certain stock conversion charges and other one-time expenses, beat analyst expectations of 31 cents per share.

Secondary Hedge Fund Liquidity Issues (FINAlternatives)

Trading on the secondary hedge fund market has fluctuated in the past few months, reports Hedgebay, blaming continued illiquidity and a shift in the price of underlying assets. Secondary market trading data from July to September has shown that despite a steady rise in the average price in Q3, volatility is still to be expected.

Investors Look to Emerging Markets, Limiting Exposure in Developed Markets (Opalesque)

Institutional investors are racheting down their exposures in developed markets but are increasing their portfolios in emerging markets both across the debt and equity asset classes, said Consilium Investment Management, manager of the EMAR fund. ”We believe this strategic rotation is a longer term phenomenon as investors search for fundamentally superior growth and credit quality. Emerging countries have more policy flexibility given better balance sheets and more room to manoeuvre on the monetary side given that they have higher nominal and real rates following the tightening cycle that many initiated after their inflation rates started to rise 10 to 12 months ago. Many countries in the emerging world have better debt profiles, demographics, and most importantly, natural resources, which bode well for these countries,” Consilium said in its monthly market commentary sent to investors.

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