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Hedge Fund and Insider Trading News: Bill Miller, Seth Klarman, Ken Griffin, Jim Simons, Blue Ridge Capital, Phillips 66 Partners LP (PSXP), PNC Financial Services Group Inc (PNC), and More

Bill Miller’s Hedge Fund Rose 120% in 2019 After Fast Finish (Bloomberg)
Legendary investor Bill Miller’s hedge fund jumped 120% last year — and he says it’s because he didn’t stray from his top names. “In the fourth quarter, we did our favorite thing to do in markets: nothing,” Miller wrote in an investor letter dated Jan. 15. “No new names and no elimination of holdings from the portfolio. This doesn’t happen as often as it probably should.”

Ken Griffin’s Status As Owner Of Most Expensive Residence In U.S. Safe For Now (Deal Breaker)
A couple of years after Ken Griffin dropped $200 million on a New York apartment, the aged T. Boone Pickens realized it was time to part with his beloved ranch in the Texas Panhandle. Given that he really didn’t want to, and given that the Citadel chief had just dropped so much on 24,000 square feet on Central Park South, the old wildcatter-turned-corporate-raider decided that $250 million seemed a fair price for a property running 25 miles along the south side of the Canadian River.

When It Comes To Hedge Funds, Don’t Forget The Operational Side, Says This Industry Veteran (Forbes)
Terrance O’Malley knows a thing or two about the business of managing hedge funds. He spent the past 10 years as general counsel and then also as chief administrative officer at Blue Ridge Capital, a prominent hedge fund firm which at its peak managed $9 billion. Before that he was a partner at law firms Fried Frank and Schulte Roth. He started his career in the enforcement division at the SEC. “Everyone wants to talk about investment strategies, and understandable so,” says O’Malley. “But the middle and back office is absolutely critical to implementing those strategies and making the firm work.”

Jim Simons Revamps Renaissance Board in Nod to New Generation (Bloomberg)
Renaissance Technologies is reshaping the group of directors who will eventually succeed founder Jim Simons in overseeing one of the world’s most lucrative hedge funds. The firm is doubling the number of members on its board and has promoted Jim’s son, Nathaniel Simons, to co-chairman, according to regulatory filings. The appointments open the way for a new generation of younger directors to guide the $75 billion money manager.

Phongphan/Shutterstock.com

Seth Klarman Passionately Defends Value Investing and Said Its Time is Coming Again Soon (CNBC)
Billionaire hedge fund manager Seth Klarman defended value investing, saying in a letter to clients that several factors, including the proliferation of passive investing, have created market mispricings that will soon lead to a payoff for the long underperforming strategy. Klarman, the CEO of the Baupost Group, said his fund posted gains in the high-single digits last year, which was well below the returns of the broader stock market. He said his fund was active late in the year, pulling out of investments that had reached their perceived value and ending December with cash accounting for 31% of holdings.

Activist Investors and the Art of the Deal (The Wall Street Journal)
Disrupting deals has always been a preferred tactic of activist investors, but they are becoming even more partial to it. Last year, 60% of the cash spent by activist hedge funds globally went on merger-and-acquisition campaigns, according to Lazard’s latest Review of Shareholder Activism report. Almost half of activist attacks by number involved a push for a new deal to happen or improved terms to an existing one, up from an annual average of 35% since 2015.

Investors Pulled $98 Billion from Hedge Funds Last Year, the Largest Outflow the Industry’s Seen Since 2016 (Business Insider)
Hedge funds had a rough 2019, and investors noticed. Over the course of the entire year, investors pulled nearly $98 billion out of hedge funds, according to a Thursday report from eVestment. In December alone, investors redeemed about $16.21 billion from hedge funds, the report showed. The negative year-to-date net flows were the largest in the industry since 2016, and accounted for roughly 3% of total assets under management in the industry, according to the report.

The Best Performers of 2019 (Hedge Nordic)
Stockholm (HedgeNordic) – In 2019, Nordic hedge funds had their best year in the past five years after the industry endured the second-worst year on record in 2018. The Nordic Hedge Index, which currently includes 160 funds, gained 5.3 percent last year, reflecting the aggregate performance of both up-and-running hedge funds and already-defunct funds. The up-and-running members of the Nordic Hedge Index, meanwhile, returned 6.4 percent on average in 2019. The performance of Nordic hedge funds in 2019 marked a significant improvement after several years of muted returns. Multi-strategy hedge funds were last year’s best-performing strategy group in the Nordic Hedge Index, yet equity hedge funds dominated the list of best performers.

Hedge Fund ESG Activism Helps Managers Drive Change (Hedge Week)
Nearly three-quarters of asset managers polled by Cerulli Associates in 2019 indicate that they exercise active ownership as part of their investment decision-making process to minimise risks and maximise returns, up from 54 per cent in 2017. Active ownership is one of the fastest-growing methods of responsible investing used by asset managers—when successful, active ownership practices can result in meaningful improvements in corporate policies, practices, and accountability.

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