Top Quants Compete in Devilishly Tough Math Competition (Bloomberg)
John Overdeck was one of dozens of competitors hunched over an iPad Tuesday night at the National Museum of Mathematics’s annual Masters Tournament. Despite having won a silver medal at the International Mathematics Olympiad as a high school student, the co-founder of quant fund Two Sigma Investments said he was nervous after turning in his answers. Still, the pressure was nothing compared with his day job.
Former Investor for George Soros Lists a $22.5 Million Hamptons Home (The Wall Street Journal)
In the Hamptons, a restored home dating back to the late 1880s is coming on the market for $22.5 million. The Southampton, N.Y., property was built in the heyday of 19th-century Hamptons summer society, said listing agent Harald Grant of Sotheby’s International Realty. The extension of the Long Island Railroad in 1872 led to a stream of wealthy New Yorkers building large summer retreats near the area’s beaches for the first time.
Futures Shop Pursues Trade-Finance Strategy (HFAlert)
Metals trader Commodity Asset Management is developing a new strategy that represents a novel approach to trade finance. Instead of extending lines of credit to finance imports and exports, as most trade-finance businesses do, CAM would facilitate sales of industrial materials via repurchase agreements. The New York firm is seeking to raise perhaps $75 million for the business, either through a hedge fund or separate accounts, or both. While details about the strategy remain under wraps, CAM apparently would work with middlemen that broker sales of industrial materials including metal ores and concentrates.
Ubben’s Socially Conscious ValueAct Spring Fund Bets on Workplace Wonk (Reuters)
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jeffrey Ubben’s ValueAct Spring Fund, which invests in companies aiming to address environmental and social problems, is making a bet on an academic-turned-hedge-fund-manager who picks stocks based on how effective companies are as employers. The Spring Fund is buying a stake in Irrational Capital, a hedge fund launched three years ago by Duke University behavioral economist Dan Ariely and his business partner David van Adelsberg. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Elliott Launches Proxy Fights at Hyundai, Pushes for Dividends (Bloomberg)
Elliott Management Corp. has nominated directors to the boards of two Hyundai Motor Group subsidiaries and is pushing them to dole out more than $6 billion in dividends in its latest push for changes at the South Korean automotive giant. The New York-based hedge fund has nominated three directors to the board of Hyundai Motor Co. and two directors to the board of Hyundai Mobis Co., according to regulatory filings. Other changes Elliott is calling for include shareholder votes to consider one-time dividends of 4.5 trillion won ($4 billion) at Hyundai Motor Co. and 2.5 trillion won at Mobis, according to the filings.
Never Before Has the Fate of Hedge Funds Turned on So Few Stocks (Bloomberg)
As a group, hedge funds have been backing away from the stock market even as its dramatic rally added trillions of dollars to share values since Christmas. But one aspect of their faith is rising: the belief that the stocks they do own are the right ones. It’s visible in a measure of concentration that plots how much of the average hedge fund portfolio is dominated by its biggest holdings. According to quarterly filings compiled by Goldman Sachs, the top 10 holdings on average made up 70 percent of a fund’s long portfolios, the highest since at least 2002.
Why New York Values Ken Griffin’s $238 Million Condo at Less Than $10 Million (The Wall Street Journal)
Billionaire Ken Griffin recently paid $238 million for a Manhattan condo, the most expensive home ever sold in the U.S. But according to New York City tax collectors, it is effectively worth only $9.4 million. The difference is the result of New York City’s complex property tax system, which requires that all co-op and condos be assessed as if they were rental buildings. That means assessors look at rental income at nearby buildings and make an estimate of a condo’s value.
T. Boone Pickens Asks the Same Question at the Start of His Meetings to Make Sure Every Single Person Comes Prepared (Business Insider)
Management advice from long-time executive T. Boone Pickens will help leaders ensure that people come prepared to meetings. Pickens writes in a LinkedIn blog post that he starts every meeting by asking, “Whaddya got?” If someone answers, “Nothing,” Pickens thinks, “Then why are you here?” T. Boone Pickens has been a business executive for seven decades, during which time he founded Mesa Petroleum and the hedge fund BP Capital. In other words, the 90-year-old knows a thing or two about managing teams.
Hedge Fund Assets Up in January as Performance Offsets Investor Redemptions (HedgeWeek)
Investors pulled a modest USD1.66 billion from the global hedge fund industry in January. However, strong hedge fund performance almost across the board in January offset those redemptions, lifting total industry assets to USD3.214 trillion, according to eVestment’s January 2019 Hedge Fund Asset Flows Report. Multi-Strategy hedge funds saw a major turnaround in investor sentiment to start off the year, with investors adding USD4.34 billion to these funds in January. This is a major contrast to the -USD7.87 billion investors removed from Multi-Strategy funds in Q4 2018 and the -USD19.32 billion investors removed for full year 2018. It will be interesting to see if strong inflows to Multi-Strategy funds to start off the year signal any broader level of interest in the hedge fund industry as the year progresses.