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Hedge Fund and Insider Trading News: Tom Steyer, Visium Asset Management, Cat Rock Capital, Central Pacific Financial Corp. (CPF), Comfort Systems USA, Inc. (FIX), and More

US Activist Investors’ Aggressive Strategies are Starting to Force Change in Europe (CNBC)
A recent example of activist success in Europe came on Monday in the form of a proposed merger between Just Eat and Takeaway.com to form a £9 billion ($10 billion) food delivery giant. Connecticut-based activist fund Cat Rock Capital owns stakes in both companies. Paul Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management Corp has outpaced rivals when it comes to deploying capital aimed at driving corporate change to mainland Europe, and particularly Germany, committing $3.4 billion in new capital across the first six months of 2019, according to Lazard data.

Steyer to Run an Impeachment Ad During Debate: Campaign Update (Bloomberg)
Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer won’t be on stage in Detroit Tuesday night, but CNN viewers tuning in to the second presidential debate will hear his message anyway. Need to Impeach, a Steyer-funded advocacy group, bought air time for a 30-second ad to run on CNN and MSNBC before and after the Democratic primary debate, the organization said. Steyer doesn’t appear in the spot.

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SEC Bans Former Hedge Fund Manager for Inflating Asset Prices (Institutional Investor)
The Securities and Exchange Commission has barred former hedge fund manager Christopher Plaford after charges that he inflated asset prices under a fraudulent scheme carried out with a colleague at Visium Asset Management. Plaford, who pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2016, is permanently banned from the industry, according to an SEC order dated July 29. Complaints filed by the regulator that same year alleged Plaford and portfolio manager Stefan Lumiere marked up assets in a credit fund while working for New York-based Visium.

New Broom for Hedge Fund of Funds Manager Lucerne (AFR.com)
Melbourne-based financial services firm Lucerne Investment Partners has recruited a new portfolio manager for its fund of funds arm, Lucerne Growth. The company has hired Jerome Lander, who is perhaps best known around the market as the former chief investment officer of the $12 billion Workcover Fund. Lander is expected to help pick hedge funds for allocations as part of the Lucerne Growth portfolio. Lucerne Growth has about $50 million invested with a bunch of Australian and offshore hedge funds including Sydney-based Bronte Capital and US-based Armistice Capital.

US Firm Launches Hedge Fund With Holdings in Coinbase, Bakkt (Coin Desk)
The investment firm US Capital Global announced it will add a tokenized venture fund with holdings in Coinbase, Bakkt, Nomics, and Tagomi in its portfolio. Accredited investors will be able to place a $10 million equity stakes in the NYCQ Fund, designed by the venture capital firm CityBlock Capital, to increase their crypto leverage, according to a statement. The fund does not hold investments in cryptocurrencies, but stakes equity investments in the crypto startups. It is overseen and developed by former SoftBank Capital, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Google employees. The investment vehicle is only offered by US Capital’s subsidiary US Capital Global Securities.

Element Capital Hikes Fund Performance Fees to 40%, Defying Industry Trends (Bloomberg)
Billionaire Jeff Talpins is hiking performance fees in his macro hedge fund to a whopping 40% even as rivals slash costs for their investors, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Element Capital Management is increasing the share of profits it charges by 15 percentage points. The New York-based firm is also lowering its management fee from 2.5% to 2%, which is still higher than what most hedge fund managers charge.

EQT, CPPIB to buy majority stake in Waystar (Reuters)
(Reuters) – Swedish private equity fund EQT Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) said on Monday they would buy a majority stake in Waystar from Bain Capital, valuing the healthcare technology company at $2.7 billion. Bain Capital will retain a minority share in Waystar. The deal, which is expected to close later in 2019, is the latest in a string of healthcare technology company investments. In February, PE firm Veritas Capital and hedge fund Elliott Management bought U.S. healthcare software maker Athenahealth Inc for about $5.7 billion, and in July, PE funds of Leonard Green & Partners and affiliates of Ares Management Corp acquired health tech company Press Ganey Associates.

‘Thank Goodness for Boris’: Hedge Fund Managers See Brexit Chaos as a ‘Free Lunch’ for Traders (Business Insider)
Boris Johnson’s push towards a no-deal Brexit is a “free lunch” for hedge funds and currency traders trading off the collapse of the pound, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs’ Asset Management Sir Jim O’Neill has said. The UK government’s official spending watchdog has previously warned that a no-deal Brexit would shrink the UK economy by 2% in 2020 and trigger a recession. However, Baron O’Neill, who advised David Cameron’s government, said on Tuesday that his former colleagues in the industry saw the push to a no-deal Brexit as a “chance to make some money.”

Hedge Funds Up 1.75 per cent in June (Hedge Week)
Hedge fund managers ended June 2019 up 1.75 per cent on an equal-weighted basis, and 1.89 per cent on an asset-weighted basis, reversing May’s losses of 1.19 per cent, according to figures released by Eurekhedge. Trade optimism and expectations of a Fed rate cut pushed the global equity market higher despite mixed economic data. Over the month of June, USD6.4 billion of investor outflows were recorded by the global hedge fund industry, despite performance-based gains of USD15.5 billion. Total hedge fund industry AUM stood at USD2,294.3 billion as of June 2019.

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