Hedge Fund News: Buffett & State Street, George Soros, Marc Faber’s Outlook…

BERKSHIRE HATHAWAYMovers & Shakers: Buffett’s Insurance Cash Stalling (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg’s Betty Liu and Dominic Chu report that Warren Buffett, the former hedge fund manager who built Berkshire Hathaway Inc. into a $195 billion company by gaining leverage through insurance premiums, said this traditional source of new funds is drying up. They speak on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop.”

Buffett’s Gold Dis Baffles State Street’s Goolgasian (Bloomberg)

Warren Buffett is a great investor, says Christopher Goolgasian, a portfolio manager at State Street Global Advisors Inc. who helps oversee a $74 billion gold fund. The Oracle of Omaha just has it wrong when it comes to the metal. “While he won’t own gold, he also never owned Apple (up around 1,500% since January of 2000) or Google (up 530% since August of 2004),” Goolgasian said of Buffett in a March 2 regulatory filing for SPDR Gold Trust, an exchange-traded fund managed by Boston-based State Street Corp. (STT)

State Street vs Buffett (The Reformed Broker)

I think Buffett was simply trying to explain the difference between productive assets like oil reserves and farmland versus an asset like gold.

Soros, Nomura Reduce Holdings in Taiwan Bank (WSJ)

Foreign investors continue to sell their stakes in Taiwanese banks as investors sour on the island’s intensely competitive banking sector. As Dow Jones Newswires reports Monday, George Soros’s Quantum Partners Inc. and Nomura Holdings Inc. have both trimmed their stakes in Taishin Financial Holding Co. The sales happened last year, according to the bank’s chief financial officer at an event on the weekend. Both cut their holdings from around 3% to around 1%, according to Welch Lin, CFO, as of June 2011.

If S&P Falls 100-200 Points, We Will See QE3: Marc Faber (CNBC)

“(QE3) depends on the S&P, if the S&P drops 100-200 points, then yes, for sure we will have QE3 but if the S&P stays here or even goes up, the likelihood of QE3 diminishes,” Faber said.

Marc Faber Assures Us That Gold Is Nowhere Near A Bubble Phase (ETF Daily News)

With more than 40 years as an economist to his credit and claiming gold as the “biggest position in my life,” Gloom Boom & Doom Report Publisher Marc Faber assures us that gold is nowhere near a bubble phase, but cautions that corrections of 40% are not unusual in a bull market. At the end of March, Faber will share his secrets for surviving corrections at the World Money Show in Vancouver. In advance of that appearance, he sat down with The Gold Report for this exclusive interview where he discusses his bias for portfolio diversification in terms of geographies as well as asset classes.

Lampert Agrees to Buy Island Mansion Off Florida’s Coast for $40 Million (Bloomberg)

Edward Lampert, the hedge fund manager who controls Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD), agreed to buy a mansion on an island off Florida’s Biscayne Bay for almost $40 million, brokerage One Sotheby’s International Realty Inc. said. The purchase of the 17,000-square-foot (1,600-square-meter) estate, which sits on 2.7 acres (1.1 hectares) and wasn’t publicly listed, probably will be completed in less than 30 days, Kevin Tomlinson, a Miami Beach, Florida-based vice president at One Sotheby’s, said in a telephone interview. The brokerage represented both buyer and seller.

Asia Hedge Fund Startups Falter as Biggest Investors Pull Cash (Bloomberg)

Asia-focused hedge funds that were started with the help of a major backer after the 2008 credit crisis are shutting down as a shrinking pool of key investors makes it harder for them to raise capital. Isometric Investment Advisors Ltd. decided in December to close after its largest startup investor said it would withdraw its cash. Black’s Link Capital Ltd. closed after its biggest investor, a U.S.-based fund of hedge funds, pulled its capital last year, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

Stewart Said to Leave JPMorgan to Start Hedge Fund in London (Bloomberg)

Mike Stewart, who JPMorgan (JPM) Chase & Co. picked last year to oversee a unit of traders being moved out of its investment bank, has left to start a hedge fund, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Stewart, 38, and a team of at least four other JPMorgan traders have founded Whard Stewart Asset Management Ltd., said the people, who declined to be identified because the bank hasn’t announced his departure. JPMorgan picked the London-based Stewart in February 2011 to oversee a team of about 50 traders it was transferring to an asset-management division to comply with new U.S. rules that restrict banks from betting on markets.

Trying to Feel Like a Million Bucks, Too (NY Times)

THERE’S a place on East 58th Street in Manhattan, with no outdoor sign, where George Soros, David Geffen, Paul Volcker, Jules Kroll and other big names in the business and financial world are regulars.

How Hedge Funds Look For An Edge (MSN Money)

The FBI is building cases against at least 120 more insider-trading targets. Can the federal crackdown clean up the hedge fund industry? Michael Douglas memorably brought insider trading to the public consciousness as Gordon Gekko. Now, 25 years later, the man whose fictional alter ego declared that “greed, for lack of a better word, is good” is taking to the airwaves to urge anyone who knows about insider trading in the real world to report it to the FBI.

Goldman CEO Blankfein Deposed In Insider Case (Thomson Reuters)

Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein was interviewed under oath last week as a witness in the insider-trading case of Rajat Gupta, a former Goldman director and onetime global head of McKinsey & Co, according to court documents filed on Friday. Blankfein was asked in a day-long Feb. 24 deposition whether or not he knew others at Goldman had been interviewed by U.S. prosecutors about the Gupta case. His answer was not included in a partial transcript entered in the court record.

Hedge Fund Redemptions, Assets Up In Feb (FINalternatives)

Investors pulled $15.2 billion from hedge funds in January 2012, as overall industry assets climbed to $1.70 trillion from $1.68 trillion at end-2011. According to BarclayHedge and TrimTabs Investment Research, hedge funds underperformed the S&P 500 by 110 basis points for the month

The FCC’s LightSquared Ruling Is Hardly a Surprise (WSJ)

Holman Jenkins’s “How Phil Falcone Was LightSnared” (Business World, Feb. 18) tells the sad tale of an entrepreneur ensnared in Washington politics and interest groups that stand in the way of innovation. The narrative surrounds LightSquared, a wireless venture backed by Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners. This tale grossly distorts the facts. The onus has always been on LightSquared to avoid interference to the Global Positioning System.

Unravelling Hedge Fund Fees (Financial Times)

Rather than being fully transparent about their fees, hedge funds apply performance fees to the returns they earn from delivering simple market exposure.

L.A. Hedgie To Host Ron Paul Fundraiser (FINalternatives)

What do you serve a libertarian for dinner? Hedge fund manager Mark Spitznagel has until March 20th to figure it out—that’s when he’ll host a $2,500-per-plate fundraising dinner for U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul.

AIMA: Credit Hedge Funds Not ‘Shadow’ Banks (FINalternatives)

Credit hedge funds should not be considered part of the ‘shadow banking’ sector, according to the Alternative Investment Management Association, a hedge fund lobby group.

Calif. Pension, Endowment Eye Bigger Hedge Portfolios (FINalternatives)

There’s good news for hedge funds from two big Golden State institutional investors. The Sacramento County Employees Retirement System and University of California’s endowment are poised to add in excess of $500 million to their hedge fund portfolios, HFMWeek reports. The former is further along, with definite plans to pour $315 million into hedge funds, while Cal is merely mulling a two-and-a-half-fold increase in its hedge fund target.

Philanthropy: Private Equity vs. Hedge Fund Basketball Tournament (Hedge Co. Net)

Over 150 executives from the Wall Street community will join New York Knicks legends, corporate sponsors, and high school students for a charity basketball tournament hosted by Youth, I.N.C. (Improving Nonprofits for Children) Wednesday, March 7th; 5:00 – 10:00 PM (Tip-off at 5:30 PM).

Eurekahedge Launches New Insurance Linked Hedge Fund Index (Hedge Co. Net)

Eurekahedge has launched a new hedge fund index, the ‘Eurekahedge ILS Advisers Index’, focusing on insurance linked securities in partnership with ILS Advisers. Increasing amounts of government intervention in worldwide financial markets has created an unprecedented correlation amongst asset classes, increased volatility and a tougher environment for skill based managers to generate superior risk adjusted returns. In a very real sense the pool of hedge funds that can perform in today’s environment has diminished. Insurance linked securities funds on the other hand are bucking the trend enabling fund managers to preserve capital while producing month-on-month absolute returns.

Investors Are Starting To Lose Faith In Hedge Funds (Forbes)

For a long time, it seemed like nothing could diminish investor appetite for hedge funds. Even after the financial crisis embarrassed some of the industry’s most high-profile investors and caused the industry’s assets to tumble as hundreds of hedge fund closed in 2008, the hedge fund business quickly recovered. Last year the industry’s assets reached an all-time high of $2 trillion.

How To Make Financial Content (The Reformed Broker)

Everyone’s writing something in the financial media these days but some of you people need a refresher on the basics of composition.  Depending on for whom or what you are writing, this should be the only guide you need to get it right: How to write a stock article for CNNMoney or MarketWatch: Line up quotes from a bull and a bear on a given stock – give a paragraph to each to state their case on the company, conclude by saying it’s too early to tell who’s right.

Marketwatch Top 10 Stories Feb. 27 – March 2 (Market Watch)

Eddie Lampert’s $40M House, Stand By Your Madoff, CFTC Repeals CPO/CTA Exemption And More (Reuters Hedge World)

HFMWeek Daily Snapshot – 5 March (HFM Week)

Monday 7atSeven: driving downtrend (Abnormal Returns)

Top clicks this week on Abnormal Returns (Abnormal Returns)

Daily US Opening News And Market Re-Cap: March 5 (Zero Hedge)

Frontrunning: March 5 (Zero Hedge)

Morning Read: Bull’s Third Birthday, More Pension-Hedge Fund Links (Barrons)

Hot Links: Pepper Jack (The Reformed Broker)

Books I’m Reading – March 2012 (The Reformed Broker)

Morning News: March 5, 2012 (Crossing Wall Street)

Distressed Debt Weekly Links Of Interest (Distressed Debt Investing)

10 Monday AM Reads (The Big Picture)

On News Sources (Aleph Blog)

Sorted Weekly Tweets (Aleph Blog)