Hedge Fund News: Carl Icahn, Ray Dalio, Bill Ackman

Carl Icahn To Champion Decreased Regulation As Trump Adviser (Bloomberg)
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he will be “rallying against overregulation” in his role as a special adviser to President-elect Donald Trump. The corporate raider-turned activist shareholder said Thursday on CNBC that he’ll continue giving Trump advice on regulatory appointments and overhauls. He dismissed questions about perceived conflicts of interest with his investments, saying he’s “not making any policy” or dictating hires. “I give my opinion on that and I think I’m good at that,” Icahn said of appointments. “Over the years you develop instincts for picking the right CEO. Is there anything wrong with me saying, ‘This guy is the right guy for this job at this time’? It doesn’t mean Donald is going to take my advice necessarily.”

Carl Icahn - Icahn Capital Lp

The World’s Biggest Hedge Fund Is Creating A Secret Algorithm To Automate Management (CNBC)
Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, is leading a secret project that would automate most of the hedge fund’s management, The Wall Street Journal reports. The software engineering project, which Dalio has called “The Book of the Future,” would send “GPS-style directions” for how employees should spend their time, down to whether they should make phone calls, according to the article. The desire to automate the employee activities at and management decisions of a $160 billion hedge fund may seem like the plot of a science fiction novel. But for Dalio, it’s a way to make his company work more efficiently. This isn’t the first unconventional leadership tactic Dalio has championed.

Hedge Fund Math: Heads We Win, Tails You Lose (The New York Times)
When do 1.5 and 16 add up to 72? That’s the riddle confronting investors in Pershing Square Holdings Ltd., the closed-end fund run by the prominent activist investor Bill Ackman. In a letter to investors this month, Mr. Ackman disclosed that through the end of November, the fund had declined 13.5 percent this year after accounting for fees. (Pershing Square Holdings shouldn’t be confused with Pershing Square L.P., Mr. Ackman’s hedge fund, although the two vehicles have the same investment strategy.) That’s obviously a big disappointment, considering the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was up 7.6 percent over the same period. But that’s not what some big investors were complaining about to me this week. In the same letter, Mr. Ackman reported that during the nearly four years since it began, Pershing Square Holdings had gained a total of 20.5 percent.