Hedge Fund News: George Soros, Christopher Pucillo, BlackRock Inc.

SOROS FUND MANAGEMENTThe Imperfect World of George Soros (ForeignPolicy)
George Soros cites Isaiah Berlin as an important intellectual influence, so it makes sense to see Soros through one of the Riga-born philosopher’s best-known lenses — the division of the world into foxes and hedgehogs. In his public life, Soros is a broad-minded fox: As a hedge fund manager, his success rested on his ability to make many different bets every day. In his philanthropy, Soros is foxy too, supporting, under the broad umbrella of “open society,” dozens of causes in dozens of countries. But intellectually, Soros is a more narrowly focused hedgehog. He has been pondering, articulating, elaborating, and publicizing variations on one big idea for more than half a century. The way he describes that central thought today is “the significance of imperfect understanding as a motive force or determinant of history.”

NY court date Mon. in massive insider trading case (WSJ)
A former hedge fund portfolio manager charged in one of the biggest insider trading cases in history was due in a New York federal court after an investigation that touched on the activities of one of the nation’s wealthiest financiers. Mathew Martoma’s court date Monday was expected to be largely procedural, though there could be some discussion of the $5 million bail set for him last week in Florida. He was arrested at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., but the case is based in New York. …Stamford, Conn.-based CR Intrinsic Investors is an affiliate of SAC Capital Advisors, a firm owned by Steven A. Cohen. Cohen’s net worth is estimated at $8.8 billion on the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the U.S.

Spartan launches Teraz Fund, hires Dejan Knezevic as vice-president for national sales (Opalesque)
Toronto, Canada-based hedge fund manager Spartan Fund Management Inc., announced the recent launch of the Teraz Fund that aims to provide investors with long term capital growth by investing in a diversified portfolio of Canadian small and micro-cap companies. Spartan is a private wealth management firm advising a number of private funds on behalf of high net worth and institutional clients. The firm manages a number of funds, including: Spartan Multi Strategy Fund, a Morningstar award winning fund; Scale Opportunities Fund, a special situations fund; ElevenFund, a short term directional trading fund; Humber Global Opportunity Fund, a global long-short equity fund; and Heaps Multi Strategy Fund, a quant oriented fund.

Ernst & Young On Investor/Manager Splits (ForexPros)
A new report, Finding Common Ground, prepared by the auditing/accounting giant Ernst & Young in conjunction with Greenwich Associates, indicates that investors and managers are drifting apart on a range of issues: among these managerial compensation, selection, and redemption criteria. The report also indicates that investors are quite skeptical about the effectiveness of regulation. This is Ernst & Young’s sixth annual survey of the global hedge fund market. On E&Y’s behalf, Greenwich Associates asked questions of 100 hedge fund managers, with total assets under management of more than $710 billion, and 50 institutional investors.

Blackstone-backed Asia fund Senrigan’s partner leaves for own firm (EconomicTimes)
Kevin Kwong, a partner at Senrigan Capital, has left the Hong Kong-based hedge fund this month to start his own investment firm, sources with knowledge of the matter said, joining a growing number of spinouts from established companies this year. Kwong was part of the core investment team at Senrigan, an Asia-focused event-driven hedge fund that started in 2009 with seed capital from US alternative asset manager The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX). Senrigan, however, has racked up big investment losses over the past two years.

BlackRock Sees Asian Demand in Illiquid Hedge-Fund Assets (BusinessWeek)
BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK), the world’s largest asset manager, said there is rising demand from Asia-Pacific investors for less liquid hedge-fund investments as European and U.S. financial institutions clean up their balance sheets. More than half of the money BlackRock’s fund of hedge funds division drew from regional investors since January 2011 is dedicated to longer-term, special-situations investments, such as direct lending to companies that need cash and mortgage- backed securities, said Joseph Pacini, the Asia-Pacific head of Alternative Investment Strategy Group. Two-thirds of the allocation was made in the past year as macroeconomic concerns eased, he said.

Lim, Metage turn activist against Macquarie infra fund (AsianInvestor)
Hedge fund managers Lim Advisors in Hong Kong and Metage Capital in London are taking an activist stance towards Macquarie International Infrastructure Fund (MIIF), which they contend is trading at a disproportionately low stock market valuation relative to its net asset value. Lim and Metage, which own just over 10% of Singapore-listed MIIF, are urging shareholders to attend a MIIF special general meeting on December 5 to change the composition of the board. They are proposing to increase the board to nine members from five, and to elect their three nominees: Christopher Brader and Nicholas Paris, who are involved with existing Lim Advisor funds, and Miles Staude, an investment manager at Metage.

Here’s What the Best-Performing Hedge Fund Has Been Buying (Fool)
Every quarter, many money managers have to disclose what they’ve bought and sold, via “13-F” filings. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks. Today let’s look at Bridgewater Associates, one of the world’s largest hedge fund companies — and, in 2010 and 2011, running the best-performing hedge fund as well. Bridgewater was founded by Ray Dalio, who focuses on macroeconomic factors as he makes his investment decisions — factors such as inflation, currency exchange rates, and GDP growth. He’s clearly rather skilled, as the size of Bridgewater attests. It can be hard to find sufficient promising places to park your money, when you have so many billions to invest, but Bridgewater partly solves that problem with index funds, recently holding about 35% of its value in the S&P 500 SDPR ETF and 28% in the Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ETF. The company’s reportable stock portfolio totaled $7.4 billion in value as of Sept. 30, 2012.

Caribbean victim of hedge fund fantasist lost more than £600,000 through ‘dating a sociopath’ (DailyMail)
The beautiful Caribbean property executive who lost more than £600,000 to a British conman will launch a crusade to alert other women to the ‘red flags of love fraud’. Nina Siegenthaler, 37, who works for Sotheby’s International Realty in the Turks and Caicos Islands, told The Mail on Sunday last night that she was stunned to learn that Alistair Stewart was an ex-convict suffering from a mental disorder that allegedly makes him unable to tell right from wrong. Posing as a hedge fund tycoon, Stewart, a Cambridge University dropout, convinced the petite blonde mother of one to hand over her savings, claiming that she was the love of his life and he would manage her money for her.

Market for locked hedge funds opens (FT)
Brokers such as Tullett Prebon are launching platforms to let investors trade hedge fund investments in order to circumvent often lengthy lock-up periods. The schemes allow investors either to sell hedge funds stakes directly, or to sell the returns from their hedge fund investments through derivative contracts. Wake2o, a Geneva-based broker, has signed up 60 hedge fund managers to a platform launched in September that allows investors to buy and sell stakes in their funds. It is in talks with another 50 managers about joining the platform.

In Political Distress (Barrons)
Christopher Pucillo doesn’t like it when politics get in the way of distressed investing, but he’s adapting. The founder and chief investment officer of Solus Alternative Asset Management, Pucillo believes the uncertainty created by world events—whether the recent U.S. elections, the European debt crisis, or the looming fiscal cliff—has muddled further what already was a muddled business. “The biggest risk is policy risk,” says Pucillo, who has run Solus and its flagship Sola Fund since 2002. “Investing has become more about what happens politically than what is happening fundamentally, and that’s a problem.”

12 Insights From The Always Charming Commodities Guru Jim Rogers (BusinessInsider)
Jim Rogers started on Wall Street back in the 60s and went on to co-found the Quantum Fund with George Soros. Then he packed up and moved to Singapore, essentially shorting the west. Now he’s heavily invested in agriculture, gold, and silver, and he is training his children to speak Mandarin because he thinks the balance of power is shifting to Asia. Rogers never minces his words when he talks about investments, politics, and life in general. We’ve put together 12 brilliant quotes from Rogers that every investor will find helpful.

Icahn renews bid for control (TheNorthWestern)
Oshkosh Corp. shareholders could be forgiven if they suffered from deja vu right now. Once again, billionaire investor Carl Icahn has launched a proxy fight to try and gain control of the Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) board of directors. And once again, the company has launched a counteroffensive to convince shareholders to side with existing management and directors and to back a strategy that aims to increase earnings-per-share from the $2.27 earned in fiscal year 2012, which ended Sept. 30, to $4 to $4.50-per-share by fiscal year 2015. There are a few differences, though, and their impact on the proxy battle that cost Oshkosh Corp. $6.4 million to fight last year will play out in the next two months leading up to the company’s annual meeting in early 2013.

Renesas Agrees to $2.2 Billion INCJ Buyout, Nikkei Says (Bloomberg)
Renesas Electronics Corp. (6723) rose the most in two months in Tokyo trading after the Nikkei newspaper reported a government-backed fund will buy two-thirds of the unprofitable Japanese chipmaker. Renesas jumped 17 percent, the biggest gain since Sept. 24, to 337 yen at the close of trading in Tokyo. The company’s major shareholders agreed to sell the stake to Innovation Network Corp. of Japan for more than 180 billion yen ($2.2 billion), the Nikkei reported, without saying where it got the information. Renesas isn’t the source of the report, Yoichi Kobayashi, a spokesman for the Kawasaki, Japan-based company, said today by phone. …“An investment by the fund would be good for both Renesas and suppliers in the short term,” said Masamitsu Ohki, a fund manager at Stats Investment Management Co., a Tokyo-based hedge fund. “It would help prevent a loss of technology.”

Attalus Capital shifting gears to single-strategy hedge funds (PIOnline)
Attalus Capital LP will exit the hedge funds-of-funds business at the end of the year and move into managing single-strategy hedge funds. Patrick C. Egan, founder, president and CEO, said Attalus has been building investment teams for the past two years that manage a spectrum of single-strategy hedge funds. To date, strategies include exotic beta, inflation protection and tail-risk hedging. All of the firm’s hedge funds-of-funds staffers will have left the firm by the end of the year, Mr. Egan said; existing funds-of-funds clients will be encouraged to move their assets into the firm’s other strategies.

Fiscal cliff has money managers tiptoeing (PIOnline)
The fast-approaching fiscal cliff is causing some money managers to abandon traditional year-end portfolio moves in order to play it safer while others already are focusing on the next big crisis: when Washington tackles the federal budget deficit. “We’ve gotten more cautious,” said Hersh Cohen, co-chief investment officer, managing director and senior portfolio manager with ClearBridge Advisors LLC in New York, which manages $60 billion mostly equities. …Hedge fund manager Clint Carlson, president and chief investment officer of Carlson Capital LP, Dallas, is optimistic about resolution of the fiscal cliff and stressed: “The big point for us is to correctly interpret the dynamics of the stock market as the end of the year approaches.

Frank Travers lays out method for young and old hedge fund analysts (Opalesque)
Those in the job of hedge fund selection must have at one time or another felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of funds out there. There are indeed between 8,000 and 10,000 to sift through – although of course, they don’t all run the same strategy. Those who screen, hire, fire, evaluate, assess, interview and analyse managers and their funds must bring structure and focus to this arduous task if they want to make it easy on themselves. This is where knowledge and method are the best and the most necessary tools to possess. One book that aims to supply just that is Frank Travers’ newly published (Wiley) book called Hedge Fund Analysis – An In-Depth Guide to Evaluating Return Potential and Assessing Risks . As the title suggests, it is a no non-sense guide to the exercise of selecting hedge funds, that uses a sober and methodical language – among the few whimsical items are the fictional hedge fund organisation (FCM) and some dry quips.

Most Indian Stocks Advance; Tata Steel, Hindustan Unilever Gain (Bloomberg)
Most Indian stocks advanced amid expectation the government will be able to push economic reforms even as a deadlock continued in parliament over allowing overseas retailers to set up shop here. The BSE India Sensitive Index (SENSEX), or Sensex, rose 0.2 percent to 18,538.38, according to preliminary closing prices. Three shares climbed for every two that fell on the 30-stock gauge. The gauge added 1.1 percent last week, ending two weeks of losses. Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA), the nation’s biggest producer, climbed the most in six weeks after cutting 900 jobs at its U.K. unit. Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUVR), the largest home-products maker, rose for the second day. …The “reforms momentum has slowed, and this time I won’t blame the government but the opposition,” Samir Arora, founder of Singapore-based hedge fund Helios Capital Management Pte., which focuses its investments on India, told Bloomberg TV India today.

Argentina playing last cards in court battle with bondholders (Reuters)
Argentina will make a last-ditch attempt this week to stall a U.S. court ruling that has shaken the nation’s strategy to put a 2002 debt crisis behind it and fueled fears of a fresh default. A decade since it staged the biggest sovereign default in history, Argentina faces a stark choice between depositing $1.3 billion before December 15 to pay “holdout” creditors who rejected two debt restructurings, or jeopardizing payments to all its bondholders.

New Breed of SAC Capital Hire Is at Center of Insider Trading Case (CNBC)
When Mathew Martoma walked onto the trading floor at SAC Capital Advisors six years ago, he represented a new breed of employee at the giant hedge fund. Steven A. Cohen, SAC’s billionaire founder, had burnished his reputation as a market wizard by surrounding himself with hard-charging traders — many of them former college jocks and frat boys who thrived in the fund’s competitive, testosterone-fueled environment.