Hedge Fund News: George Soros, Seth Klarman, Crispin Odey

SOROS FUND MANAGEMENTBarack Obama Super PAC Raises $13 Million From Silicon Valley, Unions, George Soros (HuffingtonPost)
Silicon Valley has supported President Barack Obama with huge contributions to the super PAC backing his reelection in the final month before the election. Priorities USA Action, the super PAC supporting Obama, raised $13 million in the first half of October, according to a report filed on Thursday. That included three $1 million checks from first-time donors from Silicon Valley, including Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s Mark Pincus, Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla, and Linkedin Corporation (NYSE:LNKD)’s Reid Hoffman. The super PAC also pulled in $1 million checks from some usual suspects, including hedge fund billionaire George Soros and the International Union of Allied Painters and Allied Trades. Sidney Kimmel, the chairman of Jones Apparel Group, which owns brands Nine West, Dockers and Easy Spirit, among others, also gave $1 million.

Gloved-up Hong Kong city slickers fight “mid-life crisis” (Reuters)
Adam Gazal trained for six months to stand in the ring for six minutes of live boxing. He remembers the noise, and not much else, and said he’d like to try it again, though he realizes that the time in the gym took time away from home. “I think my wife will divorce me if I go through another six months of training,” Gazal, 35, said after the fight. The managing partner of National Australia Bank was one of 14 contenders who took part in Hong Kong’s sixth annual IronMonger Hedge Fund Fight Night, a fundraising event that is now a staple of the city’s financial community.

Joseph Musto, Managing Partner of HF Solutions LLC stated: “Integrating Nirvana Solution’s technology with Hedge Fund New York company HF Solution’s services enables us to increase productivity and improve efficiency. With Nirvana Touch we are able mirror our clients information for ensured data integrity. We can now provide clients with our usual expert support services combined with a state of the art technology system with 24-hour support. This eliminates the need for our clients to maintain and develop their own systems and allows them to focus on their most pressing issues such as increasing alpha and raising capital.”

Stenham Asset Management selects MSCI RiskMetrics HedgePlatform (Finextra)
Stenham Asset Management, the multi-award winning investment management firm, today announced that it has selected MSCI Inc.’s RiskMetrics HedgePlatform to further enhance the transparency the firm receives from its underlying hedge fund investments. RiskMetrics HedgePlatform will allow Stenham to augment their risk management processes through enhanced analysis, monitoring and management of their hedge fund investments based on the position-level holdings of the underlying funds.

Highfields portfolio manager to leave and launch own firm (IndianExpress)
A top portfolio manager at Highfields Capital plans to leave the investment firm next year to set up his own hedge fund, two people familiar with the matter said. Matthew Sidman, who has worked at the Boston-based fund for 15 years, plans to leave in 2013 and launch his own firm, Highfields told investors earlier this month, according to the people, who are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly because the fund is private. …The firm, run by Jonathon Jacobson, specializes in making long-term bets on undervalued securities. While it prefers to stay out of the limelight, it made headlines when it became one of a small handful of investors to publicly question Enron’s accounting practices long before the energy giant collapsed.

Australia’s unsung philanthropists (BusinessSpectator)
Last week hedge fund manager John Paulson – the man lauded for making billions by picking the start of the sub-prime disaster – hit the headlines across the world when he gave $100 million to the trust that runs New York’s Central Park. It’s a staggering figure and one of the biggest donations to any New York cultural organisation. Yet arguably a more generous donation was made in Sydney last week. And it received very few headlines outside of Australia. John Grill, the long-time CEO and major shareholder of engineering giant WorleyParsons announced he was giving $20 million to his alma mater, University of Sydney, to fund a school of project management.

Odey takes 5% stake in hedge fund rival Man Group (InvestmentWeek)
Crispin Odey has snapped up a 5% stake in struggling fund house Man Group, prompting speculation the hedge fund manager will launch a full scale bid for the company. Shares in Man Group, parent company of GLG Partners, moved 4% higher yesterday after Odey purchased a £75m take via Odey Asset Management. Speculation is mounting Odey will continue to add to his holding before forming a consortium and launching a full-scale cash bid, according to This is Money.

Direct Access Partners, LLC Receives Top Award for Best Capital Introduction among Boutique Prime Brokers for Second Year in a Row (BusinessWire)
Direct Access Partners, LLC, (Direct Access), a diversified financial services enterprise, today announced that hedge fund industry publication HFM Week has awarded Direct Access Partners “Best Boutique Prime Broker – Capital Introduction.” The 2012 Service Provider Awards acknowledge the leading law firms, fund administrators, prime brokers and accounting firms that services hedge funds. Direct Access Partners was shortlisted for one other category including Best boutique prime broker – overall. The winners were announced during an award ceremony in New York. It is the second year in a row that Direct Access received the award. The Direct Access Partners Capital Introduction program offers hedge funds introductions to active, relevant hedge fund investors through specific events and inbound inquiry from family offices, fund of funds, endowments and foundations. Clients also benefit from a consultative approach advising on all aspects of the marketing effort. The unique offering is augmented by Direct Access’ Capital Raising team that has facilitated over $500 million in hedge fund allocations over the last two years.

HazelTree Wins Top 2012 Hedge Fund Award (SYS-CON)
HazelTree, a leading provider of Treasury, Portfolio and Compliance services for alternative investment managers, announced today that it has been designated the winner of the 2012 HFMWeek US Hedge Fund Services Award for Best Fund Accounting and Reporting Software. The honor was accorded to HazelTree earlier this week at a ceremony in New York. The US Hedge Fund Services Awards are designed to recognize those companies that have outperformed their peer group over the course of the last year. HazelTree was evaluated by a panel of independent judges and selected on the basis of demonstrable growth, financial progress and innovation across an array of business services.

If Primary-Care Doctors Were Taxed Like Hedge-Fund Managers (NYTimes)
“Advancing Primary Care” was the sole focus of the latest report by the Council on Graduate Medical Education, whose mandate is to assess the current and future health work-force situation and make recommendations to the federal government. The problem has long been how to get this done. To entice a higher than the current fraction of medical-school graduates into primary-care practice requires a solid understanding what factors influence the choice of a medical specialty as a career.

Pension funds to increase HF allocation despite recent poor performance (HedgeWeek)
Contrary to recent articles in the main stream media, pension funds will continue to increase their allocation to hedge funds despite the recent poor performance within the hedge fund industry, says Don Steinbrugge of Agecroft Partners. This is being driven by the fact that pensions funds are forward looking in their investment return assumptions when determining their asset allocation. Recent relative performance of a particular asset class has little relevance in their decision making process.

Hedge Fund Advisors Plan to Increase Use of ETFs (HedgeCo)
Guggenheim Investments, which represents $130 billion in hedge fund assets, announced the results of a survey of financial advisors who attended the Morningstar ETF Invest Conference in Chicago. The results found that 78 percent of financial advisor respondents plan to increase their use of ETFs in retail investors’ portfolios over the next year. Meanwhile, twenty percent of advisors are unsure whether they plan to increase use and only one percent does not plan to increase their use of ETFs over the next year.

Fund managers, business, and policy leaders stare into the abyss, call for debt fix (Opalesque)
If you’re looking for an optimistic take on the state of world financial and policy affairs, it’s going to be very hard to find. Nowhere was this truer than at the second day of The Economist’s Buttonwood Gathering held today in New York City’s financial district. The event featured several powerful financial and policy leaders and their outlook is generally grim, with some cautious optimism for the future. Scottish hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry, CIO Eclectica Asset Management, known for his strong views on financial markets noted that looking over the macroeconomic landscape, he wouldn’t be surprised to see a significant contraction in the Chinese economy.

Fletch work (NYPost)
Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine has taken a wrong turn. The cash-strapped magazine is struggling under the ownership of hedge-fund manager Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher Jr., who acquired it in 2010 from Newsweek. Budget Travel’s mounting debts may keep its November-December issue off the newsstands, according to sources. The magazine has been dropped by the company that handles its subscriptions, and it owes hundreds of thousands to its disgruntled paper supplier. Meanwhile, Fletcher is trying to unload the magazine, but any sale could be complicated by the bankruptcy turmoil that has engulfed his hedge fund, Fletcher International.

Millennium Fund Said to Hire Ex-Barclays Trader Rosengren (SFGate)
Millennium Capital Partners LP, the U.K. unit of U.S. hedge fund manager Millennium Management LLC, hired former Barclays Plc trader Ola Rosengren as a portfolio manager, a person with direct knowledge of the appointment said. Rosengren will begin trading energy derivatives for Millennium in London on Oct. 29, according to the person, who declined to be identified because the appointment has not been made public. He will report to Kevin McNamara, head of global commodities in New York and a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. trader, and will work on the energy desk with Philip Beatty, another former Goldman Sachs trader, the person said.

Seth Klarman Goes Nuts On The Fed In His Latest Investor Letter (BusinessInsider)
Seth Klarman, the legendary head of Boston based hedge fund Baupost Group, sent out his letter to investors this week. He reports that his fund is up for the month, quarter, and year, but is sending out specifics in separate quarterly reports. That said: The juicy part of this letter has nothing to do with specific investments or anything like that. What’s interesting is that, like some of his industry peers (David Einhorn), Klarman has words for the Fed, and those words are all about QE3. He said that like QE1 and QE2, QE3 is no lasting solution. He sees it, instead, as “attempted manipulation of Americans’ behavior.”

CFTC definitions could force hedge funds to break US or European law (HedgeFundsReview)
European hedge funds face conflicting rules as CFTC proposed guidance on cross-border application of Dodd-Frank rules does not include foreign OTC trading rules in its substituted compliance regime. European hedge funds could be forced to choose whether to break new over-the-counter derivatives rules in either the US or Europe because proposed guidance on the cross-border application of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Dodd-Frank Act rules does not include foreign OTC trading rules in its substituted compliance regime – in which overseas entities are allowed to use local law.

Ex-UBS Trader Takes Stand for First Time at Fraud Trial (Bloomberg)
Kweku Adoboli, the former UBS AG (UBSN) trader accused of causing the largest unauthorized trading loss in British history, broke down crying moments after taking the stand for the first time at his London trial. He testified after prosecutors added two more counts of false accounting to his indictment. He pleaded not guilty. Adoboli told jurors about his childhood in Ghana and living in various places around the world, including Israel and Syria, as the son of a United Nations official. He wept when his lawyer Paul Garlick pointed out that his father had attended every day of his trial.

Activist Jana digs in for long Agrium battle (Reuters)
From Agrium Inc. (NYSE:AGU)’s perspective, a campaign by Jana Partners LLC to break up the Canadian fertilizer company is effectively dead in the water. But the $3.5 billion activist hedge fund believes it is only getting started. Jana’s five-month-long agitation has put a spotlight on the $17 billion market cap company, which produces nutrients such as potash in bulk and sells fertilizers directly to farmers.

Fort Worth Employees makes real estate, hedge fund commitments (PIOnline)
Fort Worth (Texas) Employees’ Retirement Fund committed $25 million to real estate investment manager KTR Capital Partners and $15 million to Brazilian hedge fund BTG Pactual, confirmed Ruth Ryerson, executive director and chief investment officer of the $1.8 billion pension fund. KTR Capital invests in industrial real estate; BTG will run a global macro emerging markets strategy, Ms. Ryerson said in an e-mail. The commitments are the pension fund’s first to both managers and are subject to legal review.

Japan’s Asuka Launches US$40M Cat Bond Fund (Finalternatives)
Japanese hedge fund Asuka Asset Management has launched its second fund investing in catastrophe bonds and other insurance-linked securities with US$40 million. The new Asuka ILS Opportunities Fund/Trust is a joint-venture between Tokyo-based Asuka and its Eastpoint Asset Management unit, set up in Bermuda earlier this month to invest in ILS. The new fund will invest in cat bonds, industry loss warranties and collateralized reinsurance programs.