Hedge Fund News: Lee Robinson, Mitt Romney, Procter & Gamble

June losses weigh heavy on Robinson’s Altana (eFinancialNews)
Altana Wealth, the Monaco-based hedge fund firm set up by Lee Robinson, saw its two hedge funds suffer big drops in June, leaving them both with double-digit losses for the year so far. According to the group’s latest investor letters, the Altana Distressed Assets Fund fell 7.27% in June and is down 15.51% in the first six months of this year, while the Altana Inflation Trends Fund dropped 5.34% in June and is down 11.25% this year. Robinson told Financial News: “Obviously we are disappointed with the short-term performance of the funds. Regarding the distressed fund, we continue to believe that stocks will be lower later this year and that for the patient, bargains will be bountiful allowing significant longer-term gains.”

The Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG)

Romney’s Hedge Fund Past Laid Bare By IRS Submissions (HedgeCo)
Mitt Romney may have committed a crime in saying that he quit his fortune building hedge fund Bain Capital in 2009, sources say. The Obama admin has reported: “Romney may have misrepresented his position to the IRS, in saying that he left the hedge find in 2009, while reporting in his IRS statement that he was still an insider in 2002.” Romney has publicly claimed he left Bain in 1999, but he told the SEC he left Bain in 2002. Despite his claim to have left Bain in 1999 to focus solely on his Olympic activities between 1999 and 2002.

Gougenheim eyes $250 mln for Glasnost hedge fund (Reuters)
Hedge fund veteran Philippe Gougenheim has raised $80 million for a new fund launch and says investors are poised to commit more money if initial returns are good, in a sign some start-up managers can still attract cash in a nervy market. The former head of hedge funds at Swiss fund firm Unigestion told Reuters the fund could roughly triple in size within six months if performance gets off to a strong start after its planned September launch.

Bloodied but unbowed, hedge fund Merchant Commodity trudges on (Reuters)
Unlike some of his peers, Michael Coleman is not throwing in the towel after a bruising 18 months during which his Merchant Commodity Fund lost two-thirds of its capital. But after recently hitting another bad patch of volatile oil, grain and soft commodity prices, the veteran trader and co-founder of Merchant doesn’t know how long investors will keep him in the ring.

Goldman Protests Hedge Fund’s Bid for Lehman Brokerage’s Cash (WSJ)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is objecting to a bid by Paul Singer’s Elliott Management to get its hands on more than $3 billion in reserves at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s brokerage unit, claiming the hedge fund’s attempt to speed up getting paid from the estate violates the law. A Goldman Sachs investment fund said Elliott’s bid to force the trustee unwinding the brokerage to make an initial distribution to customers violates the Securities Investor Protection Act, the law governing broker liquidations, and “is neither equitable nor fair.”

Investors warn EU hedge fund rules could hit other funds (IndiaTimes)
Leading fund management firms have warned the European Commission’s head of financial regulation that new rules aimed at tightening practice at hedge funds could damage the rest of the industry’s ability to operate effectively. Twenty investors, including Allianz, BlackRock, Fidelity and Schroders, have written to Michel Barnier, the Commissioner in charge of financial regulation, stating proposed reforms risk hampering Europe’s single market in investment funds.

Meridian Fund Services Wins Best North American Hedge Fund Administrator in Hedgeweek USA Awards 2012 (MarketWatch)
Meridian Fund Services wins “Best North American Hedge Fund Administrator” at the Hedgeweek USA Awards 2012 and is profiled in today’s Hedgeweek Special Report. The Hedgeweek USA Awards honor the US industry’s best hedge fund managers and service providers. The winners are decided by the votes of Hedgeweek’s nearly 20,000 US-based subscribers, who include institutional and high net worth investors, hedge fund managers, and other industry professionals at firms including prime brokers, custodians, advisers, and administrators.

Fund manager Spork appeals hefty penalties (TheGlobeAndMail)
Disgraced hedge fund manager Otto Spork is appealing a sentencing order by the Ontario Securities Commission to pay a $1-million fine plus millions more back to investors. Ontario Divisional Court will hear the appeal by the dentist-turned fund manager, who the OSC found had falsely reported huge returns during the 2008 financial crisis when he invested in two start-up Icelandic companies that intended to sell bottled glacier water.

Activist hedge fund cleared to take Procter & Gamble stake (Cincinnati)
Word that activist hedge fund investor Bill Ackman has received federal approval to acquire a significant stake in Procter & Gamble prompted shares to jump 3.4 percent, but it also served as a warning to executives and employees that changes will be demanded. Shares of P&G, the world’s largest consumer products company, have been stuck in neutral as the company’s sales have flattened and rivals have outperformed.

EDHEC-Risk Institute proposes new method for assessing hedge fund performance (FX-MM)
In a newly-released research publication produced as part of the Newedge research chair on “Advanced Modelling for Alternative Investments,” EDHEC-Risk Institute has evaluated the performance of hedge funds through a non-linear risk adjustment of returns. This methodology is applied to various hedge fund indices as well as to individual hedge funds, considering a set of risk factors including equities, bonds, credit, currencies and commodities. The research findings strongly suggest that what was incorrectly measured as hedge fund alpha in previous studies is actually some form of fair reward obtained by hedge fund managers from holding a set of relatively complex linear and non-linear exposures with respect to various risk factors. Often the reduction in performance comes from a small number of extreme events which are not captured well with the usual linear approach.

China Readies Rules For Foreign Hedge Fund Fundraising (Finalternatives)
China is taking the first steps towards allowing its vast and growing domestic wealth to flow into foreign hedge funds. The country is set to announce a program that would allow its richest citizens to invest in some of the world’s largest hedge funds. The plan, called the Qualified Domestic Limited Partner program, has not been formally unveiled and will remain extremely restrictive, but marks another first for the country as it begins to allow more hedge fund activity on its shores.

Hatteras Takes Fund Of Hedge Funds To Annuity Platform (Finalternatives)
Hatteras Funds has launched a flat-fee variable annuity giving investors access to hedge fund strategies. The North Carolina firm’s Hatteras Alpha Hedged Strategies Variable Fund is a multi-manager, multi-strategy offering similar to its 10-year-old mutual fund of hedge funds, Hatteras Alpha Hedge Strategies. But the new vehicle is available on Jefferson National’s variable annuity platform, the only such alternatives fund currently available there.

Titan Capital Group – Best Relative Value Fund Manager (HedgeWeek)
Titan Capital, founded by Russell Abrams in 2001, was one of the first pure play volatility fund managers in the hedge fund industry. Prior to establishing Titan, Abrams was co-head of US Equity Derivative Trading and Convertible Arbitrage at Merrill Lynch from 1997 to 2000. Titan trades volatility non-directionally using a relative value strategy to exploit option arbitrage opportunities in both its funds: Titan Global Return Fund and Titan Asia Volatility Fund.

Third Eye Capital – Best Credit Fund Manager (HedgeWeek)
Toronto-based Third Eye Capital was established in 2005 by Arif N Bhalwani and Dr David G Alexander with their own capital and a CAD300million mandate from one of Canada’s largest pension funds. The firm originates and manages privately negotiated secured loans to predominantly Canadian small- to mid-cap companies that are unable to access credit from conventional sources.

Credit Suisse Hires Sherman to Manage Large Hedge-Fund Relationships (FoxBusiness)
Credit Suisse Group AG (CS, CSGN.VX) has hired Neil Sherman as a managing director in its “Key Account Management” group to handle a number of the bank’s largest hedge funds and other client relationships. Based in New York, Mr. Sherman joins Credit Suisse from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), where he most recently managed the global sales organization for its prime brokerage business.

CTAs Rotella and Molinero have combined their strategies to create multi-quant fund (HedgeFundsReview)
Rotella Capital Management and Molinero Capital Management have combined their CTA programs to offer a portfolio of quant strategies. They hope the combination will attract investors. CTAs Rotella Capital Management and Molinero Capital Management have joined forces to launch a fund of quantitative strategies. The joint venture, Rotella Molinero, launched the MultiQuant Futures Program in June with $25 million seed capital from Rotella Capital Management. The two companies have combined eight strategies that were previously run separately by one or other of the two managers to create the fund.

Hedge Fund Employees, Others Rock Out for Cause (HedgeFund)
The worlds of music and finance intersected at a concert held Tuesday in New York to benefit those serving in the military. The New York Times reported hedge fund employees and others in the corporate world were amongst the performers at Wall Street Rocks, with proceeds going to two charities supporting veterans and their families. One of the entertainers was Tim Ellis, an analyst at hedge fund Moore Capital Management, who told the Times that he once wanted to be a full-time musician in his youth but now performs on the side at work-related events.

Lansdowne Sees Bank Stocks Withstanding Libor Scandal (Bloomberg)
Traders at Lansdowne Partners LP, the biggest European hedge fund that invests in stocks, said banks will hold their value amid Barclays Plc’s (BARC) attempted rigging of interest rates as shares already reflect bad news. “The underlying trading environment now looks increasingly stable for both U.S. and U.K. retail banks,” Stuart Roden and Peter Davies, co-managers of Lansdowne’s Developed Markets Strategy fund, wrote this month in a client letter obtained by Bloomberg News. “While clearly news flow is likely to remain volatile, we do feel that this kind of uncertainty is well- embedded in current investor thinking.”

Phalanx Capital Management – Best Market Neutral and Multi-Strategy Fund Manager (HedgeWeek)
Phalanx Capital Management LLC is a Chicago-based hedge fund firm running approximately USD93million in AUM. The firm manages a market neutral volatility multi-strategy fund that invests in Japan, Asia ex-Japan and Australian markets; launched in April 2005, it currently has around USD56million in AUM. Christopher S McGuire (pictuured), CEO and CIO, manages the trading of the Japanese and Asian portfolio. Prior to establishing Phalanx, McGuire managed the Japanese multi-strategy portfolio for Daiwa Securities America. McGuire has over 17 years experience in the Japanese and Asian markets. Masahide Hoshi is senior portfolio manager and operates out of Phalanx’s Hong Kong office.

Hedge fund for allotment group (ThisIsSomerset)
ONE of Somerset’s newest allotment sites has received a cash boost. Brympton Allotment Association has won a grant for £250 to help plant a hedge which will screen the allotments from a neighbouring road. In 2011, a group of Brympton residents set up the first new allotments in the area in many years. The site of the new plots is just outside Yeovil. Brympton Parish Council negotiated with a landowner to take on a site off Thorne Lane and applied to South Somerset District Council to change access to the area. With permission in place, it installed an access route before handing over the site to the association last October.

Hedge Funds Pile Into Pharma Sector (ValueWalk)
Founded in 2002, Peter Kolchinsky’s RACapital Management invests in a number of small-cap biotech start ups, priding itself in its “evidence-based” approach to capital allocation. His hedge fund portfolio includes ArthroCare Corporation (NASDAQ:ARTC), Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ:SQNM), and XOMA Corporation (NASDAQ:XOMA) (His entire portfolio isshown here). According to 13G filings on June 22 and 25, Kolchinsky upped his holdings of Coronado Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:CNDO) since March 31 to 1.78 million shares from 42,000 shares. In the same time period, he also more than doubled his holdings in Ventrus Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:VTUS) to 1.25 million shares and purchased 2.4 million shares of Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ANAC). Though a volatile and risky territory for investors, biotech companies offer incredible growth during the turbulent ride of drug trials or patent filings.

Contest Seeks Best Investment Idea (HedgeFund)
David Einhorn and Whitney Tilson are looking for some good investment ideas. The veteran hedge fund managers are part of a panel judging a contest for the best idea that will take place during the Value Investing Congress being held in New York on October 1-2, according to a news release.

HCL legal proceedings move to new jurisdiction (Recruiter)
Legal proceedings previously filed and then voluntarily dropped against Healthcare Locums (HCL) by seven hedge fund, investment and capital firms have resurfaced in a new court, the company announced yesterday. Seven companies – Permian Master Fund, LP; Permian Investments Partners, LP; Arundel Capital LLC; Arundel Long Fund LP; Arundel Hedge Fund LP; Privet Capital, LLC and Flinn Investments, LLC (‘the Plaintiffs’) – are due to serve proceedings against the recruiter and two former directors, with Kate Bleasdale no longer included, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York.

AIMA supports JOBS Act (Opalesque)
The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), the global hedge fund industry association, has expressed support for the elimination of the ban on general solicitation and advertising by hedge fund managers in the US, but has said that only accredited investors should continue to be allowed to invest in hedge funds. In its response to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ahead of the SEC’s implementation of the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act, AIMA said it supported the legislation’s purpose of improving access to capital and enhancing economic growth by reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens.

Leon Cooperman On How to Succeed in Business (By Really Trying) (FINS)
Leon Cooperman, 69, is, by all accounts, a successful hedge fund manager. After spending more than 24 years in the research and asset management departments at Goldman Sachs, Cooperman started his own fund, Omega Advisors, in 1991. He’s now worth $2 billion, according to a March 2012 report from Forbes. The firm invests primarily in U.S. stocks, targeting equities if Cooperman thinks the stock market is going up and holding cash and bonds if he thinks the market is likely to be weak.

CurAlea Associates – Best risk management software firm (HedgeWeek)
CurAlea Associates LLC was established by Seb Calabro and Peter Ort (pictured) in 2010 to provide risk advisory services to hedge funds and other buyside clients. The firm delivers high touch, high value-added services to clients via both quantitative portfolio risk analyses and qualitative interpretations of portfolio risk. CurAlea’s hedge fund clients typically employ fundamental investment strategies with a focus on liquid securities. Prior to establishing CurAlea, Calabro and Ort spent many years at both hedge funds and hedge funds of funds, giving them insight into hedge fund portfolio construction and risk management and the ever growing requirements and demands of hedge fund allocators.

Fall Of Peregrine’s Wasendorf Presaged In Christmas Toast (Bloomberg)
Peregrine Financial Group Inc. employees gathered for their annual holiday party at the River East Art Center, overlooking the Chicago River. After enjoying appetizers and an open bar, they heard the kind of somber note you don’t expect from the boss at such a fete: Even businesses that get off to a good start aren’t guaranteed to last. That was the gist of the remarks last December from Russell Wasendorf Sr., chief executive officer of Peregrine, the futures brokerage he founded. Wasendorf rambled and said that while he was proud of creating Peregrine after his first year in business, you never know how things will turn out, recalled Phil Flynn, a former analyst at Peregrine’s futures brokerage, PGFBest, who attended the party.

Barclays’ Diamond turns to top lawyer for Libor scandal (Reuters)
Barclays’ embattled former chief executive Bob Diamond is being represented by top white-collar defense lawyer Andrew Levander in a widening scandal over the manipulation of benchmark interest rates, people familiar with the matter said. More than a dozen current and former employees of several large banks under investigation have hired defense lawyers over the past year, but Levander’s role is one of the most high-profile.

Oxford Uni’s endowment boosted by private equity (Reuters)
Oxford University’s endowment fund avoided the big losses that left other investors reeling from the euro-zone debt crisis last year, after the centuries-old seat of learning put more money into private equity. The Oxford University Endowment Fund still suffered a loss of 1.6 percent, however, because of weak returns on its equity and commodity investments, its annual report showed.

Fund of funds still finding returns in risk-on/risk-off environment (Opalesque)
Fund of funds are still able to find returns despite the current high volatility, risk-on/risk-off environment. Ernesto Prado is Chief Investment Officer and Partner at Ayaltis AG discusses these opportunities in a recent interview with Sona Blessing for Opalesque Radio. Prado has a background working at Fidelity Investments in Boston and Salomon Brothers in New York and London in their Fixed Income Derivatives Group. In 1998 he restructured Salomon’s LTCM fixed income derivative portfolio in extremely volatile conditions. Since then he has been working with investors at Ayaltis AG focusing on ways to find returns in this unique market environment.

Harbinger Announces Second Permanent Capital Vehicle (Finalternatives)
Philip Falcone isn’t acting like a man whose career as a hedge fund manager is in serious jeopardy. The Harbinger Capital Management founder yesterday announced plans to acquire a blank-check company in Australia and list it on the Nasdaq Stock Market as his second permanent capital vehicle. Harbinger will trade its majority interest in a company that develops hotels and resorts in Vietnam and a minority stake in Brazilian iron ore producer Ferrous Resources for a majority stake in the Australia Acquisition Corp., a two-year-old special purpose acquisition company.

Why Jim Rogers is Investing in Farmland (MoneyMorning)
Legendary Wall Street trader and best-selling author Jim Rogers recently offered this unconventional advice: If you want to get rich, you should be investing in farmland. Don’t laugh. Rogers is good at what he does. Really good. Together with George Soros, he founded the Quantum Fund in the 1970s and posted returns of 4,200% over 10 years. Rogers retired in 1980 at the age of 37, but is still active as a private investor. Back in 1999, Jim Rogers recommended gold when it was trading at $252 and silver at $4. You know what happened after that.

Gold is Doing its Job (IBTimes)
Lear Capital – Where’s the gold price headed from here? For 8 months the gold price has held strong against multiple attempts to drive the price below various levels of support. Each time its nose dives toward the next level of support, (currently $1559 an ounce) buyers race in. Recent reports would attribute this buying to central bank buying with China alone increasing it’s gold purchase in Q1 2012 by 600% over Q1 2011. Some estimates are for central banks to buy 700 tonnes of gold this year. It is on this premise that many predict the gold price to rise significantly, even before year end. Eric Sprott of Sprott Asset Management puts gold up 25% by year end, Citigroup predicts gold to double by 2013 and market guru Marc Faber says gold could triple.

Icahn issues new warning to board of Forest Labs (Reuters)
Activist investor Carl Icahn stepped up pressure on Forest Laboratories Inc (FRX.N) on Thursday, warning that time was running out for it to accept his nominees to the company’s board of directors. Icahn appealed to Forest’s non-management board members, saying his attempts to reach an amicable agreement with Chairman and Chief Executive Howard Solomon had fallen on deaf ears. The company’s annual meeting is set for August 15. It recently cut its profit forecast to earnings of 65-80 cents a share for the fiscal year ending in March 2013, down about 80 percent from a year earlier.

Buy some bull (Yahoo)
With our stock market moving sideways and big market call merchants such as Nouriel Roubini warning of a perfect economic storm heading our way for 2013, is it time to get bearish on stocks, or should we be contrarian and become bulls? Right now it seems to me that volumes are very low on stock markets and sell-offs are not massive like last year. The majority of investors and traders won’t go long stocks but they won’t dump them either. Smarties know when bear markets end they spike higher — big time — but there isn’t enough good news around to place big bets on the future for normal market players.