Hedge Fund News: Steven Mandel, Sam Israel, John Paulson

LONE PINE CAPITALMandel’s Lone Pine Buys Over $400M of Verisign Inc. (ValueWalk)
According to a 13G just filled with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Steven Mandel’s Lone Pine Capital LLC has now owns 8,645,289 shares of Verisign, Inc. The hedge fund now owns 5.5% of shares outstanding. Shares of Verisign, Inc. (NASDAQ:VRSN) closed today at $47.22. Based on the latest price, Long Pine owns $405,000 million of the Reston, Virginia based company. SEC laws typically require hedge funds to disclose any purchase above 5% of shares outstanding.

How Ponzi Schemer Sam Israel Fell For Conspiracy Scam: Review (Bloomberg)
Lying came easy to Sam Israel, the Connecticut hedge-fund manager who faked suicide in 2008 to escape a 20-year prison sentence for running a $450 million Ponzi scheme. Within two years of starting the Bayou hedge fund in 1996, Israel, trader Jimmy Marquez and chief financial officer Dan Marino began cooking the books to hide a 14 percent loss.

Hedge Funds Are Getting Clobbered In 2012 (Forbes)
The hedge fund crowd is licking its wounds heading into the Labor Day weekend after getting clobbered by the market. As hedge funds look toward the homestretch of 2012 they will have to pull off a sector-wide miracle to stop 2012 from being one of the worst years their rich industry has ever experienced. The numbers are truly terrible. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s investible hedge fund composite index shows hedge funds are up 1.85% so far in 2012. That means investors in many hedge funds are paying big fees for the luxury of getting creamed by the U.S. stock market, which has returned 13.8% in 2012, at least as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

Paulson to Talk With BofA (WSJ)
Bank of America Corp.’s BAC -1.10% wealth-management arm will host a conference call Tuesday with Paulson & Co.’s John Paulson, offering some of its financial advisers and their clients a chance to grill the struggling hedge-fund manager, people familiar with the matter said. The call comes within days of the decision by a major Paulson client, Citigroup Inc.’s C -0.47% private bank, to stop investing with Mr. Paulson’s firm. That move is expected to lead to withdrawals of about $410 million.

Risky Business: Fund Backs Filmmaker (WSJ)
When a younger brother of once-highflying hedge-fund manager Alphonse Fletcher Jr. won a screenwriting Oscar in 2010 for the film “Precious,” he thanked his siblings, saying they “supported me in every way.” Now a legal battle for control over hedge funds run by Fletcher Asset Management is showing the nature and extent of one sibling’s support.

Only When the JOBS Act Is Finalized Will Hedge Funds Change (Minyanville)
There has been a lot of chatter surrounding the JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act and its inevitable impact on the job market. But what impact, if any, will it have on the hedge fund industry? “For more than 60 years, hedge funds have never been allowed to advertise,” said Mitch Ackles, President of the Hedge Fund Association and CEO of Hedge Fund PR.

Far From Wall Street and Silicon Valley, a Focus on Family Ties (NYTimes)
When the hedge fund manager David Einhorn was just another investment analyst in the mid-1990s, his family gave him $500,000 to get his fund, Greenlight Capital, off the ground. Now that he is a billionaire after a career of doing battle with large corporations, he has returned the favor. A world away from Wall Street and the tech money culture of Silicon Valley, the Einhorn family started a venture capital firm here, which raised a $40 million fund last year.

Rajat Gupta’s sentencing preponed by a day to Oct 17 (TheHinduBusinessLine)
The sentencing of former Indian-American Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta, convicted of passing confidential market information to Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam in one of America’s biggest insider trading cases, has been preponed by a day to October 17. US District Judge Jed Rakoff had set as October 18 the date for sentencing Gupta after the ex-McKinsey head was found guilty by a jury here of passing confidential company information to Rajaratnam.

Hedge Fund Manager Buys House Near Kennedy Compound (Finalternatives)
A New York hedge fund manager may have—probably unknowingly—broken the hearts of Cape Cod’s teeny-boppers. The unidentified money manager has agreed to buy a Hyannis Port, Mass., house adjacent to the famed Kennedy compound. But rumors originally had the $4.9 million home going to pop star Taylor Swift, who is reportedly dating Conor Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s 18-year-old grandson.

Thinking About Investing in a Hedge Fund? (DailyFinance)
The hedge fund industry, through negative media attention and the occasional jaw-dropping paydays we hear about, has cultivated an air of mystique for the average investor. Many assume these privileged money managers simply know things others don’t or have superhuman analytical skills, a la Warren Buffett. There is no question that some of these professionals have incredible stock-picking abilities or are fierce traders. But if you look at the top stocks attracting hedge fund capital, it’s startlingly boring.

Island loses hedge fund conference after 18 years (RoyalGazette)
Bermuda’s convention business has been dealt another blow as one of the Island’s longest-standing conferences has decided to pull up stakes and relocate to another location. The announcement compounds the news that recent visitor arrivals fell by one percent for the second quarter of 2012 due to a large dip in convention tourists. The Institutional Investor/Alpha Hedge Global Hedge Fund Summit, which at one time attracted 1,000 hedge fund industry attendees, had been a staple conference in Bermuda for the past 18 years.

‘Alpha Masters’ Author Dishes About Top Managers (HedgeFund)
Getting Ray Dalio and David Tepper to open up about their work can be a daunting task. Something Maneet Ahuja knows all about. The twentysomething wunderkind CNBC producer read excerpts from her new book, “The Alpha Masters – Unlocking the Genius of the World’s Top Hedge Funds” at a Hedge Fund Association event in the New York on Thursday.

SEC charges former Sky Bell hedge fund manager Gary Marks for misrepresentations (Opalesque)
The U.S. financial watchdog on Monday filed a settled civil action before the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against hedge fund manager Gary R. Marks for alleged misrepresentations in selling and recommending his hedge funds. Gary Marks was the CEO of Sky Bell Asset Management, LLC, a U.S. alternative investment management firm with affiliated offices in Florida and Hawaii. He is also a professional rock singer-songwriter with a 30-year career in the music industry. And he co-authored an investment book called “Rocking Wall Street” in 2007.

BNP PARIBAS : Securities Services Top Rated in the 2012 Hedge Fund Administration Survey (4-Traders)
BNP Paribas Securities Services achieved high scores in the Global Custodian’s Hedge Fund Administration survey, which polled industry clients on their hedge fund administration service providers. 2012 results announced top-rated status in North America, commended status in Europe and commended* status globally. These scores are higher than the average reported scores and we are also rated “Best in Class” in all North American categories.

Wall Street’s Singer Makes His Influence Felt (WSJ)
Paul Singer, a prominent hedge-fund manager, has employed many tactics in seeking to ensure a Republican victory in November. First, he approached Rep. Paul Ryan and offered to back him in a presidential bid. When Mr. Ryan demurred, Mr. Singer’s support helped him emerge as the vice-presidential nominee, people close to the matter said.

Ackman again urges General Growth to sell to Simon (Reuters)
Hedge fund manager William Ackman turned up the heat on General Growth Properties on Monday, urging the mall operator to enter talks to sell itself to a rival while also assuring other shareholders that he has no plans to sell out in a hurry. For the second time in less than a week, Ackman, who runs Pershing Square Capital Management and has a taste for telling some of the world’s biggest companies how to make more money for shareholders, weighed in on the future of America’s second-biggest mall operator.

Solar21 buys solar farms in Italy for €25m (IrishTimes)
Irish renewable energy fund Solar21 has bought six solar-power farms in Italy for €25 million. The renewable energy hedge fund was set up in 2010 and is managed by Clear Financial. It currently manages €100 million on behalf of Irish investors, most of which is invested in solar farms in Germany and Italy connected to national grids.

Goldstein gives SEC an ‘F’ for Reg D stall (InvestmentNews)
In his own entertaining way, hedge fund manager and SEC critic Phillip Goldstein is urging the commission to get on with implementing the JOBS Act and move quickly to allow hedge funds to advertise. In a sarcastic comment letter sent this weekend to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Goldstein told the agency to “ignore the wishes of Congress and president Obama [and] keep slowing down the rulemaking process.”

Aquantum Readies UCITS Turn (Finalternatives)
Hedge fund Aquantum, led by Winton Capital Management’s former senior scientist, will launch its first UCITS-compliant fund later this year. The index provider and commodity hedge fund shop will launch an asset management business in Munich, Germany. The new unit’s first order of business will be the creation of the UCITS fund, expected in the fourth quarter.

India’s ‘boring’ banking system remains robust: Deepak Parekh (IndiaTimes)
At a time when bankers across the world are being termed as ‘London Whale’, hedge-fund sharks and various other deadly creatures, Indian financial system remains intact despite its “boring banking” tag, industry leader Deepak Parekh said today. Noting that the regulation of Indian financial system has been appreciated globally and the robustness of banking system here is very much intact, Parekh said even most of the restructured loans are not stressed because of poor credit quality, but due to “prevalent policy uncertainties”.

Dialectic Capital loses Money on its CAST and HLF Short Bets (ValueWalk)
Dialectic Capital Management, LLC, a short biased hedge fund is out with the July update. The CEO of the New York based hedge fund is excellent at uncovering fraud among companies, and resorts to highly unconventional methods to discover them. …The fund was down in its investment in Chinacast Education Corporation (PINK:CAST), Autoparts retail, and Multi-level Marketing ,in which the Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) investment falls. The fund also detracted on long investments in Oil and Gas production companies and Network equipment sellers. The hedge fund manager believes that both Chinacast Education Corporation (PINK:CAST) and Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF) are frauds.

Concept Capital Hires New Managing Director (HedgeFund)
New York-based broker Concept Capital Markets welcomes a new executive to its prime brokerage services group. The firm announced Friday that Kyle Kupiec is a new managing director in the division. Kupiec has nearly twenty years of experience in the investment industry. Prior to Concept Capital, he spent 15 years with New York-based firm Shoreline Trading Group.

Here’s What Some Big-Time Quants Have Been Buying (DailyFinance)
Every quarter, many money managers have to disclose what they’ve bought and sold, via “13F” filings. Their latest moves can shine a bright light on smart stock picks. Today let’s look at the Renaissance Technologies hedge fund company, founded by James Simons, and known for its quantitative approach to investing. Indeed, Simons explained in 2007 that: “We hire physicists, mathematicians, astronomers and computer scientists and they typically know nothing about finance. … We haven’t hired out of Wall Street at all.” The company’s most well-known fund is the Medallion Fund. Interestingly, most of the company’s assets belong to employees of the firm, and outside investors are generally turned away.

California Ballot Spending Led By Munger, Steyer, Joseph (Bloomberg)
More than a third of the $118 million raised for and against 11 ballot measures facing Californians in November comes from just three people. San Francisco hedge-fund executive Thomas Steyer has poured $21.9 million into boosting business taxes, according to campaign finance records. Molly Munger, the daughter of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Vice Chairman Charles Munger, has put $13.8 million into a tax increase for schools. George Joseph, chairman and founder of Mercury General Corp. (MCY), has plowed $8 million into a change in auto-insurance pricing.

OSC settles for $8.8-million – but Portus co-founder can’t pay (TheGlobeAndMail)
Broke and banned from working in the financial industry for life, the co-founder of failed hedge fund Portus Alternative Asset Management Inc. has agreed to repay $8.8-million to make up for the fund’s missing diamonds – despite saying he has no idea where the mysterious rocks are or how he’ll make the payment. Boaz Manor, 38, also agreed to a lifetime ban on trading securities except within his RRSP, or serving as a director or officer of a public company, to settle a long-running case with the Ontario Securities Commission.

Form PF Filing Deadline Concentrates Hedge Fund Managers’ Minds (InstitutionalInvestor)
As the deadline fast approaches for Form PF to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission — August 29 for hedge funds with more than $5 billion in regulated assets — hedge fund managers worry that the disclosures will end up outside of SEC hands. Form PF is designed to assist the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), a new regulatory body drawn from the Federal Reserve, the SEC and the Treasury, among others, which was mandated by Dodd-Frank.

TCI Seeks Probes Of Coal India (Finalternatives)
The Children’s Investment Fund Management is keeping up the heat on the Indian government and a state-controlled coal company. The British activist’s point man on Coal India issues, partner Oscar Veldhuijzen, has called for two probes into alleged corruption at the company, of which the Indian government owns 90%. TCI has accused the government of improper involvement at Coal India, including a orders to boost coal supplies and lower prices for power producers, and the hedge fund has already sued, alleging that the moves violate treaties between India and the U.K. and Cyprus.

Familiar Tale As High-Flying Bill Hwang’s Tiger Asia Closes (InstitutionalInvestor)
When Tiger Asia’s Bill Hwang announced recently he was handing back all of his outside money by the end of this month, he reportedly told clients in a letter it was due to a “prolonged legal situation.” He was referring to a three-year probe by Hong Kong securities officials as well as a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. “As you are aware, the firm has been the subject of government investigations of alleged trading based upon confidential information and engaging in certain manipulative trades in late 2008/early 2009 in Asian markets,” Hwang wrote in his letter. “We continue to work to resolve these matters in the U.S. and overseas and look forward to putting them behind us.”

AOL introduces share buyback, special dividend (IndiaTimes)
AOL said on Monday it was launching a share buyback worth some $600 million and paying a special dividend as part of its plan to distribute proceeds from a billion-dollar patent sale. The once high-flying internet firm, which is reshaping itself as a media company, finalised plans to distribute $1.1 billion from its sale of patents earlier this year to Microsoft.

New education fund hopes to raise $10M for Bridgeport (CTPost)
A fund has been established to raise millions in private money for the city’s cash-strapped school system. Officials are hoping to receive some of those donations from deep-pocked, Gold Coast residents and a number of national foundations. So far, more than $100,000 in anonymous pledges have been made, a relatively small amount, compared to the $10 million school officials would like to raise over the next five years.

Dubai court approves Drydocks $2.2 bln debt plan (Reuters)
A special court in Dubai on Tuesday formally approved the $2.2 billion restructuring of shipbuilding unit Drydocks World, thereby making the complex debt deal effective. Creditors holding more than 97.8 percent of the debt had agreed to the deal at a meeting held in July. The firm had said it would seek sanction of the approvals from the Dubai World Tribunal at a hearing on August 28.

Suspected multi-million dollar Bitcoin pyramid scheme shuts down, investors revolt (TheVerge)
Remember pirateat40, the e-currency banker we speculated could be the Bernie Madoff of Bitcoin? Well, it looks like he owes a lot of people money. On August 17, pirateat40 announced the closure of Bitcoin Savings & Trust, a virtual hedge fund that promised to pay high rewards to investors who parked their Bitcoins there. Ten days later, investors are still waiting to get paid and pirateat40 is on the defensive. “When I know, you will,” says his away message in the fund’s official chat room, an effort to quiet the loudening chorus of, “WHERE ARE MY BITCOINS?”

Global recession is coming (BusinessMirror)
MARC FABER holds a doctorate in economics and has been forecasting and trading the global markets since the 1970s. Beginning in 1973, he has been based in Asia – first Hong Kong and now living in Chiangmai, Thailand, a city well known by foreign expats for an incredible German microbrewery and very numerous “hostess bars.” …Faber: “The federal government is sending each of us a $600 rebate. If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, the money goes to China. If we spend it on gasoline, it goes to the Arabs. If we buy a computer, it will go to India. If we purchase fruit and vegetables, it will go to Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.

Forest Labs adopts poison pill plan, targets Icahn (BusinessWeek)
Forest Laboratories Inc. said Monday it has adopted a shareholder rights plan, also known as a “poison pill,” to stop billionaire investor Carl Icahn from taking a bigger stake in the company. Icahn is the second-largest holder of Forest shares and has recently boosted his stake in the company by about 3 million shares, increasing his stake in the company to 11.2 percent from 9.9 percent. Forest said Icahn has made “rapid open market purchases” since the end of his latest proxy contest with the company. The new shareholder rights plan will go into effect if any investor’s holdings exceed 12 percent of the company’s stock in the next 12 months.

Robusta Coffee Beats Arabica As Folgers Cut Prices: Commodities (Bloomberg)
Robusta is beating arabica for the first time in four years as roasters use more of the cheaper grade and farmers reap fewer beans in Vietnam, the top grower. While robusta, used in espresso and instant coffee, typically costs less than the arabica used to make specialty drinks by retailers including Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), its discount has narrowed to 73 cents a pound, from 145 cents at the end of 2011. The spread will contract to 55 cents by the end of the year, the lowest since July 2009, as demand increases to a record, the average of 10 trader estimates compiled by Bloomberg shows.

Bonus Limits Spark Exodus At Barclays Energy Trading Unit (Bloomberg)
Barclays Plc (BARC) spent a decade assembling a team of the most successful gas and power traders in Europe. It took less than 16 months to lose most of them. Mercuria Energy Trading SA, based in Geneva, hired five members from the group of about a dozen from March 2011 through June, including Phil Sutterby as head of U.K. and European gas and Roger Jones, Barclays’s former global chief of commodities, according to people with knowledge of the moves who asked not to be identified. Six more left for companies including UBS AG (UBSN), Noble Group Ltd. (NOBL) and Freepoint Commodities LLC.

Hedge Fund Tech: Total Return 2012 (HedgeCo)
Hedge fund tech provider SS&C Technologies has announced the general availability of Total Return 2012, an update to SS&C’s portfolio and partnership accounting and reporting platform for hedge funds, funds of funds and family offices. “We are pleased to deliver our license clients as well as our fund administration customers a significantly enhanced version of Total Return,” said Bill Stone, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SS&C Technologies. “We are well positioned to address increased investor transparency and operational risk reporting through our proprietary portal technology and mobility-enabled infrastructure. We are committed to investing in Total Return and enabling cloud technologies such as our Form PF solution.”

Market Chatter: Talisman Rises in Wake of West Face Report (Nasdaq)
Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM.TO) shares rose nearly 4% in the wake of a report late Friday that the company had a prominent new shareholder in activist firm West Face Capital Inc., the Globe & Mail reports online. That gain easily outpaces most other energy producers’ moves in Monday morning trading.