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SLJ Hedge Fund Launch, Eastbridge Launch, Madoffs Keep Millions

Stephen Jen, Forex Strategist, Launches SLJ Macro Partners Hedge Fund (FT)

Stephen Jen, one of the world’s best-known foreign exchange strategists, is to launch his own hedge fund on Tuesday. Mr Jen’s SLJ Macro Partners, based in London, will begin trading with just over $220m under management, people familiar with the launch say. The fund will be one of the higher-profile hedge fund start-ups in London this year, not least because of Mr Jen’s stature in the city. Most hedge fund start-ups are still launching with $50m or less, say brokers. Investor demand for successful so-called global macro traders like Mr Jen, who aim to profit from macroeconomic dislocations, is once again rising amid volatile and unpredictable markets. Mr Jen’s new hedge fund business will focus on trading currencies, but with other bets in commodities, equities and fixed income in order to reduce portfolio volatility.David Tepper
Eastbridge Group Readies First Hedge Fund (FINAlternatives)
New York-based asset management firm Eastbridge Group is gearing up to launch a new hedge fund in the first quarter. The long/short vehicle—Eastbridge Red Dot—will invest in liquid U.S. securities with exposure to real estate and real estate-related companies, which is the same strategy that the firm has been running in a separately managed account since July. The SMA, which currently has $50 million in assets under management from a large European investor, gained 1.96% in its first quarter of trading (through September). “Our initial short positions in the real estate services and hotel sectors along with the more leveraged REITs performed well and were profitable in August,” the firm wrote in an investor letter obtained by FINalternatives.

Merlin Securities Hires Rick Bensignor (HedgeCo)
Rick Bensignor has joined hedge fund tech and prime broker Merlin Securities as chief market strategist. In this new position, Bensignor will produce behavioral market strategy research focused on a wide variety of asset classes and macro-economic commentary. Bensignor will report directly to Stephan Vermut, founder and managing partner of Merlin Securities, and will be based in the firm’s New York office. “Rick’s insights into behavioral economics and his deep understanding of the macro issues which drive markets make him a valuable and welcome addition to our team,” said Stephan Vermut. “Fund managers benefitting from our powerful reporting systems, risk analysis, and comprehensive fund workflow solutions will now also be able to take advantage of Rick’s market analysis, trading strategies and investment acumen. Having this type of seasoned professional as a resource is an incredible value-add for our clients.”
David Tepper Battles Teachers Unions (BusinessInsider)
Teachers unions are pretty popular punching bags. Even Steve Jobs hated them.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has practically made his career by pitting himself against the teachers unions, frequently on video. And now he’s getting some new, big money allies. Lisa Fleisher at WSJ reports that a group Tepper is backing called Better Education for Kids is taking to the airwaves to spend $1 million promoting anti-teachers union messages.

Madoffs Could Keep $82 Million (FINAlternatives)

The trustee in the Bernard Madoff case has warned that, under a ruling favoring the owners of the New York Mets, the Ponzi schemer’s family could be allowed to keep tens of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff ruled last month that Irving Picard can only file clawback lawsuits for phony profits withdrawn in the two years prior to Madoff’s December 2008 arrest. But under that ruling, Madoff’s own family members will be able to keep about $82 million of the $141 million in “other investors’ money” that they withdrew over the past six years. Picard made the claim in a reply to Rakoff in a different case, dealing with Madoff investor James Greiff. The judge asked Picard why Greiff shouldn’t be allowed to keep money he withdrew “in good faith.”

CP Rail Says it is Open to Talks with David Ackman’s Pershing Square (GlobeAndMail)

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP-T61.61-2.19-3.43%) said Monday that it is open to talks with a U.S. hedge fund that has become its largest shareholder. New York-based Pershing Square Capital Management LP, headed by William Ackman, disclosed its 12.2 per cent stake in Canada’s second-largest railway late Friday. “As with others, CP is open to the views of its shareholders. We will speak with Pershing Square to hear their input into our plan, already targeted at realizing greater efficiency and improved service reliability,” Calgary-based CP said in a memo to its employees.

Mandatory Clearing of OTC Derivatives Contracts by 2012 Mixed Impact on Hedge Fund Strategies (HedgeFundsReview)

The imposition of central clearing of over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives could spell the end of some existing hedge fund strategies while opening the door to a rash of new techniques. Overall, however, the diktat from the G20 to have standardised OTC derivative contracts traded on exchanges or electronic trading platforms by the end of 2012 is barely causing a ripple in the hedge fund industry. There are two reasons for this. Most funds assume the switch will have little or no effect on the way they conduct business. In short, it will be someone else’s problem. Fund managers are also reeling from regulatory fatigue and trying to make sense of, and money from, erratic volatile markets. For most, the 2012 deadline is not at the top of the priority list. In the US the mechanism for implementing OTC derivatives clearing is contained in the Dodd-Frank Act while the main legislation in the Europe Union is the European market infrastructure regulation (Emir) and through reforms of the markets in financial instruments directive (Mifid).

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