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30 Mar 2007

NFL Hedge Fund Case To Proceed as Planned

A federal judge in Atlanta ruled that the NFL players who entrusted their funds to Kirk Sean Wright, CEO of hedge fund International Management Associates of Atlanta, may move forward with their case over lost investments.

The FBI in association with the IRS, DOJ and SEC investigated why requests by current and former NFL players for their funds were ignored. The amount of the loss of funds in question is about $20 million. The investigation resulted in charges against Mr. Wright and a trial date is pending.

"It's a tremendous victory for our clients and all former and current players," said their lawyer, Jim Evangelista, of the law firm Motley Rice.

The ruling means the case will go to the discovery phase, in which the players' attorneys will seek documents and depositions of NFL officials about why they recommended the now-bankrupt and defunct hedge fund.

The players accuse the NFL and union of breach of fiduciary duty for approving the services of Kirk Wright and Nelson Keith Bond, co-heads of the bankrupt hedge fund, without doing background checks. Wright was ordered on Feb. 12 to pay the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission $20 million in its lawsuit over the failed fund.

Wright and his hedge fund are accused of collecting between $115 million and $185 million from at least 500 investors since 1997 and misleading some of them through false statements and documents to believe the value of those investments was increasing.

Top Ten Global Hedge Fund Firms

1. JPMorgan Asset Management, including Highbridge Capital Management, main offices in N.Y. Assets under management; $34 billion as of Jan '07.

2. Goldman Sachs Asset Management, also in New York, USA. AUM $32.53 billion.

3. Bridgewater Associates, Westport, USA. $30.2 billion.

4. D. E. Shaw Group, N.Y. $26.3 billion.

5. Farallon Capital Management, San Francisco, USA. $26.2 billion.

6. Renaissance Technologies Corp. East Setauket, USA. $24 billion.

7. Och-Ziff Capital Management, N.Y. $21 billion.

8. Cerberus Capital Management, N.Y. $19.15 billion.

9. Barclays Global Investors, San Francisco, USA. $18.9 billion.

10. Man Investments Limited (AHL single-manager strategies only) London, UK. AUM $18.8 billion.

The statistics represent single-manager hedge funds only. Funds of funds, which are tracked by InvestHedge, are not included in the $2 trillion calculations.

Global Hedge Funds now Over 2 Trillion in Assets

Assets in global hedge funds have now reached more than $2 trillion according to new research compiled by HedgeFund Intelligence, publisher of the newsletters and databases of EuroHedge, AsiaHedge, South AfricaHedge and InvestHedge, as well as the U.S.-based magazine Absolute Return.

The findings of this research, which is published in a new Global Review from HedgeFund Intelligence, shows a rise in global hedge fund assets from just over $1.5 trillion in January 2006 to $2.079 trillion by January of this year - a rate of growth in assets of just over 30% in the past year.

According to the latest research from InvestHedge - which tracks investors in hedge funds - an increasing proportion of this money is coming from institutional investors, with the majority of the assets allocated to hedge funds (over $1 trillion) now coming via the fund of funds sector.

The HedgeFund Intelligence research process was completed with the latest EuroHedge asset survey, which showed that assets in European hedge funds had reached almost $460 billion by January of this year - up from $325 billion the year before, and at the fastest rate of growth in the past year (about 40%) among the major regions around the world.

The latest AsiaHedge asset survey showed that combined assets in Asia-Pacific hedge funds had reached $147 billion (including Asia-Pacific funds managed from the U.S. and Europe) - up from $115 billion the year before.

In the U.S., HedgeFund Intelligence calculated that total hedge fund assets have now reached almost $1.5 trillion - including some $1.198 trillion accounted for the Absolute Return Billion Dollar Club alone (which was up from about $850 billion a year earlier).

After adjusting for a small amount of double-counting (such as for funds managed in one region but investing into another), the combined assets of hedge funds in the U.S., Europe and the Asia-Pacific now stand at $2.006 trillion. Adding in other regions - including Canada, Latin America and South Africa - takes the combined total to $2.079 trillion.