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31 Dec 2008

Hedge Fund Manager Acquires Long-only Fund Arm from Credit Suisse

Hedge fund manager, Aberdeen Asset Management PLC, has entered into an agreement with Credit Suisse to acquire their £40 billion ($58 billion) long-only asset management arm, making Aberdeen the the UK’s largest listed fund manager.

Credit Suisse sold the fund arm for approximately 240 million shares in Aberdeen, valued at £250 million ($363 million). The closing of the deal is to take place on 30 June 2009, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

Aberdeen’s largest hedge fund shareholder, Martin Hughes, Chief Executive of Toscafund, said, “Toscafund has already confirmed its support for this transformational acquisition, which has been made possible by the excellent operating platform offered by Aberdeen. Toscafund believes that the transaction is of clear benefit to the clients and shareholders of Aberdeen Asset Management and Credit Suisse.”

The acquired business is a long-only traditional asset manager with a leading presence in Europe, Asia and Australasia. It offers a broad product range, diversified predominantly across fixed income, money market and equities, with a variety of investment styles that will be integrated into Aberdeen’s investment processes. Its products are sold primarily to third party clients, with a significant minority of assets sourced through Credit Suisse’s Private Banking division, one of the world’s largest wealth managers.

Aberdeen has agreed an extension of the existing distribution agreement with Credit Suisse, this will give Aberdeen greater access to the banking network of Credit Suisse.

With the new acquisition, Aberdeen has opportunity to achieve greater scale in certain markets where the Group already has a presence, such as the UK, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. The Acquisition will also strengthen Aberdeen’s offering in certain product areas

“The acquisition confirms Aberdeen’s position as a leading global asset manager and provides us with greater access to the distribution network of Credit Suisse and its Private Banking division, one of the world’s largest wealth managers." Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive of Aberdeen, said, “This transaction fits perfectly within our strategy, a key part of which has been to make earnings enhancing acquisitions which give the business critical mass in our core competencies, complementing our organic growth."

“Given our proven track record of integrating businesses, we are well placed to ensure a smooth transition of the Credit Suisse assets to Aberdeen. We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues and clients, and also to welcoming Credit Suisse as a significant shareholder in Aberdeen. We believe that this transaction will be for the long-term benefit of all our shareholders.”

Silk Invest / Danfonds Team to Launch 2 new Hedge Funds

Specialist asset management firm, Silk Invest Ltd, has acquired Danfonds Frontier Fund SPC., a Cayman based hedge fund, in an all equity deal, Silk Invest also bought majority share in Danfonds Frontier Fund SPC, which will be renamed Silk Invest Frontier Fund SPC, Danfonds Investment Management (Cayman) Limited will be renamed Silk Invest (Cayman) Limited.

The new team will launch two Luxembourg UCITS funds, African Lions and Arab Falcons, in the first quarter of 2009. The Silk Invest Frontier Fund SPC will be relaunched in the second quarter of 2009 after finalizing the new offering memorandum and the various counterparty agreements.

Zin Bekkali, CEO of Silk Invest, comments that “the deal is a uniquely structured combination of talents that complements our new African and Middle Eastern fund platform.” Following the transaction, Daniel Broby, CEO of Danfonds, will become the Chief Investment Officer of Silk Invest.

Daniel Broby says that the deal “is perfectly timed from an investor perspective. There is now immense opportunity in frontier markets as a resultof the dramatic declines caused by the credit crisis; to which these economies are partially immune.”

Dr Heinz Hockmann, the Chairman of Silk Invest, notes that “The synergies between the Silk African Lions Fund, the Silk Arab Falcons Fund and the Danfonds Frontier Fund were immediately obvious. Our aim was always to become the most credible frontier markets specialist. With this deal we can demonstrate to our investors, more than ever, that we have an unrivalled frontier markets team, managing a unique investment offering across different asset classes.”

27 Dec 2008

Morrison & Foerster Hire NY Hedge Fund Lawyer Among Others

Morrison & Foerster LLP announced the election of ten new lawyers into their partnership, including specialists in venture capital, hedge funds, bio-technology, patents, corporate transactions and chapter 11 bankruptcy, among others. Their election is effective January 1, 2009.

“We have elected an exceptional group of lawyers to the partnership. This year’s newly elected partners reflect continued investment in our distinguishing practice strengths and our international reach,” said Keith Wetmore, Chairman of Morrison & Foerster. “Our new partners have demonstrated a commitment to client service and legal excellence. We are confident that they will make tremendous contributions to our clients’ success and our Firm’s progress in the years ahead.”

Elected as Partner Thomas M. Devaney, a member of the Business Department, will be resident in the New York office. Devaney specializes in private equity fund formation and investment, representing a variety of domestic and international private equity funds, including real estate funds, venture capital funds, and debt funds, in addition to hedge funds with a broad range of investment strategies.

The other lawyers elected as Partners are; Anders T. Aannestad, Jonathan Bockman, Christopher B. Eide, James M. Halstead, Rebekah Kaufman, David E. Melaugh, James J. Mullen III, Ph.D., Norman S. Rosenbaum, and Ivan G. Smallwood, a resident in the Tokyo office.

24 Dec 2008

Blackstone Makes Single Manager Hedge Fund Changes to Ensure Profitability

The Blackstone Group is making changes to the single manager hedge funds businesses within its Marketable Alternative Asset Management (MAAM) segment.

Blackstone is consolidating its distressed securities fund onto a single operating platform and moving Blackstone Kailix Advisors, the investment manager of Blackstone’s long/short equities fund, which will be spun off to its management team led by Manish Mittal, who intends to form a new fund as an independent entity.

Commenting on the changes, Tony James, President and Chief Operating Officer of Blackstone, said, “We believe these measures will enable us to operate more profitably in the current environment. Although these funds have performed better than the S&P 500 and other global market averages, we expect that adverse fundraising conditions in the hedge fund industry will prevent these two initiatives from scaling up to a size where they are meaningful for our business on a stand alone basis.”

Blackstone will be an investor in the new fund and investors in the existing fund will be offered the option of investing in the new fund on a preferred basis as their interests in the existing fund are liquidated. Although the existing fund has outperformed global equities measures, its size does not make it a core strategic business for Blackstone and it is not anticipated that this will change in the near term. The fund has not imposed any gates or liquidity restrictions on investors.

“We continue to have a significant commitment to the hedge fund business," James continued, "The current market turmoil with its associated dislocation of asset prices presents us with a multitude of compelling opportunities to invest capital. It is during times like these that we need to be especially disciplined to focus both our people and our capital on the largest opportunities.”

23 Dec 2008

Hedge Funds Take Bullish Position On Gold

In the last week, leading up to today, (Tuesday) hedge funds and other "large speculators" took their largest bullish position (when compared with the number of bearish bets) since early August.

Commercial traders such as refineries, mints, wholesalers and bullion banks, took their smallest bull position in 19 weeks, as they sold the "long" contracts bought by speculative players.

This has returned the balance of bull/bear positions in December to what has been considered the norm for the last four years, with over 85% of speculative position betting on a rise.

Last week also saw the outstanding number of open contracts in Gold Futures and options rise more than 9%, but it remained one-third below the record set in Jan. 2008.

"If gold can close the year above its January 2008 open, it will be one of the few positive asset stories of the year," notes new analysis from Mitsui, the precious metals dealer in London, "from a wealth preservation perspective at least."

"With the Bernanke printing press set to move into overdrive next year," Mitsui said regarding the future of Gold in 2009, "along with the not so pretty reality of negative real interest rates, it is difficult to put together a positive thesis for the US Dollar," Mitsui said, "In such a climate, gold could flourish."

19 Dec 2008

NAZRA Hedge Fund Return Index Surges

The Ernst and Young New Zealand Absolute Return index surged to a new high in November 2008, gaining +1.502% for the month, putting year-to-date performance at +17.597%, and year-on-year performance at +21.104%.

As with October, it was the trend-following, tail risk, volatility and commodity managers that saw positive returns, whilst global equities were weaker in line with global equity indices.

New Zealand Absolute Return Association (NZARA) Chairman Anthony Limbrick, who is also Chief Investment Officer of hedge fund Pure Capital (a contributing manager), said “we are close to completing our first calendar year of record-keeping for the index and it is heartening to see such a strong ensemble performance from the constituent managers”.

The Ernst and Young New Zealand Absolute Return Index is based on a concept of simple averages i.e. each of the eight constituent managers presents an “NZARA Average”, an average of the performance of all their funds or programs that are available for new money. In some cases a manager is presenting an average of several products. This collection of averages is then compiled again as a simple average to create the index. Ernst and Young compiles the index but is not a verification agent and does not guarantee the veracity of the performance numbers presented by the individual managers.

The index documentation was compiled by law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts.

18 Dec 2008

Lawfirm Examines Hedge Fund Misrepresentation for Investors Benifit

Class action law firm Bernstein Liebhard LLP said that dozens of investors, who have lost hundreds of millions of dollars by investing in Madoff Investment Securities through hedge funds and other collective investment funds, have consulted and sought the advice of the firm.

Bernstein Liebhard is investigating whether, among other things, these investment funds conducted proper due diligence before investing heavily in Madoff Securities, and whether these funds ignored the warning signs that Madoff was conducting a large-scale fraud. Bernstein Liebhard is also investigating whether these funds misrepresented to investors the concentration of the funds' investments in Madoff Securities.

On December 11, 2008, Madoff was arrested by federal authorities who say Madoff admitted to operating a $50 billion Ponzi scheme in which Madoff used the principal investments of new clients to pay fictitious "returns" to other clients. The criminal action against Madoff is pending in the Southern District of New York, 08-Mag-2735. Although Madoff had only a few individual clients that invested directly with him, individuals and institutions across the world invested indirectly and sometimes unknowingly in Madoff's scheme through "feeder funds" - such as Fairfield Sentry Ltd. (run by the Fairfield Greenwich Group), Rye Select Fund (run by Tremont Group Holdings), and Kingate Global Fund (run by FIM Advisers LLP) - whose sole purpose was to funnel money to Madoff Securities. Hedge funds and funds of funds invested heavily with Madoff's feeder funds (including Fairfield) despite many warning signs that the consistent returns Madoff delivered were too good to be true.

"Hedge fund, fund of funds managers, or other collective investment fund that lost money as a result of its investment in Madoff Securities, may have a right of action to recoup losses," Bernstein Liebhard says "We has assembled a team of former government prosecutors, former SEC trial attorneys, and investigators to analyze the various legal claims available to investors injured by the Madoff scheme.

Bernstein Liebhard is one of the preeminent plaintiffs' class action law firms in the country, having pursued hundreds of securities and consumer cases and recovering approximately $2 billion for its clients. It has been named to The National Law Journal's "Plaintiffs' Hot List" in each of the last six years.

17 Dec 2008

Hedge My Job

It looks like the market for financial `dream jobs´ may have actually perked up amidst the financial turmoil of the past few months.

Investment managers saw a 22% increase in job offers as rival firms take advantage of the increasing number of financial services workers looking for a job by "snapping up the cream of the crop on much less than they would have been able to 6 months ago," according to Powerchex Limited.

Hedge fund and insurance companies also made more employment offers than 6 months ago as those companies who have been able to remain stable through the turmoil prepare to put themselves at the head of the pack to take advantage of any economic recovery.

Here is another site I came across, it looks pretty new, but I'll keep tabs on it through this blog as I think it has potenital;

Conference in Brussels on Carbon Capture & Storage

Platts 3rd Annual European Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) conference is assembling the CCS community to discuss and review CCS projects in their various stages and look to uncover opportunities in what will become a changed regulatory environment to ensure CCS lives up to its potential.

Some of the issues to be covered include, delivering EU Regulatory Framework, finance and investment, public perception, international CCS case-studies and storage selection and liability among others. Some leading companies are also planning to highlight their latest CCS projects.

Carbon Capture and Storage has developed in a short space of time from coal-fired power’s much-heralded saving grace, to Europe’s energy policy catchphrase to real, on-the-ground pilot project status.

With these first-stage investments underway, the energy industry is closer than ever to a genuine assessment of CCS’ viability. CSS says they are looking for updates from the major actors - how are the pilot projects progressing? Is there an adequate spread of projects in the pipeline to test all potential technologies?

16 Dec 2008

AIMB Launched by Hedge Fund Restructuring Advisors

Alternative money managers and hedge fund restructuring advisers, Grisons Peak and IGS, have formed a joint venture to launch the Alternative Investment Merchant Banking (AIMB). The AIMB is to advise on M&A and restructuring deals for firms in the alternative assets industry, the business will be co-led by Paul Sullivan, Partner of Grisons Peak, and John Godden, CEO of IGS Group..

“With a 30% decline in AUM and an expected 50% decrease in the number of Fund managers and no incentive fees for 2008," John Godden, CEO of IGS Group, said, "we will see a continuing surge in merger and acquisitions activity as the Hedge Fund industry goes into an accelerated Darwinian phase. The alternative assets industry has traditionally been formed of boutiques which make for particular and complex merger issues requiring specialist knowledge of both Hedge Funds and M&A expertise.”

“The reduction in AUM in 2008 and the expected continuation of this trend in 2009 will increase the pressure on the owners and managers of alternative investment firms. Many of these firms will seek partners in order to improve profitability and increase their attractiveness to investors.” Paul Sullivan, Partner of Grisons Peak, concluded.

The 50:50 joint venture AIMB targets UK and European deals deal involving single fund managers with AUM of between $250m to $750m or Fund of Hedge Fund managers with AUM of between $400m and $1bn.

FactSet Anounces 2008 Global Revenues

FactSet Research Systems Inc. announced the first quarter results ending November 30, 2008, showed revenue increase to $155.6 million, an increase of 16% compared to the prior year.

Operating income for the first quarter advanced to $51.3 million, up 21% from $42.5 million in the same period of fiscal 2008. Net income rose to $35.6 million as compared to $29.4 million a year ago. Diluted earnings per share increased to $0.73, up from $0.58 in the same period of fiscal 2008. Included in the just completed first quarter were income tax benefits of $1.4 million or $0.03 per diluted share related to the reenactment of the U.S. Federal R&D credit in October 2008, retroactive to January 1, 2008. The first quarter of fiscal 2009 marked the first full quarter of operations for FactSet Fundamentals. FactSet Fundamentals increased revenues by $0.8 million and reduced diluted earnings per share by $0.03 per share.

Philip A. Hadley, Chairman and CEO said, "Our earnings results in the first quarter clearly demonstrate the strength of FactSet's business model. In the most turbulent three moths for our clients in decades, FactSet was able to find productivity solutions for them and grow both our ASV and EPS."

ASV increased $7.0 million when excluding currency effects during the first quarter and rose 14.5% or $78.4 million over the prior year. Including foreign exchange, ASV increased $5.2 million during the quarter.

ASV was $620 million at November 30, 2008. Of this total, 79% of ASV is derived from buy-side institutions and the remainder derives from the sell-side firms who perform M&A advisory work and equity research. Many sources are predicting that the current market turmoil will result in a reduction of the number of hedge funds. The contribution from hedge funds to FactSet's total ASV is 6%. ASV at any given point in time represents the forward-looking revenues for the next 12 months from all annual subscription services currently being supplied to clients.

The Company will host a conference call today, December 16, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. (EST) to review the first quarter fiscal 2009 earnings release. To listen, please visit the investor relations section of the Company's website at

About FactSet

FactSet Research Systems Inc. combines integrated financial information, analytical applications, and client service to enhance the workflow and productivity of the global investment community. The Company, headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, was formed in 1978 and now conducts operations from more than twenty-three locations worldwide.

15 Dec 2008

Hong Kong Hedge Fund Triples Investor Relation Technology

Hong Kong-based hedge fund manager PMA has chosen to more than triple the number of users of PerTrac CMS in the company's Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, London, and Dubai offices.

PerTrac CMS is an alternative investment workflow management solution used for investor relations, capital raising and investment management workflows.

"PMA's marketing reach has expanded significantly over the last 12 months and we now has marketing teams based in our Dubai and London offices as well as representations in New York," noted PMA Chief Technology Officer Shane McPherson.

PMA was established in July 2002 to provide investment advisory and investment with assets over $2 billion, PMA currently has over 70 professionals employed in Hong Kong, Sydney, London and Dubai, and became a member of the SPARX group in April 200, the largest publicly listed asset manager in Asia.

Salus Alpha Hedge Funds Not Exposed To Madoff Strategy

Vienna based hedge fund manager Salus Alpha Group Services GmbH said that any exposure to Madoff funds were systematically prevented by the proprietary investment approach of their funds at all times.

"I am not shocked that Madoff did blow up but I am shocked that so many obviously unqualified naive fund of hedge fund managers who are obviously doing no due diligence nor do they understand hedge fund strategies do manage so much amounts of money and wonder why this happened to them" said Oliver Prock, CIO of Salus Alpha.

"We never invested into US and UK hedge funds which work under the rules of 'don’t ask, don’t tell'," the hedge fund manager said, "We always scrutinized this model by one simple question to the biggest hedge fund manager?. A 'No' always meant that there are problems behind such as in the Madoff situation."

The investment approach of Salus Alpha consists of state of the art due diligence and executing investments as managed accounts only, which the fund manager says has prevented and will prevent the company at from investing into Illusion Alpha.

"We did not get any inquiry form existing investors since they know that all funds Salus Alpha manages are fully regulated under UCITS III and do invest in liquid alpha strategies through managed accounts only and are therefore protected at all times," Salus Alpha concluded.

Dow Jones Hedge Fund Strategy Benchmark Review

West Palm Beach ( - In the monthly report from Dow Jones Indexes on the performance of Hedge Fund Strategy Benchmarks, only one of four strategies, merger arbitrage, posted net-of-fee gains in November.

After hedge funds experienced two of the most volatile months in market history, merger arbitrage emerged with a small positive net-of-fee gain in November, returning 0.15%. The small gain held YTD performance for merger arbitrage at approximately the same level as last month, down about -9%.

Convertible arbitrage was hit the hardest with a loss of -4.80%, followed by event driven and distressed securities, which were down -6.35% and -7.47%, respectively, for November.

The equity market neutral and equity long/short benchmarks were suspended at the start of the month as a result of the temporary risk mitigation measures taken by the investment manager of the managed account platform that supports the Dow Jones Hedge Fund Strategy Benchmarks. It has not been determined when calculation of these benchmarks will resume.

On a float-adjusted basis, the Dow Jones Wilshire 5000, the only broad measure of the domestic equity market, lost -8% (-8.15% on a full-cap basis) in November decreasing its YTD return to -38.30% (-38.37% on a full-cap basis).

The fixed income asset class, as measured by the Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index was up 4.88% this month and its cumulative return is down -5.99% for the year. Finally, the Dow Jones Wilshire Global Index, the broadest measure of global equity market, lost -6.73% for the month decreasing its YTD return to -44.68% for 2008.

November 2008 figures for the Dow Jones Hedge Fund Strategy Benchmarks are based on daily estimates net of fees.

11 Dec 2008

UAE Asset Manager Launches Hedge Funds

US-based Stream Asset Management announced the launch of a credit dislocation fund and a multi-strategy credit hedge fund, the company said in a press statement.

The move is part of Gulf Stream's aggressive expansion strategy to capitalise on current market opportunities. To further support the firm's growth, Gulf Stream has also opened a New York City office, the statement added.

Earlier this year, Istithmar World Capital, the private equity and alternative investment arm of Istithmar World, acquired a majority stake in Gulf Stream. Gulf Stream Asset Management is majority owned by Istithmar World Capital.

10 Dec 2008

Africa Roundtable Hedge Fund Update

The Opalesque South Africa Roundtable was held November 10th 2008 in their Cape Town Office. There, the participants also discussed the particularities of investing in Africa (ex-South Africa).

South Africa's equity and fixed income markets displayed exemplary robustness during 2008. Many global allocators may not be aware that the South African financial market infrastructure matches or exceeds its "first world" counterparts in many respects.

The equity and fixed income markets demonstrated exemplary robustness throughout the turbulences of 2008: no short-selling ban, no trading halt and no failed trades. Offshore investors can benefit from efficient and proven ways to get pure South African alpha without taking currency risk.

During the Roundtable, portfolio managers explained new ways to construct hedges, and informed on new and upcoming products. How global investors can benefit from the "Africa story", which is probably the largest opportunity set in the new investment paradigm called "frontier investing"? How do you deal with restricted liquidity, and is Africa really uncorrelated?

The following experts participated in the Opalesque South Africa Roundtable: James Gubb, Founding Partner of Clear Horizon Capital St. John Bungey, Partner, Praesidium Capital Management James Addo, Portfolio Manager, Finch Asset Management Simone Lowe, Portfolio Manager, Thames River Capital Andy Pfaff, Founding Partner of Trendline Funds Ian Hamilton, Founder, IDS Group Ryan Proudfoot, Co-Head RMB Prime Broking Warren Chapman, Head of Peregrine Prime Broking Kevin Ewer, Portfolio Manager, Blue Ink Investments.

South African hedge fund managers and hedge fund investors share surprising insights. For example, - South African single strategy hedge funds offer transparency "far superior to anything anywhere else", according to investors - South African hedge funds suffered their first - and only until that point - net redemptions in October 2008, but only 2.5% of total assets - South Africa is the first country in the world that actually distinguishes between normal fund managers and hedge fund managers, with higher criteria required for hedge fund managers.

Neuberger Berman to buy Lehman Holdings

Due to their recent share decrease, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. has agreed to sell majority interest to asset manager Neuberger Berman. The transaction will create a new, independent investment management company to be called Neuberger Investment Management, managing approximately $160 billion of assets as of 30 November 2008.

Lehman Brothers Private Equity Partners Limited (LBPE) and certain of its affiliates will be a part of this transaction. The sale is subject to final Bankruptcy Court approval, and closing is expected in the first quarter of 2009.

LBPE's Board of Directors believes this transaction will significantly benefit the Company by providing the management team of the Investment Manager a strong platform from which to continue managing LBPE's high quality private equity portfolio and support the long term success of the Company.

LBPE will also host a conference call later this week for investors and analysts to discuss the Investment Manager update and the Company's performance. An updated investor presentation will be published on the Company's Web site prior to the conference call on 12 December 2008.

Are Managed Forex Accounts Suitable for Short-term Hedge Fund Investors?

In an interview with Geneva based Forex trader and currency specialist Robert Paulson, he said; "Trading the Forex market is for serious investors seeking alternative investment opportunities."

Clients pulling out of hedge funds due to the current state of affairs has raised questions about short term options and the possibility that investors may find a managed account more suitable.

"Understanding the dynamics of diversification and proper asset allocation is an easy formula to understand. To some investors currency trading is considered a “must” and a “cannot do with out” investment class. In Forex there are no “bull markets” or “bear markets”, having the mobility to trade virtually anywhere in the world is essential when it comes to proper investing.”

Currently operating a managed account program in Geneva, Paulson said he is looking to Dubai and the UAE for the next wave of investors, "The dynamics of the current investment environment offers opportunity for those with a realistic appetite for risk. The Foreign Exchange (Forex) markets have been an asset class most enjoyed by the informed. With over a trillion dollars being traded each day opportunity is mentioned often. In the current financial environment we hear about stock markets falling, commodities selling off and real estate prices dropping. What we don’t hear much about is where serious money is being made."

Making money has never been easy and respectable returns are often taken for granted. To achieve consistency one must thoroughly analyze, track, and monitor economic conditions around the globe.

Paulson also warned, "There is an enormous amount of time needed to ensure intelligent representation in a fast moving environment. One should understand that where there is a loss there is also a profit, zero-sum is not a game but a way of life. It is also a breeding ground for those who understand."

Ronaldo Hermoso Appointed Director of Hedge Funds at OakRun

Hedge fund manager OakRun Capital announced the appointment of Rolando Hermoso as director of funds. Their newly launched Short Term High Yield Fund also delivered November annualized yield of 9.58%.

Hermoso has over 27 years in the investment banking industry at various senior executive levels specializes primarily in the structuring, marketing and the execution of structured finance products. With 10 years at the Bank of America he was also Head of the Investment Bank for Citicorp for Venezuela and the Antilles. He holds Masters degrees in Management and Operations Research from Stanford University and B.S. degrees in applied mathematics and physics.

The Cayman Islands exempted fund launched on October 1st and came in at 9.48% annualized in its first month. The fund's objective is to generate above average current income with a lower overall credit risk profile and maintain a stable NAV.

"We do not believe that simply managing for relative performance is satisfactory to our clients or ourselves." says Scott Rhodenizer, Founder, CEO, and Chief Investment Officer, "While we work to outperform the markets, we strive to do so without excessive risk."

9 Dec 2008

Hedge Fund Launched in '07 Completes Successful 1st Year

The DM Swiss Equity Asymmetric Fund has successfully completed its first year of operation realising a net gain for its investors +2.67%.

"We are extremely pleased to see the fund successfully navigate its way through one of the most challenging environments for investors in living memory." Marc-Etienne Rouge, partner at Delman SA said, "Launching a new fund is a difficult task at the best of times, but to do so, and so successfully in this type of environment is remarkable and a credit to our entire team."

The DM Swiss Equity Asymmetric Fund employs a conservative long/short fundamental stock picking strategy to the Swiss equity market and is co-managed by Urs Heinimann and Adrian Peter at Mirabaud & Cie, Zurich. Both Urs and Adrian are Swiss equity specialists having spent their careers focussed on the sector.

"The performance of the fund this year is a solid endorsement of the skills of the managers and a strong validation of the strategy. We firmly believe that the type of environment we are likely to encounter going forward will be one in which the strategy continues to outperform," added Marc-Etienne.

Delman SA, is a Geneva based company specialising in the creation and the delegation of managed funds, Delman launched the DM Swiss Equity Asymmetric Fund on 30th November 2007 in partnership with Mirabaud and Cie.

Alternative Investors Form Joint Venture to Expand Africa's Telecommunications Infrastructure

Satellite communications company Intelsat is launching a joint venture with a South African alternative investor group led by Convergence Partners.

The joint venture plans to finance, build and launch a new satellite, Intelsat New Dawn, featuring a payload optimized to deliver wireless back haul, broadband and television programming to the continent of Africa, it is expected to enter service in early 2011.

The group recently concluded agreements for financing of the project, which is expected to cost around $250 million. The project is to be funded approximately 15% with equity and 85% with debt, the debt being in the form of non-recourse project financing provided by African institutions. Pre-orders for satellite capacity currently total more than $350 million, with some contracts for up to 15 years of service on the satellite.

"Today marks an important milestone in the development of Africa's infrastructure," Andile Ngcaba, Chairman of Convergence Partners said, "The New Dawn joint venture, with its optimized satellite and African-led financing, represents a solution for Africa by Africa. Over the course of this satellites life, it will provide world-class connectivity, allowing businesses to grow and rural communities to connect. Convergence Partners believes that investments in African projects of this nature can offer superior returns while also accelerating the socio-economic development of the continent."

Hedge Fund Trian Partners to Hold Over 50 Million Fast Food Shares

Hedge fund Trian Partners said that they will buy about 49.4 million shares of fast-food operator Wendy's/Arby's Group for $4.15 per share, or about $205 million.

The hedge fund and their affiliates now own about 21.6% of Wendy's/Arby's, or 52.1 million shares, up from its previous 11.1% stake. In November, Trian Fund Management L.P., led by billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, Peter W. May and Edward P. Garden, said it would buy shares of the fast-food restaurant business for about $4.15 per share.

The deal was subject to certain conditions, including that there would not be a decline of more than 10% in the Dow Jones Industrial average or the S&P 500 index after Nov. 5. Another condition was that Wendy's/Arby's shares would not lose 10% of their value.

Triarc Cos. Inc., which operates Arby's and was run by billionaire investor Nelson Peltz, bought Wendy's in a deal that closed in September.

8 Dec 2008

Oxford Funding adds $40 Million in New Properties to its Hedge Fund

Oxford Funding Corp. has signed a letter of intent to acquire $40 million in new properties into its hedge fund, The Oxford Opportunistic Mortgage Fund, Ltd.

The assets are being acquired from ARCOA Capital Partners, LP, a Houston-based investment company. Larry Ramming, Managing Partner of ARCOA, stated, "We expect Oxford to manage and maximize these assets for us as the economy turns around. This should be a win-win for both our investors and Oxford's shareholders."

Oxford plans to manage this portfolio of properties to maturity or sale. CEO Ron Redd said, "We expect this to be the first step in a series of profitable asset acquisitions over the next several months. We have demonstrated our ability to help Americans stay in their homes and protect equity values while making attractive returns for our company," Redd added. "This is a big step forward in our plan to build value for our shareholders by acquiring assets at attractive values and managing them to realize profits," he concluded.

Oxford Funding is an asset resolution company, engaging in the purchase and management of bulk mortgage loan portfolios in the United States. It buys loan portfolios secured by real estate on a wholesale basis at discounts to face value, and resells the assets on a retail basis with margins. The company acquires mortgage portfolios from banks, mortgage companies, and lenders; restructures and services the loans; and then re-packages the loans for resale. It also acquires performing, under-performing, and non-performing loans.

Canada's Hedge Funds Care Group Raise $150K for Kids

Canada's hedge fund industry gathered in November to raise $150,000 in support of Hedge Funds Care Canada (HFCC), dedicated exclusively to the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect.

"The Canadian hedge fund industry is particularly devoted to philanthropic causes, and this cause resonates, even more so in these difficult economic times," said Corey Goldman, President and Director of Hedge Funds Care Canada. "Hard times bring stress, and stress causes pain but there is no reason that any child should be exposed to physical or psychological trauma, maltreatment or neglect."

HFCC is part of a larger alliance of hedge fund industry professionals that comprise New York-based Hedge Funds Care, including prime brokers, attorneys, accountants, information providers, investors and managers. They have raised approximately $31 million through annual benefits in Toronto, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, London and the Cayman Islands.

Experts Discuss Hedge Funds at "Fighting the Tape" Seminar

Top financial industry leaders and more than 200 attendees gathered in New York late last week discuss the volatile hedge fund market and provide insights on distressed funds.

Sponsored by global offshore law firm Walkers, the "Fighting the Tape" seminar included a wide variety of speakers offered a comprehensive look at the changes in the market over the past year, as well as predictions for what the alternative investment funds industry can expect in the months ahead.

The experts anticipate a new era of hedge fund regulation, greater flexibility and versatility in hedge fund offering documents, broader discretion for fund managers, and continued growth in many of the world's key economies such as China, India, Russia, Brazil, the Middle East, and South Korea.

Investment manager George Hall, founder and president of The Clinton Group gave his personal views on the financial crisis and what the market might see under President-elect Barack Obama. While he felt it was too early to say how the "Obama factor" might influence the hedge fund industry, Mr. Hall said that he hoped the new President would make good choices when selecting his Treasury Secretary and a leader for the SEC.

"The true impact of the US credit crisis will not be tangible for many months to come," Yolanda McCoy, head of the Investments and Securities Division at the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) said, although she was able to confirm that to date they were aware of a total of 340 Cayman funds that had been impacted by the problems with Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and AIG, with more than 200 of those affected by issues with Lehman.

Professor Jeffrey Rosensweig, director of the Global Perspectives Program at Goizueta Business School at Emory University, closed the seminar with insights into the investment opportunities presented by this current stage in the cycle, shifting the focus from New York and London to emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, China, the Middle East and India.

"The world adds 100 people every 42 seconds," Professor Rosensweig said, "and 98% of that population growth is in the emerging markets." Pointing to the expectation of long-term continued economic expansion in these regions, Professor Rosensweig said this massive population growth, combined with a move out of poverty in these regions, presents real future opportunities for investors.

5 Dec 2008

PureWave Secures 12 Million with help of 4 Venture Funds

PureWave Networks Inc. has raised $12 million in Series B funding. ATA Ventures and Leapfrog Ventures were joined by venture funds Allegis Capital and Benhamou Global Ventures.

Two new funds, ATA Ventures and Leapfrog Ventures, have joined PureWave’s existing investors in completing the funding round. The Series B funding will allow PureWave to commercially introduce its advance beam forming WiMAX base stations in North America, the APAC region and other selected markets and to expand its operations.

”PureWave’s strong balance sheet in this challenging economic environment, together with our leading edge product offering, will be the foundation of our future growth,” said Gideon Ben-Efraim, PureWave’s CEO and Chairman. “WiMAX and LTE infrastructure are the big growth opportunity in the mobile infrastructure market today and we are positioning the company to be a major player in this space.”

PureWave, a Silicon Valley Company, is the world’s leading supplier of high-performance adaptive beamforming 4G base-stations currently supporting standard WiMAX devices, enabling delivery of quadruple-play services (Voice, Video, Data, Mobile).

Leapfrog is an early stage technology investor based in Menlo Park, CA. The principals have collectively been involved in over 60 venture investments. Leapfrog is currently investing from its second fund, which commenced its activity in 2005.

4 Dec 2008

Mark Thompson Hired by CME as Hedge Fund Director

Derivatives exchange group CME has hired Mark H. Thompson Jr. as Director of hedge funds. Thompson, 37, will be responsible for serving as the company's primary liaison to the East Coast hedge fund community and developing hedge fund business within the region across all CME Group product lines. He will be based out of New York and will report to Tina Lemieux, Managing Director of hedge funds and broker services.

Thompson joins CME Group from UBS Securities LLC where he most recently served as a member of the macro/cross asset sales team. In this role, he was responsible for serving as the single point of contact for macro, long/short, transition and asset managers for all derivatives and cash products and performing cross-asset idea generation and research for clients. He also served as a member of the bank's global futures and options sales team. His background also includes operations and analyst roles with Moore Capital Management and Banque Paribas.

CME Group is the world's largest and most diverse derivatives exchange. Building on the heritage of CME, CBOT and NYMEX, CME Group serves the risk management needs of customers around the globe. As an international marketplace, CME Group brings buyers and sellers together on the CME Globex electronic trading platform and on trading floors in Chicago and New York.

3 Dec 2008

Rival Hedge Fund Avoids Steep Loses through Downside Protection Strategies

Canadian hedge fund manager, Rival Capital Management launched the Rival North American Growth Fund and since 2007 it has gained more than 80 accredited investors and $15 million in assets under management (AUM).

Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the hedge fund is focused on small/midcap Canadian as well as US growth companies, with up to $2 billion Canadian market cap and $10 billion US. Also under development by Rival Capital Management is the Rival North American RRSP Growth Fund, which will buy units in the underlying Rival.

The fund uses a combination of a technical and a fundamental approach, using a proprietary filtering routine that accesses a database of 8,000 US companies and 2,000 CDN companies tracking approximately 2,000 variables, focusing on leading industries and stocks within those industries. The fund also focuses on protecting downside risk through strategies to limit leverage and limit losses.

While the S&P/TSX SmallCap index is down 43.23% year-to-date (to Oct 31, 2008 ) the Rival North American Growth Fund has used its proprietary risk management strategies to keep its loses to a minimum (-9.82 %) during this unprecedented period of volatility and downward pressured markets. When asked about conditions that may cause the hedge fund to sell, CIO Tony Warzel said, "We normally look for a change or reversal in the underlying attributes that caused us to originally take a position in a stock. For example, if the momentum is slowing we can usually directly attribute the change in sentiment in one or more of our predefined triggers such as sales or earnings. The sell message can be very clear and come very quickly which is why we monitor our portfolio continuously and very closely."

"Because we keep our portfolio small we know each company well and we pay close attention to their chart action," Warzel said when asked about risk management, "We also have proprietary risk mitigation techniques and tools available to us. If warranted, we will use limits on the way up and the way down. In addition, we limit the size of each holding and will use shorts to counteract what we see as an overweight in a particular area. Once we generate alpha, we like to protect it. Therefore if we make a bad trade we work to exit quickly and minimize the downside. We have a 10% rule where if we are down 10% on an initial trade we sell out the position. Yes you can occasionally get whipsawed but that one rule alone has saved us an immense amount of pain this year. In addition, we do not add to losing positions, based on our style averaging down is something we avoid; given the market action this year that too has worked well for us." Warzel concluded.

Warzel has experience as a Small and MidCap Equity Manager, managing AUM in excess of $1.3 billion for a variety of funds.

2 Dec 2008

Redemptions Halted by one of the Worlds Largest Hedge Funds

One of the world's largest hedge funds has temporarily halted redemptions according to reports. Tudor Investment Corp's flagship portfolio, has been reported to have halted redemptions so they can segregate difficult-to-sell assets in the fund from those they can offload more easily.

Bloomberg reports that the move was made by the the fund to avoid having to raise cash in falling markets to pay out withdrawing investors. Tudor Investment Corp, the hedge fund manager established by Paul Tudor Jones, was also reported by Bloomberg as having temporarily suspended redemptions from the portfolio.

Tudor is reportedly allotting to the investors in Tudor BVI Global shares in Legacy, with a view to selling the assets in Legacy over time to hand money back to those clients.

Founded in 1980 by Paul Tudor Jones II, the firm currently manages $15.4 billion. The firm's investment strategies include global macro trading, fundamental equity investing in the U.S. and Europe, emerging markets, venture capital, commodities, event driven strategies and technical trading systems.

1 Dec 2008

Administration plans to issue 20 highly contentious rules in last weeks

With the economy tumbling and American troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Bush has promised to cooperate with Obama to make the transition "as smooth as possible." But that has not stopped his administration from trying, in its final days, to cement in place a diverse array of new regulations.

A Labor Department proposal that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job is one of about 20 highly contentious rules the Bush administration is planning to issue in its final weeks. The rules deal with issues as diverse as abortion, auto safety and the environment. One rule would make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas. Another would reduce the role of federal wildlife scientists in deciding whether dams, highways and other projects pose a threat to endangered species.

Obama and his advisers have already signaled their wariness of last-minute efforts by the Bush administration to embed its policies into the Code of Federal Regulations, a collection of rules having the force of law. The advisers have also said that Mr. Obama plans to look at a number of executive orders issued by Mr. Bush.

A new president can unilaterally reverse executive orders issued by his predecessors, as Bush and President Bill Clinton did in selected cases. But it is much more difficult for a new president to revoke or alter final regulations put in place by a predecessor. A new administration must solicit public comment and supply "a reasoned analysis" for such changes, as if it were issuing a new rule, the Supreme Court has said.

Excerpt from; Eleventh-Hour Rush to Enact a Rule That Obama Fought

Job Search Digest Research Reveals Hedge Fund Employees Knew About Market Shift Ahead of Time

A survey conducted by Job Search Digest, publishers of Hedge Fund Jobs Digest, revealed a shift in the hedge fund industry. Given the current state of the market, the results tell an interesting story and show that key players in hedge fund careers knew trouble was on the horizon earlier this year.

Some findings of interest are that despite no significant increase in compensation, there was a substantial increase in satisfaction with hedge fund compensation. This indicates that well before Wall Street's meltdown, hedge fund employees knew the market had shifted. This year's report reveals that 42% of hedge fund employees are happy with their current level of compensation – up from a mere 25% last year.

The survey also found that pay is not correlating with fund performance. When the fund performs well, employees are paid well – most of the time. The hedge funds reporting this year performed well with the majority reporting more than 10% return (and many reporting over 25% return). firms reporting flat performance (that is, zero return) had the highest average pay.

Although the hedge fund industry is often referred to as a meritocracy, many respondents to the survey indicated their bonus is disconnected from their individual performance and, instead, based on overall firm performance.

Job Searcg Digest also found that people are attracted to hedge fund careers because of a huge potential upside. Last year, dissatisfaction with compensation was primarily driven by the desire for greater upside. Now, with all the nervousness in the market, many hedge fund employees feel lucky simply to still be working in the industry.

The full report comes out at Job Search Digest on December 3rd.

Green Hedge Fund Directory Launched By EHFC

The Energy Hedge Fund Center (EHFC) announced that it has added a 'green' hedge fund directory to its product inventory. EHFC's Directory of Energy Hedge Funds was launched four years ago, but with the interest in 'green' hedge funds, the company has created a new green directory for investors. The directory includes carbon, renewable, cleantech, forestry, water and weather derivative funds.

"We decided that now was the time for a standalone green directory and will be offering it for prepublication in January 2009," said Peter Fusaro, co-principal of the EHFC. "The market is now large enough and growing to warrant this service with over 100 green hedge funds."

"EHFC has received innumerable requests for such a product this last 12-months or so as investor appetite for environmental and alternative energy has increased," reports Dr. Gary M. Vasey, Co-Principal, EHFC. "As a result we have complied with that demand and have now added a new directory that focuses on just the 'green' hedge funds."