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24 Apr 2008

Hedge Fund Chief Elected to Hedge Fund Association Board of Directors

Jay B. Howard, Portfolio Manager & Chief Investment Officer of hedge fund Leonard Asset Management (LAM), has been elected to serve on the 2008 Board of Directors for the Hedge Fund Association (HFA).

HFA is an international not-for-profit association of hedge fund managers, investors, and service providers formed to unite the hedge fund industry and increase awareness of the advantages and opportunities in hedge funds. Members of the HFA Board of Directors are elected and chosen by other HFA members. As one of the HFA Directors, Howard will endeavor to further the HFA mission by increasing awareness of the HFA within the hedge fund community.

Howard is the founder of the alternative investment practice at LAM, his career in the investment and finance industry spans over ten years. He graduated with honors from the University of Dallas with a master’s degree in business administration and graduated cum laude from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He is an affiliate member of the CFA Institute, a member of the Financial Services Institute, and is a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC™). Active in the industry, he regularly attends and has spoken at alternative investment industry events.

Leonard Asset Management, Inc. is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor that specializes in alternative investments. LAM is under common ownership with Leonard & Company, a federally registered securities broker-dealer and an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Founded in 1989, Leonard & Company is a regional investment firm providing full service brokerage services, with offices across Michigan in Birmingham, Grand Rapids, Grosse Pointe Farms, Sterling Heights, Troy, and in New York and Colorado.

Missouri Attorney General Seeks To Halt Hedge Fund ‘Gambling On Grain’

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon is urging the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the federal agency that regulates futures markets, to take action to protect consumers and farmers by reducing the influence of pension funds, hedge funds, and other futures speculators.

"Farming already brings enough uncertainty without the introduction of outside players into the sensitive markets in which farmers sell their goods," said Nixon in a letter to CFTC Chairman Walter Lukken. "I urge the CFTC to step in and reduce the influence of speculators and give farmers the benefit of the bargained-for price on these contracts."

He asked to put a halt to price manipulation, as, "Farmers are not getting the full benefit of their hard work, and consumers are experiencing sticker shock in the cereal aisle," Nixon said. "Much of this is because speculators, who are neither producers nor consumers, are manipulating prices, and they are the primary beneficiaries. Wall Street gambling on grain hasn't had a positive impact on Main Street, Missouri."

According to Nixon's letter, many Missouri farmers sell their commodities on futures contracts, which require them to deliver a quantity of goods on a particular date. These contracts have a fixed price and protect farmers from fluctuations in market prices between planting time and harvest time.

In recent years, however, pension funds, hedge funds, and other speculators have flooded commodities markets by buying futures contracts. Unlike other commodities buyers, speculators use these contracts as a way to game the market and do not actually receive the commodities they contract for.

The CFTC is holding a roundtable discussion on this and other issues today, and Nixon's letter will be included in the agency's record. The CTFC was created by Congress in 1974 as an independent agency with the mandate to regulate commodity futures and option markets in the U.S.

Alex Akesson
Editor for HedgeCo LLC

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Emerging Makets to Showcase Islamic Finance Initiatives in IFSB Summit

Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong are participating in the country showcases which will be held prior to the 5th Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) summit, on 12th May 2008 in Amman, Jordan.

The country showcases are part of this annual summit hosted by the Central Bank of Jordan. The summit will be held under the Royal Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, themed 'Financial Globalisation and Islamic Financial Services'.

Professor Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, IFSB's Secretary General said, "This is our second year of introducing the country showcases as a pre-summit event. The IFSB is happy to provide this platform for its member countries to showcase their individual country initiatives and policies on Islamic financial services."

The country showcases will run concurrently with another pre-summit event, namely a public hearing on two IFSB Exposure Drafts: 1) Governance for Islamic Collective Investment Schemes and 2) Capital Adequacy Requirements for Sukuk Securitisation and Real Estate Investment, which were issued in December 2007 for public consultation as part of the IFSB due process for preparing its standards and guidelines.

The IFSB is an international organisation that promotes the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry by issuing global prudential standards and guiding principles for the industry, broadly defined to include banking, capital markets and insurance sectors.

The IFSB currently has 164 members comprising 41 banking, securities and insurance regulatory and supervisory authorities, 6 international inter-governmental organisations and 117 market players and professional firms from over 31 jurisdictions.