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30 Apr 2009

Hedge Fund Manager Sells London FoHF

Hedge fund manager Integrated Asset Management plc has sold the majority of one of its London fund of hedge funds business to a subsidiary of Sal. Oppenheim jr & Cie S.C.A, for approximately €3.5 million ($4.6 million) in cash and the cancellation of Sal. Oppenheim’s entire share interest.

The transaction does not impact the hedge fund manager’s brokerage operations in Milan which will continue to operate as usual, Integrated said.

The fund of hedge funds business as a whole reported net assets of £24.28 million ($32.3 million). In the 6 months ended 30 June 2008 the fund of hedge funds business reported unaudited net assets of £24.42 million ($32.4 million) and assets under management of $2,402 million ($3.2 million).

“In response to the unprecedentedly challenging market conditions of the past nine months, we have structured this deal with Sal. Oppenheim to benefit both our funds’ investors and the Company’s shareholders." Emanuel Arbib, CEO of Integrated, said. "Once the transaction is completed, Integrated, with a strong and liquid balance sheet, will be well positioned to consider opportunities that are available in today’s marketplace.”

Touching base with the Hedge Fund community

HedgeCo currently has a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook (fan page and group), and Twitter. We understand that a lot is currently going on in this realm, please let us know if you think of any new features we can add or new ways we can bring our content to the social network.

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At the end of 2008 we started hosting monthly hedge fund social networking events in NYC. Networking events require more planning and resources than the other items in this list, but if you are in an area which has potential for a networking event. Please let us know and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

Full aricle here

Treasury gets 100 New Fund Manager Applications

The Treasury Department said that they have recieved 100 applications from potential fund managers interested in participating in the Legacy Securities portion of the Public Private Investment Program (PPIP).

A variety of institutions applied, including traditional fixed income, real estate, and alternative asset managers, such as hedge funds.

Successful applicants must demonstrate a capacity to raise private capital and manage funds in a manner consistent with Treasury's goals, they must have experience investing in eligible assets and headquartered in the United States.

Applicants can expect to be informed of their preliminary qualification around May 15, 2009, when they can begin raising a minimum of $500 million in private capital that will serve as the investment that, pending further approval, will be matched with taxpayer funds.

Since announcing the program details on March 23, the Treasury has encouraged small, veteran, minority and women owned private asset managers to partner with other private asset managers. On April 6, Treasury extended the deadline for fund manager applications to provide more time to facilitate these types of partnerships.

28 Apr 2009

Hedge Fund Manager and Financial Services Expert Added To Dow Jones Media Team

Dow Jones & Company has added London based hedge fund manager Paul Sharma as telecommunications, media and technology columnist, and NY's award winning Donna Childs, as a financial services columnist.

"The appointments of Paul and Donna are part of our overarching strategy to enhance our editorial teams with top industry talent. We are drawing on the hedge fund and banking communities to deepen Dow Jones's reporting and commentary on companies, industries and events for investment bankers and corporate advisors," said Adam Smallman, global managing editor for investment banking coverage at Dow Jones Newswires. "During this time of great change in markets, our editorial focus is firmly on delivering to investment bankers the intelligence that powers deals and transactions. With their industry experience, Paul and Donna will offer a unique perspective on firms, sectors and events for our investment banker readership."

Sharma was a partner at a London-based hedge fund, Cheyne Capital Management, where he managed a telecommunications value fund. Prior to that, he was the director of telecommunications sales at HSBC and spent four years as vice president and lead telecommunications analyst at J.P. Morgan in London.

Before joining Dow Jones, Ms. Childs led the microfinance firm Childs Capital LLC, which she founded in 1998. Prior to this, she was president and chief operating officer of ERC Financial Market Products in New York, an investment banker in the financial institutions group of Goldman Sachs and a director at Swiss Reinsurance Company in Zurich. Ms. Childs has won multiple awards throughout her career, including the National Association of Women Business Owners' '2007 Woman Business Owner of the Year'. She was named one of the '40 under 40' rising stars of New York in 2005 by Crain's New York Business.

Multi-Million Dollar Hedge Fund Fraud in Conneticut

The SEC has frozen the assets of a Connecticut-based hedge fund manager, alleging that he forged documents, promised false returns, and misrepresented assets managed by the funds to illicitly raise more than $30 million from investors.

According to the SEC's complaint, Francesco Rusciano solicited investments for two hedge funds he controls, Ponta Negra Fund I, LLC and Ponta Negra Offshore Fund I, LTD, which is the principal of Ponta Negra Group, LLC, located at his residence in Stamford, Conn.

The hedge fund manager also sent out an e-mail to investors saying that his Ponta Negra hedge funds had $59 million in assets under management as of February 2009. According to the SEC's complaint, the hedge funds had less than $10 million.

The SEC says that Rusciano forged brokerage account statements to make it appear that another hedge fund account had more than $43 million in assets, when it had less than $3 million.

"Rusciano went to great lengths to deceive investors, and the SEC is committed to ensuring that money managers who provide inaccurate information to investors and fail to uphold their fiduciary duties are held responsible for their misconduct," said Rose Romero, Director of the SEC's Fort Worth Regional Office.

The SEC's investigation is continuing.

27 Apr 2009

Hedge Fund Assets up to $91 Billion in March

Hedge fund assets under administration (AuA) have grown to $91 billion as of 31 March 2009 from $88 billion at 31 December 2008, according to hedge fund tech. and analytics procider GlobeOp Financial Services S.A.

"I am encouraged by the level of fund inflows during the first quarter of 2009." Hans Hufschmid, chief executive officer, said, "New clients with AuA of nearly $12 billion, along with new funds from existing clients of $5 billion and subscription inflows of $3 billion, offset first quarter redemptions and terminations, which we knew would be substantial, as referenced in our 2008 preliminary results announcement."

"In addition," Hufschmid said, "client fund performance generated over $1 billion, a positive sign that hedge fund managers may have begun adapting to the changing market environment."

GlobeOp noted a sustained investor demand for greater transparency, independent portfolio verification and control of capital. Fund managers are looking for operational solutions to meet these requirements and to improve their own operational cost structures that are challenged by redemptions and lower fees.

"Funds will remain under pressure from redemptions by investors and raising new capital will continue to be challenging. Thus, while GlobeOp's current pipeline for new business is promising, we remain focused on prudent cost management and productivity improvements."

With headquarters are in London, New York, Dublin, Ireland; George Town, Cayman Islands; Harrison and Yorktown Heights, NY and Hartford, CT, U.S.A.; and Mumbai (Bombay), India, GlobeOp serves more than 180 clients worldwide, representing $91 billion in assets under administration (AuA).

Environmental Defense Fund Commends New Calif. Hedge Against Higher Fuel Prices

The California Air Resources Board has adopted the world's first Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), once implemented it can dramatically reduce the environmental impact of transportation, the Environmental Defense Fund says.

The Environmental Defense Fund believes the standard is an important hedge against higher, future conventional fuel prices. By helping develop better and cheaper alternative fuel production methods, low carbon fuels will become increasingly more affordable than gasoline as increasing crude oil prices take hold, the fund believes.

"While achieving the 2020 goal will require expenditures, this measure is an investment that will yield extensive returns through fuel diversification, increased resilience to fuel price fluctuations, independence from foreign fuel sources, and development of emerging businesses."

The low-carbon fuel standard is an important tool to help California transform its fuel mix. When coupled with an economy wide cap on emissions that includes the transportation sector, the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard represents the ultimately cost effective and technologically feasible way to transform our transportation sector and meet carbon reduction goals.

Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems.

24 Apr 2009

Alpha Magazine Announces 2009 Hedge Fund 100

"Alpha" released the results of the 2009 Hedge Fund 100, the magazine's eighth annual ranking of the world's biggest single-manager hedge fund firms. Although most hedge fund managers in 2008 couldn't escape the carnage from what many have called the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, their industry overall lost less money than did other investors. For their part, the firms in the Hedge Fund 100 managed a combined $1.03 trillion in assets at the beginning of this year, down from the record $1.35 trillion that the world's 100 largest firms managed at the end of 2007.

Bridgewater Associates leads the Hedge Fund 100 with $38.6 billion in assets under management. The Westport, Connecticut-based firm, which was founded by Raymond Dalio more than 30 years ago, grew by more than $2 billion in assets last year, based on the strength of its Pure Alpha Strategy hedge fund, which was up 8.7 percent in 2008. New York-based JPMorgan -- the world's biggest hedge fund firm a year ago -- saw its assets fall 26.4 percent, to $32.9 billion, in large part because of redemptions and poor investment performance at its Highbridge Capital Management group.

Redemptions have been a challenge for most hedge fund firms, even those that managed to deliver positive returns in 2008, as investors have looked to raise cash where they can. In the fourth quarter of last year, hedge funds saw a net outflow of $152 billion, with most of the assets coming out of bigger firms. In recognition of this new reality, "Alpha" changed the methodology for the Hedge Fund 100, using firm and fund asset totals as of January 1, 2009 (in the past the magazine collected December 31 data). To qualify for "Alpha's" 2009 Hedge Fund 100, a firm needed at least $4 billion in assets under management, compared with the $6.25 billion minimum a year ago.

The ten biggest hedge funds managed a combined $264 billion at the start of 2009, down nearly 12 percent from year-end 2007.

"Alpha's" Hedge Fund 100 Top 10

Rank Firm Total Capital ($ millions)
1 Bridgewater Associates 38,600
2 JPMorgan Asset Management 32,893
3 Paulson & Co. 29,000
4 D.E. Shaw & Co. 28,600
5 Brevan Howard Asset Management 26,840
6 Man Investments 24,400
7 Och-Ziff Capital Management Group 22,100
8 Soros Fund Management 21,000
9 Goldman Sachs Asset Management 20,585
10 Farallon Capital Management 20,000
10 Renaissance Technologies Corp. 20,000
To view the complete rankings for the Hedge Fund 100, visit

Hedge Fund Manager Brings Experience to Proskauer Rose

Hedge fund tax manager at Wellington Management Company, John F. Harvey III, has joined international law firm Proskauer Rose LLP as a partner in the Boston office.

At Proskauer, Harvey will be a partner in the Tax Department, where he will focus on tax aspects related to the formation, operation and investment activities of a broad range of private investment funds, such as buyout, venture and hedge funds, among other things.

“John’s unique and varied skill set will serve as an ideal strategic complement both here in Boston and across the firm,” Steven M. Ellis, head of Proskauer’s Boston office, said. “Our private investment funds practice is extremely tax intensive and, as we expand our capabilities around the world, this experience becomes even more important. John is a key addition to what is already a tremendous platform.”

Proskauer’s Private Investment Funds Practice Group, which is recognized by Chambers USA, US Legal 500 and numerous other directories and publications as among the leading practices of its kind, represented sponsors in closing more than 125 funds with over $30 billion in committed capital and closed more than 450 investments in all types of funds, representing well over $19 billion, in 2008.

23 Apr 2009

Merlin Launches New Hedge Fund Sales Group

Hedge fund tech. and brokerage provider, Merlin Securities, formed a new equity sales coverage and content division, the Merlin Institutional Group.

Headed by Jesse Cole and Bryan Miller in New York, the group will focus on delivering traditional institutional equity sales coverage and content to medium and large hedge funds. The group will provide clients with services such as corporate access, company modeling and trading ideas.

“Merlin Institutional Group represents an important development for Merlin,” said Stephan Vermut, founder and managing partner of Merlin. “We have built our reputation on providing excellence in prime brokerage, reporting, trading, and operational support for our clients. With the addition of this new team, we will now be in a position to provide clients with investment ideas, research and modeling. Jesse and Bryan... are recognized in the industry for their expertise, and we are delighted to welcome them to Merlin.”

Jesse W. Cole joins Merlin from Schonfeld IBS, where he was a member of the institutional sales and trading group since its inception in 2004. Bryan Miller was most recently with the institutional research sales and trading group at Collins Stewart.

Merlin Secutities was recognized as the #1 prime broker for funds less than $1 billion by Alpha magazine’s 2008 hedge fund service provider survey for the second year running.

Hedge Fund Manager Names Former Citi Exec Andrew Smith Head of Global Sales

Coinciding with the launch of new services aimed at increasing hedge fund transparency, independent alternative fund manager Butterfield Fulcrum appointed T. Andrew Smith as the firm's global head of business development and marketing. He will be based in the company's New York office, and will oversee Butterfield Fulcrum's teams in Europe, Asia and North America.

With nearly 20 years of experience in institutional sales, business development, securities and global fund services, Smith's appointment comes as investors demand operational transparencies from hedge funds.

Smith most recently served as a managing director and head of North America in global transaction services at Citi overseeing a $1.0 billion securities and fund services region. Before that he served as senior vice president of plan sponsor services at The Bank of New York and spent ten years at the State Street Corporation.

22 Apr 2009

First Quarter Hedge Fund Report

Hedge funds took modest advantage of March's upswings in the global equity and credit markets, according to Morningstars hedge fund performance summary for the first quarter of 2009.

Equity markets around the world significantly rebounded in March as appetite for risk returned, especially in emerging markets, according to the report. Positive lending and manufacturing news in China coupled with higher commodity prices, which helped stocks in other emerging economies such as Russia, drove the Morningstar MSCI Emerging Markets and Morningstar Emerging Markets Hedge Fund Indexes to increase 4.2% and 6.2%, respectively.

"In March we saw a recovery in equity and some credit markets, which helped hedge funds post small gains. But many hedge fund managers, believing that the economy is not yet out of hot water, continued to remain cautious, and were not strongly positioned to participate in the market rally," said Nadia Papagiannis, Morningstar hedge fund analyst. The Morningstar MSCI Developed Markets Hedge Fund Index rose only 1.1% in March compared to the MSCI World Index, which climbed 7.2%.

Hedge Funds in the Current Environment

In co-operation with the City Bar Center for Continuing Legal Education, Karl A. D'Cunha, a Senior Managing Director of Houlihan Smith & Company, Inc., will participate in a panel discussion involving industry experts and City Bar Center Faculty titled: "Hedge Funds in Distress" during the City Bar Center for CLE's program titled: "Hedge Funds in The Current Environment" moderated by Nora M. Jordan of Davis Polk & Wardwell.

The educational overview of "Hedge Funds in the Current Environment" will take place today at the Association House of the City Bar Center for Continuing Legal Education at 42 West 44th Street in New York.

Houlihan Smith & Company, Inc. is an investment banking firm that works with 20 of Alpha Magazine's "Top 100 Hedge Funds."

20 Apr 2009

Cayman Island Hedge Funds Webinar

Cayman Island law firm Solomon Harris is today hosting its inaugural Webinar on the highly topical subject of ‘Managing Distressed Cayman Funds and lessons learned for new funds’.

"This fits in perfectly with our firm’s progressive approach to business and our focus on keeping our clients up-to-date and informed. This is particularly so as our firm tends to work directly with investment managers and the more informed our clients are, the better for us as their legal advisers," says Sophia Harris, the firm’s Managing Partner.

"The recent significant stresses placed upon hedge funds, particularly in Q4 of 2008, have given our investment funds group invaluable insight into the issues facing managers with liquidity problems and the legal and practical tools available to them." Paul Scrivener, partner and head of the investment funds group, said, "We were keen to share our experiences in a practical way with those involved in the industry and we felt the medium of the webinar was the ideal way to reach the widest possible audience."

Also helping with with the presentation is KPMG, locally known for the provision of US tax services to Cayman funds. Paul Hotchkiss of KPMG will be covering recent tax changes in the UK and the possible impact on Cayman Islands investment funds.

"I visited Cayman recently to undertake a series of seminars on these and similar topics and I am delighted to be asked by Solomon Harris to participate in their inaugural Webinar." Hotchkiss said, "UK taxation of offshore funds is undergoing significant change and also there has been an increased interest from HM Revenue and Customs in the structuring of such funds. As Cayman has been historically, and is still, widely used as jurisdiction of choice to establish funds with a UK focus, I hope my comments will be relevant to the participants who are involved with funds with a UK focus."

As investment funds are such a major part of the firm’s practice, the firm also launched its fund-specific website, ‘’ late last year also with a view to keeping the firm’s clients better informed.

Salus Alpha Hedge Funds Awarded Extraordinary Performance Award

Vienna based hedge fund manager Salus Alpha Group Services GmbH has been awarded the alternative investments award of geld-magazins for extraordinary good performance for their Salus Alpha Directional Markets UCITS III Funds.

The Swedish state pension platform, Premium Pension Authority, recently included Salus Alpha funds in its portfolio. Included on the platform are Salus Alpha Real Estate, multi manager funds Salus Alpha Event Driven, Salus Alpha Managed Futures and Salus Alpha Equity Hedged.

The Salus Alpha funds that were chosen are UCITS III compliant, and meet the strict requirements regarding transparency, daily liquidity and adequate administration procedures set up for hedge funds by the Swedish pension authority.

17 Apr 2009

This Bleeding City

A new book set set in the world of hedge funds 'This Bleeding City', set against the global financial collapse, has been bought by Faber editorial director Walter Donohue.

It is 30-year-old City trader Alex Preston's début novel by, described as a heartbreaking love story taking place during the credit crisis.

Donohue bought UK and commonwealth rights to 'This Bleeding City' from Anna Power at Johnson & Alcock. The novel (due to be published in March 2010) tells of a young graduate who secures a job at a Mayfair hedge fund and is plunged into the world of high finance.

Investing in Uzbekistan; Hedge Funds Resillient

Hedge fund manager Ansher Fund Management says that March has been positive all across the markets and AREF (Ansher Regional Equity Fund) was able to gain to gain 3.2%.

The hedge fund manager increased holdings in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as together with Uzbekistan, Ansher believes that these will be the strongest performers in the region. Regarding risk exposure, "we like it as is, given the high diversification on both, sector and position level, shields us from extreme market moves," Pascal Buschor, Executive Director at Ansher, said.

Benchmarks have performed positive because of the increase in oil & gas and metals prices in March, giving investors some level of comfort in the markets, the fund says.

The economy of Uzbekistan has also shown resilience against the effects of global liquidity crisis. The implementation of the anti-crisis program measures has started in Uzbekistan, and the results of consequent two months showed the program is producing its first satisfactory results, the fund says.

Kazakhstan’s government has further demonstrated strong political will to support the economy by adopting the national anti crisis program. Government plans to inject some $14 billion.

16 Apr 2009

US Law Firm Investigating OppenheimerFunds for 'Hedge Fund Like' Trading

OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and OppenheimerFunds Distributor, Inc. is being investigated by US law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro for alleged violations of federal securities laws among other things on behalf of investors in the Core Bond Fund.

The "low-risk, conservative bond fund" that invested mainly in high-quality corporate bonds, is alleged to have started acting "like a hedge fund" taking extreme risks including selling risky credit default swaps and other high-risk derivative investments to Wall Street firms.

The Core Bond Fund suffered losses of more than 35% of its value in 2008 and continued to fall another 10% in the first three months of 2009. The Oppenheimer Champion income fund lost more than 80% of the its value, dropping almost $2 billion over the course of 15 months as a result of similar risky investments and deviations from the stated fund investment policy.

Hagens Berman is investigating whether officers and directors of the Core Bond Fund misled investors about the safety of the fund and whether they failed to adequately warn investors when the fund took extreme risks in violation of the Fund’s stated investment policy.

15 Apr 2009

Offshore Emerging Market Firm Hires Hedge Fund Manager

FSA regulated specialist asset management firm, Silk Invest Ltd, has hired John Bates, former Head of Credit Research Africa at hedge fund Renaissance Capital, to spearhead its move into Frontier Fixed Income.

“We will offer a liquid Frontier Market Fixed Income product, "Zin Bekkali, CEO of Silk Invest, said " Although largely focused on Sovereigns, there will be a corporate element that will represent up to 20% of the portfolio.”

Daniel Broby, Chief Investment Officer says he is “delighted John is coming on board, having seen the quality of his work whilst we were together at Renaissance. He is truly one of the few people who not only know the universe inside out but he is also of the few able to capitalise on that knowledge to obtain equity like returns in the frontier fixed income space.”

Prior to his work at the Renaissance hedge fund, he was a senior Emerging Market Credit Analyst at ABN Amro in London and West LB. John has a ‘BA Hons’ from University College London.

“John is yet another high level hire that is in line with our policy of recruiting the best skillset in African and Arab markets,” Dr Heinz Hockmann, the Chairman of Silk Invest, said.

Legg Mason Launches Tactical Allocation Fund

Investment management company Legg Mason Inc. has launched a global multi-asset tactical allocation mutual fund named Legg Mason Permal Tactical Allocation Fund. The fund, which targets institutional and retail taxable and tax-exempt investors, will be managed by Legg Mason's fund-of-hedge-funds affiliate, Permal Asset Management.

Legg Mason said that the fund is an opportunistic and diversified product, which seeks to benefit from any market condition and to outperform a traditional 60/30/10 (equity/fixed income/cash) portfolio over a medium-term time frame.

"Permal has an expertise in asset allocation and a deep global perspective and we believe they can find opportunities in these markets to deliver value to our clients." Matt Schiffman, Head of Americas Retail at Legg Mason said, "This is an innovative way to bring their fund of hedge fund expertise to traditional asset classes in a mutual fund offering."

The asset allocation strategy is designed to exploit perceived inefficiencies or imbalances in equity, fixed-income or other asset classes in any region or country, said the Baltimore, Maryland-based mutual fund group.

The fund will invest primarily in both passive and actively managed investment funds, to include specifically, affiliated and unaffiliated open-end mutual funds, unaffiliated closed-end mutual funds and exchange traded funds and notes, as well as cash equivalents and alternative investments.

14 Apr 2009

Offshore Law Pioneers Expand to Brazil

Cayman Islands law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman now has the official approval and licensing permission for a São Paulo partnership by the the Brazilian Bar Association.

As the only offshore firm to have an office in Brazil, the São Paulo practice will initially focus on investment funds, public company listings and holding company incorporations, providing clients with direct access to the key jurisdictions of the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Mauritius.

The São Paulo launch solidifies Conyers’ presence in the fast-growing BRIC markets. In March 2008, the firm became the first and only offshore firm to have an office in Russia with the launch of its Moscow office. In October 2008, Conyers established a presence in Mauritius, a preferred jurisdiction for structuring investments in India, and added the provision of Mauritius legal advice to its roster of jurisdictions to service the Indian, Middle Eastern and African markets.

"Even in this challenging economic climate, the prospects for leading Brazilian businesses in global commerce are immense." Conyers Chairman John Collis commented, "The firm’s entry into Brazil and the other major BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) markets is part of our strategy to provide responsive advice to our clients in the world’s key financial centres and reinforces our strength as a leader in the market for offshore legal services."

Established in 1928, Conyers now has over 550 staff and 150 lawyers specialising in the financial laws of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman and Mauritius Islands, Dubai, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, Singapore and now São Paulo.

Meridian Fund Advisers Launch With Hedge Fund Specialist as Head

Hedge fund manager Meridian Global Fund Services Group has launched a hedge fund consulting affiliate team with Joyce E. Heinzerling as head.

The affiliate, Meridian Fund Advisers LLC, will provide hedge fund regulatory and corporate governance best practices advice to hedge funds both within and outside of the Meridian Global client base. In this capacity, Heinzerling will work side by side with her extensive network of leaders in the hedge fund legal and accounting fields.

“As President of Meridian Fund Advisers, Ms. Heinzerling will lead the development and delivery of our new hedge fund consulting affiliate, and help bring us to a position of distinction in the hedge fund administration industry in terms of a value add for our clients," said Randy Troy, President of Meridian Fund Services (USA) LLC.

"Meridian Fund Advisers essentially has been established to broaden and strengthen our dedication to clients in an effort to provide the highest level of client service in light of the increasingly complex issues that now arise in the hedge fund industry resulting from the heightened regulatory environment and exposure to litigation," Mr. Troy added.

Heinzerling joins Meridian Fund Advisers after serving nine years as General Counsel, CCO and Head of Operational Due Diligence at Archery Capital LLC, an investment adviser to emerging manager funds of funds. Prior to joining Archery Capital, Ms Heinzerling spent fourteen years in private practice advising hedge funds, venture capital funds, private equity funds, and mutual funds, as Asset Management Counsel at Shearman & Sterling and, before that, Kramer Levin Naftalis.

13 Apr 2009

Singapore's Senior Minister to Host IFSB Summit

The 6th Annual Summit of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), is being held this year in Singapore under the patronage of Singapore's Senior Minister, Goh Chok Tong, it is themed The Future of Islamic Financial Services.

The annual IFSB Summit is the flagship event for the IFSB, and has traditionally attracted a select group of high-profile Islamic financial services industry stakeholders from across the globe. IFSB Secretary-General, Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim said "This 6th Summit is the first IFSB Summit to actually be held in East Asia."

26 regulators and senior personalities from international organisations, including the US, UK, EU, as well as the MENA and Asian regions, have confirmed chairing and speaking in the Summit.

The main objective of the Summit is to underline the role of the various stakeholders towards developing a robust future for Islamic financial services industry. It will be held on 7th – 8th May 2009.

Goldman Sachs Raise $5.5 Billion For Private Equity Fund

Goldman Sachs Asset Management announced today that it has raised its fifth dedicated private equity secondaries fund, GS Vintage Fund V, with approximately $5.5 billion in capital commitments.

GS Vintage Fund V will focus primarily on acquiring portfolios of private equity assets, including limited partnership interests in private equity funds, as well as providing unique liquidity and capital solutions to both limited partners and general partners around the world.

The GS Vintage Funds evaluate opportunities ranging from $1 million to over $1 billion in size, across all private equity strategies and geographies. As one of the largest investors in the secondary market for private equity, the GS Vintage Funds draw on Goldman Sachs' global sourcing network, due diligence capabilities, risk management expertise, and extensive private equity relationships.

GS Vintage Fund V is the latest fund raised by the Alternative Investments & Manager Selection (AIMS) Group of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. With more than 200 professionals worldwide, the AIMS Group provides investors diversified and customized portfolio solutions, across traditional long-only managers, hedge funds, and private equity funds around the world. To date, the private equity strategies of the AIMS Group represent more than $32 billion of capital commitments across private equity fund-of-funds, secondary market funds and co-investment vehicles.

Goldman Sachs Asset Management is the asset management arm of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS), which manages $779 billion as of November 28, 2008. Goldman Sachs Asset Management has been providing discretionary investment advisory services since 1989 and has investment professionals in all major financial centers around the world. The company offers investment strategies across a broad range of asset classes to institutional and individual clients globally. Founded in 1869, Goldman Sachs is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities and investment management services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals.

9 Apr 2009

CPIC Responds to SEC’s Proposed Curbs on Short-Selling

James Chanos, Chairman of the Coalition of Private Investment Companies, said in response to the SEC's five proposed rules put forward to curb short-selling, "Rebuilding investor confidence should be the primary objective of any new regulatory effort and it is not clear that today's proposals will meet that simple goal."

The SEC voted unanimously to seek public comments on all of the proposed rules intended to limit short-sales.

"Skeptics, independent research and critical analysis must continue to play a vibrant role for our markets to grow sustainably and with integrity." Chanos continued, "Short selling is integral to improving the efficiency of markets and enhancing market quality through narrower spreads, deeper liquidity, less volatility, and greater price discovery.

"In recent years, short-sellers have publicly warned the marketplace about the dangers at AIG, Lehman Brothers, and Enron, as well as sounding the alarm over the credit ratings agencies, non-bank subprime lenders, and credit insurers. Proposals to inhibit short-selling have the effect of limiting this vital market-based antidote to corporate fraud and speculative bubbles, and must be carefully weighed against the clear harm that comes from ill-conceived government intervention in basic market functions,” Chanos concluded.

CPIC is a coalition of private investment companies whose members and associates are diverse in both size and investment strategies.

8 Apr 2009

Bank of NY Unit Expands Hedge Fund Consulting Services

Pershing LLC has expanded their business consulting services by including a hedge fund start-up simulator tool and a new guidebook to assist hedge fund managers with the launch of new funds. Pershing is a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation BK.

Pershing Prime Services' Hedge Fund Start-Up Simulator was developed in collaboration with Moss Adams LLP. It provides hedge fund managers with detailed information about the infrastructure and financial workings of a hedge fund, especially during its first 18 months of operation, including the launch.

Pershing Prime Services' new guidebook entitled, A Guide to Establishing a Hedge Fund, was created in conjunction with The Bank of New York Mellon and offers an introduction to a number of critical criteria, as well as a framework for making informed business decisions.

Pershing and The Bank of New York Mellon leveraged a wide network of industry specialists to develop the guidebook, including Moss Adams, Eze Castle Integration, Inc., Stark & Stark Attorneys At Law and Sasserath & Zoraian LLP, as well as its in-house experts.

Hedge Funds Increase 1.37% In March

March was a challenging month for hedge funds, which entered the month with tight net exposures, according to research by hedge fund consultant Hennessee LLC.

Technology and healthcare/biotech were bright spots for managers, as these sectors were relative outperformers. While the strong equity rally did cause short squeezes, most hedge fund managers expect short portfolios to generate profits in the near term.

The Hennessee Hedge Fund Index advanced +1.37% in March (+1.09% YTD), while the S&P 500 advanced +8.54% (-11.67% YTD).

“Most funds were caught with tight net exposures and were unable to participate in the rally," Charles Gradante, Co-Founder of Hennessee Group said, "Managers were also hurt as the sectors they have been heavily short, such as financials, consumer discretionary and materials, were the sectors that rallied the strongest.”

“Despite the underperformance in March relative to the equity benchmarks, hedge funds are still outperforming for the year,” said Lee Hennessee , Managing Principal of Hennessee Group. “We expect that we will continue to see volatility throughout the year.”

7 Apr 2009

SEC Halts Canada/China Hedge Fund Fraud

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a restraining order yesterday to halt an on-going multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. The SEC says that Defendant, Toronto hedge fund manager Weizhen Tang, orchestrated the fraud through an overseas hedge fund and a Texas-based investment adviser.

U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle granted a temporary restraining order, asset freeze, and other emergency relief against the Defendants, including the appointment of a receiver to take control of assets belonging to the Investment Adviser and two Relief Defendants — WinWin Capital Partners, LP, and Bluejay Investment, LLC, d/b/a Vintage International Investment, LLC.

The fraud began as early as 2004, and through the hedge fund Tang raised between $50 million and $75 million from more than 200 investors. According to the SEC complaint, Weizhen Tang (the self-described “Chinese Warren Buffet”) recently admitted to investors that the hedge fund operated as a Ponzi scheme since at least 2006.

Tang specifically targeted members of the Chinese-American community and solicited U.S. investors to directly and indirectly invest in the hedge fund, according to the SEC.

In addition to the emergency relief granted by the Court, the SEC wants permanent injunctions, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest, and civil money penalties against the Defendants.

Hedge Funds Available In Sweden For The First Time

The Swedish state pension platform, PPM, is including Salus Alpha funds in their premium pension portfolio with immediate effect. The Salus Alpha funds that were chosen are UCITS III compliant, and meet the strict requirements regarding transparency, daily liquidity and adequate administration procedures set up for the Premium Pension Authority.

By launching the first UCITS III fund that tracks a hedge fund index in September 2007, Salus Alpha paved the way for hedge funds as an optimal portfolio component for retirement investment, by adding multi-manager alternative investment products, the returns can be increased while decreasing the risk.

The Swedish pension system is divided in three parts; income pension, guaranteed pension and premium pension. For the premium pension the pension saver has a number of funds to choose from. Every pension saver can decide in which fund and what amount of money he wants to invest. At the moment the Premium Pension Authority’s fund holdings of 5.8 million pension savers are valued at a total of 27.5 Billion Euro ($36.7 billion).

By including these funds in the portfolio the Swedish Premium Pension Authority confirmed the market leadership of Salus Alpha in the regulated alternative investment sector.

6 Apr 2009

Strong Performance In First Six Months For ACP Fund

London hedge fund manager ACP Partners, which is soon to merge with TriAlpha Investment Advisors, said that their long/short eguity strategy fund, ACP Financial Opportunities, has beaten its benchmark by over 65% in its first six months.

Since the fund launch on 1 September 2008 through 28 February 2009, the new fund, which invests across a group of portfolio managers focused on the financial sector, returned 4.9%. Its benchmark, the S&P 1200 Global Financials, returned -60.7% over the same period, and the HFRI Equity Hedge Index -22.2%.

"Financials account for around 20% of global equity market capitalisation and, despite benefiting from significant diversification, the financial sector as a whole exhibits a high degree of complexity and is under-covered by specialist investors." Stephen Greene, partner and CIO of the ACP’s Multi Manager business, said, "Having undergone an unprecedented shock, resulting in severe price dislocations, such conditions are ideal for sector specialist hedge fund managers to add value."

"The key to achieving positive returns has been portfolio construction. The portfolio was specifically structured to benefit from the expected market volatility as we placed significant emphasis on sourcing managers with trading orientated approaches, ‘macro-aware’ processes and short term catalysts for value realisation. Unusually, our fund was one of only a very few fund of funds to be market neutral over this period of turmoil." Greene concluded.

As examples, the portfolio currently shorts banks that lack balance sheet integrity and takes a long position on banks that have been through the exercise of write-downs and capital raises. The underlying managers also hold long positions in property and casualty insurers and reinsurers, who have strong balances sheets and will benefit from a firming of insurance premiums and decreased competition. Conversely, they have taken short positions in life insurance companies whose shorter term liabilities now far outweigh their available liquid assets. Several of the managers have been shorting consumer sensitive sectors, such as credit cards and consumer finance.

The fund has a minimim investment of $1,000,000 (or equivalent) with quarterly redemptions, and a managment fee of 1% and performance fee of 10%.

Hedge Fund Manager Silk Invest Launches Two Equity Funds

FSA regulated asset manager, Silk Invest Ltd, successfully launched the African Lions Fund and the Arab Falcons Fund, which helped the hedge fund manager achieve its goals in becoming a specialist in Arab and African equities.

The Luxembourg domiciled African Lions fund and Arab Falcons fund went live on 27th March with an NAV of Euro 100 ($135.2). The portfolio managers, based in London, Cairo, Casablanca and Johannesburg, plan to build up the portfolio up cautiously, taking advantage of liquidity opportunities.

"Raising assets in these markets proved extremely challenging," Zin Bekkali, CEO of Silk Invest said, "Ultimately, the strength of our investment proposition, and the valuation of the markets we specialise, convinced investors to support the launch."

African and Arab markets account for 4% of worldwide market capitalization and this is projected to increase as the region is set to further grow its share of the world’s GDP.

Baldwin Berges, director of business development, observed that “the funds should grow in size fairly rapidly. Investors understand well our proposition and we have built a pitch book in excess of Euro 500 million ($676.2 million). Many of these investors have committed to invest in our funds, once the fund is up and running.”

Daniel Broby, the Chief Investment Officer of Silk Invest says that the launch “is perfectly timed from an investor perspective. There is now immense opportunity in frontier markets of the dramatic declines caused by the credit crisis.”

Stark Opens NY Hedge Fund Hotel

"The bright side of an economic downturn is that business people are branching out on their own," said Adam Stark, president of Stark Business Solutions. "We have made it seamless for enterprising individuals to establish new businesses without significant expense and with very little risk. We are looking forward to helping grow the business community in Scarsdale."

Customized trading floors have been installed to accommodate hedge funds and trading operations along with mahogany furnishings. SBS operates three other executive suites in Westchester: White Plains, Mount Kisco and Harrison. More than 100 people attended the opening event.

3 Apr 2009

Hedge Fund Manager Capitalises On Mispriced Asian Performing Debt

Singapore hedge fund manager, 3 Degrees Asset Management, is launching ADF Prime Ltd, a credit opportunities fund that will invest primarily in the performing debt obligations of Asian companies that have been mispriced as a result of the Global Financial Crisis.

3 Degrees also manages the award winning Asian Debt Fund, an Asian distressed debt fund that has been active since 2004.

In Asia, debt prices have corrected far more sharply than in the US and Europe. This is driven by technical factors, the fund manager says, as Asian investment banks unwind their portfolios, global hedge funds close their Asian operations, and capital is generally pulled from the region.

The new fund will capitalize on the systemic inefficiencies endemic to Asian credit markets. Due to the limited number of players, and the highly relationship‐driven nature of Asian markets, inefficiencies are being exaggerated by the global financial crisis.

Targeting quality companies that either have, or can generate, enough cash flow to repay maturing debt without dependence on capital markets, the fund seeks annual, unlevered net returns in excess of 25%.

3 Degrees has received numerous awards, including “Best Asian Distressed Debt Fund”
and “Best Singapore Hedge Fund”. In 2007, Moe Ibrahim, the founder, was selected as
One of 20 Rising Stars of Hedge Funds by Institutional Investor. ADF Prime will be co‐managed by Moe Ibrahim and Jeff Tolk.

ADF Prime is also available to institutional investors and ultra high net worth individuals via the Firm’s Managed Accounts platform.

1 Apr 2009

Hedge Fund Shareholders Seek Legal action

A former hedge fund shareholder of Canadian securities company, Capital Units of Oil Sands Split Trust, is taking legal action regarding the Trust's Special Annual Retraction that occurred in December, 2008.

The hedge fund said it would take the complaint to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for, among other things, the timing of the payout and reimbursment of the money owed.

Sentry Select said in a statement that the legal action is without merit and, if the application is brought, it will be vigorously defended.

The Economist to Launch London Theme Park

As part of a strategy designed to broaden the revenue base, leverage content over new platforms and promote The Economist brand to a young and dynamic audience, The Economist Group is delighted to announce the development of a public-entertainment facility that combines the magic of a theme park with the excitement of macroeconomics.

After six months of negotiations with the British government, The Economist Group can confirm that Econoland will be built on a former industrial estate in East London, close to the beating heart of the City and thus to a large potential market of financial-sector employees.

Thanks to issues relating to its previous use, the site has been acquired at an advantageous price. Most of the toxic wastes have been cleared and levels of carcinogens appear to have returned to normal. High unemployment in the area will only increase the facility's attractions, as former City workers seek to recapture some of the excitement they enjoyed in their professional life. Heavy investment in security and a landscaped moat and electric fence will neutralise any potential threat from the growing anarchist presence.

Among the thrilling experiences Econoland will offer are:

The currency high-roller: Float like a butterfly with the euro and drop like a stone with the pound!
Chamber of horrors: Tremble at the wailing of distressed debt!
Fiscal fantasyland: Watch the economy shrivel before your very eyes as you struggle to stop growth falling!
Bankrupt Britain: Pit your wits against the government as you try to sink sterling and bring the country to its knees!
The severe contest: Try your strength against a bear market!

Econoland will appeal to the kid in everyone, although children themselves will not be admitted. The park will open on April 1st.

Explore a clickable map of The Economist's new theme park