31 Dec 2010
HedgeCo News - Good news for music lovers and art investors, film producers Oley Sassone and Bill Badalato are seeking hedge fund financing for a major motion picture based on the young life of Louis Armstrong, entitled Black & Blue.
Total budget for the project is $18 million. The film will be shot in New Orleans, where a 30% State tax credit is available. Musical bio pics such as Ray, Walk The Line, La vie En Rose, have been extremely successful at the box office (all have grossed over $100 million) and have won Academy Awards.
The investment proposal describes Black & Blue as, “A sometimes poignant, sometimes sad, sometimes humorous but always entertaining story of the young Louis Armstrong as he claws his way through the seamier side of New Orleans from childhood through adolescence to young adulthood on his path to becoming a jazz superstar – an icon in the entertainment industry.”
I’ll know more about the project soon, as Sassone is sending me the details as they develop. I’m a personal fan of both Armstrong and New Orleans, and am excited to play even a small part in the development of the film.
22 Dec 2010
Trimble, 44, pleaded guilty in April to money laundering. Trimble’s hedge fund, Phidippides Capital Management, was used to divert $1,000,000 of investor funds to his own account, the prosecution claimed. The judge also ordered Trimble to serve two years of supervised release following his prison term and pay $9,045,451.23 in restitution to investors.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Criminal Investigative Division of the IRS, and the United States Secret Service.
Hedge fund law specialists, Holland & Knight said that the estate, gift and generation skipping transfer tax provisions of the new tax act are of major interest.
These changes will require every estate plan to be reviewed to make sure the best advantages are incorporated. Holland & Knight feels that there are significant planning opportunities still left for 2010.
Private Wealth Services Alert 12 20 10 (413KB)
Sadis & Goldberg on the Tax Relief Act of 2010
The Tax Code has been recently amended to extend what is commonly known as the “Bush Tax Cuts” that Congress enacted in 2001 (which by their original terms expired on December 31, 2010) will apply for another two years. The extension means that the income tax rates will now stay at 28% and 35%. Capital Gains tax rates will now stay at 15% and qualified dividends will continue to be taxed at 15%. The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount has been increased which will lower the number of taxpayers subject to this tax.
There are a number of tax breaks for businesses and individuals, such as the ability to make a tax free distribution of up to $100,000 from an IRA to a charity, and faster depreciation for businesses when property is placed into service.
Another major change is in the Federal Estate Tax law. The Federal Estate tax exemption will now be raised to $5,000,000, and the tax rate reduced from 55% to 35% for Federal Estate taxes. For estates of decedents dying in 2010, they can elect to have no estate taxes apply, and to have a modified basis carryover, instead of an estate tax imposed retroactively along with a step-up in basis. For example, if a married couple owns $10,000,000 in assets, with a properly planned estate, they would not be subject to any Federal Estate taxes. However, we must remind you that New York State has a separate estate tax imposed on estates over $1,000,000.
Prior to 2011, the Gift Tax Exemption was limited to $1,000,000. As of January 1, 2011, the gift tax exemption is increased to $5,000,000. Taxpayers should consider using their increased gift tax exemption over the next two years, as the lifetime exemption may decrease in the near future. There are a variety of estate planning techniques which can use the increased gift tax exemption. Additionally, the Generation Skipping Tax Exemption will be raised to $5,000,000.
18 Dec 2010
HedgeCo.net - Five research executives have been arrested by the FBI, James Fleishman, from Primary Global Research, Mark A. Longoria, from Advanced Micro Devices, Walter Shimoon, from Flextronics International, and Manosha Karunatilaka from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing.
The Washington Post reports that the four men were accused of selling confidential information to hedge funds while the fifth man, Daniel Devore, formerly an executive with Dell, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud.
“A corrupt network of insiders at some of the world’s leading technology companies served as so-called consultants who sold out their employers by stealing and then peddling their valuable inside information,” U.S. attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
3 Dec 2010
Summary of SEC Proposed Regulations Implementing Dodd-Frank’s Mandated Hedge Fund and Private Equity Fund Registration and Reporting Regime
SEC Rule Proposals – Registration and Reporting (pdf 158KB)
The summary of the proposed rules covers which investments advisers will have to register with the SEC, which advisers will be exempt from registration with the SEC, and which advisers will have to register with the states rather than the SEC.
Also included is a reference to the timeline proposed by the SEC for implementation of the final rules, as well as remarks pertaining to an adviser’s own timeline for SEC registration, if necessary.
16 Nov 2010
Hedge funds are up 7.33%# YTD October, ahead of global markets by 4.64%. The Eurekahedge Long/Short Equity Hedge Fund Index is up 29.8% over the last 24 months and assets in long/short equity funds crossed US$500 billion.
All regional mandates delivered positive returns, with the exception of Japanese managers, as global markets kept up the momentum built up in September. A strong corporate earnings season and expectations of further quantitative easing resulted in healthy movements in the underlying markets. Asia ex-Japan funds continued their strong run, coming out on top for the fourth consecutive month, with gains of 3.08% and all strategies ending the month in positive territory. Managers investing in China witnessed a second month of excellent returns, up 3.78%, taking their two-month gain to 10.33%. Chinese managers were helped by a strong run in the underlying equity markets – the Shanghai Composite rose 11.53% while the Hang Seng gained 3.30%.
Managers in developed markets also registered some strong gains, with the Eurekahedge North American Hedge Fund Index gaining 2.47% in October. The healthy corporate earnings environment and increased investor confidence resulted in favourable conditions for equity based strategies – the S&P 500 was up 3.69% for the month.
Strong launch activity was seen in the first three quarters, with more than 600 funds launched in 2010 so far.
15 Oct 2010
The SEC’s complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota alleges that hedge fund managers Bruce Prévost and David Harrold, along with their firms Palm Beach Capital Management LP and Palm Beach Capital Management LLC invested more than $1 billion in hedge fund assets with Petters while pocketing more than $58 million in fees.
Petters promised investors that their money would be used to finance the purchase of vast amounts of consumer electronics by vendors who then re-sold the merchandise to such “Big Box” retailers as Wal-Mart and Costco. In reality, the “purchase order inventory financing” business was merely a Ponzi scheme. There were no inventory transactions.
Petters sold promissory notes to feeder funds like those controlled by Prévost, Harrold, and their firms, and Petters used some of the note proceeds to pay returns to earlier investors, diverting the rest of the cash to his own purposes.
Comments from the defense were not available at the time, the SEC is seeking a permanent injunction against the hedge funds and their managers, as well as disgorgement, including interest and financial penalties, the WSJ said.
5 Oct 2010
"In applying for wiretap permission in March 2008, an FBI agent failed to tell a judge about prior lengthy probes of his client by securities regulators and the FBI." Rajaratnam's lawyer, John Dowd, told Monday's Manhattan federal court hearing, according to Reuters.
In Feburary, Dowd attacked the U.S. government’s wiretap evidence saying he would file a motion to suppress the telephone recordings which were used to arrest Rajaratnam and more than a dozen other people in the Galleon raid. Rajaratnam then won an emergency order relieving him from having to turn over wiretap recordings because of legal hurdles in obtaining the 14,000 wiretap intercepts.
"The recordings were cherry picked and mismanaged and someone did not do their homework." Dowd told the Judge in the Feb hearing.
The hedge fund millionaire was taken into custody in New York on Oct. 16, 2009 in what is being called the USA’s largest hedge fund insider-trading scheme. He and his co-defendant, Danielle Chiesi, face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the charges.
4 Oct 2010
Habitat for Humanity-NYC is currently building a 41-unit affordable condominium building on Atlantic in Brooklyn made with environmentally-friendly materials. ”I can think of no better way to maximize our return-on-investment in human capital than by joining with Habitat for Humanity – New York City to build homes for families in need.” Stuart Feffer of Hedge Funds for Habitat NYC, said.
Habitat for Humanity Ireland is holding its first-ever Women Build in Romania from October 2-10. Fifteen women will travel to Romania to work with local families to build simple, decent, affordable homes. Global Habitat for Humanity offices have also organized local World Habitat Day events, click to find one in your area.
30 Sep 2010
In Miami, Tony Esses joins as a Director and Investment Representative after 24 years at HSBC Private. Robert Sperber joins as a Director and Investment Representative from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. Previously, Sperber was a financial advisor at UBS and Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. James Hafele, also joins Sperber’s team from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
In Palm Beach, Matthew Burton joins as a Vice President and Investment Representative from JP Morgan.
In Atlanta, Tom Pair joins Barclays Wealth as a Director and Investment Representative in Atlanta. John Nicholas joins as a Vice President and Investment Representative in Atlanta from Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management. Forest Simmons joins as a Vice President and Investment Representative in Atlanta from BNY Mellon Wealth Management, where he worked for the past three years.
In New York, Ron Willis and John-Paul Tomassetti have joined as Directors and Investment Representatives. Rene Joliot, Edgar Ramirez and Romel Rodriguez have joined Barclays Wealth as Investment Representatives in New York from UBS International.
In Philadelphia, Gerhard van Arkel and Brett Thomas Meyers joined as Investment Representatives in from Wilmington Trust.
Finally, Barclays Wealth appointed Brian Sears as a Managing Director and Regional Manager for Los Angeles. Sears joins from Neuberger Berman in New York, where he was most recently Global Co-Head of Distribution for Alternative Investments. Prior to that, he spent 15 years as an investment advisor at Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs.
29 Sep 2010
With a 12.4% interest rate, a 4% fee and and repayments by March 24, 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission reports that the bridge loan is secured by an equity stake in a BioFuel subsidiary.
The two hedge funds own 69% of BioFuel’s outstanding common shares combined, MaketWatch said. Third Point and Greenlight stand to make a large profit if BioFuel does not produce the payments.
With debts of $212 million, BioFuel has lost $57 million since 2007.
Hedge fund Angelo, Gordon & Co., already holds stakes in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Minneapolis StarTribune.
The Tribune has been languishing in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since 2008, the deal would also would allow for Tribune to exit bankruptcy before resolving legal claims, Reuters said.
Awaiting bankruptcy court approval, Tribune said the two hedge funds hold a "significant" amount of the $6.6 billion in loans stemming from the first part of the two-step deal that put the previous owner in control.
"The mediator is confident that the proposed plan will lead to additional constructive discussions between and among the debtors and other parties," said a court filing from Kevin Gross, the Delaware bankruptcy judge who acted as mediator, according to the paper. The mediations are ongoing.
28 Sep 2010
Ledbury Research surveyed over 2,000 high net worth individuals, all of whom had over $1.5m/1m in investable assets, 200 had more than $15m/10m. Respondents came from 20 countries across Europe, North America, South America, Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Sixty percent of wealthy individuals polled in a global survey say that they plan to become a Nevertiree, shunning traditional retirement, instead continuing to work, start businesses and take on new projects in their later years.
The report, the 12th in the Barclays Wealth Insights series, is based on a survey of more than 2,000 high net worth individuals, who were asked to consider what retirement and later life means to them.
The findings show that the concept of nevertirement is expected to grow over the coming decades, with over 70% of respondents under the age of 45 saying that they will always be involved in some form of work.
In particular, 75% of U.S. respondents plan to work part time after they have stopped working permanently, seven percent more than the global average. Specifically, 32% plan to work between five and 20 hours per week in "retirement", and seven percent plan to work more than 20 hours per week, "simply reaching the normal age to retire" is not at all important in determining when they stop working.
Only 40% of U.S. high net worth individuals "completely agree" that they are "totally confident" in having enough money for retirement, with another 37% "slightly agreeing". Only 48% of U.S. high net worth individuals would completely classify themselves as financially secure.
When planning for retirement 35% of U.S. wealthy feel that the rate of tax they have to pay is predictable, compared to 58% of Latin American high net worth individuals and 73% of wealthy individuals in Switzerland.
Further, one in ten of the wealthiest surveyed do not agree that they have enough money for retirement (greater than $15m in investable assets). Among the global wealthy who are already retired, only 51% agree they are completely confident in having enough money for their retirement.
21 Sep 2010
"The UCITS revolution allows investors to access managers who can actively short stocks and hedge a portfolio, however managers with long and successful experience of running equity hedge funds are in short supply." John Lowry, Chairman of ML Capital said, "The Pegasus fund has been running for over a decade and has always been run in line with the UCITS principles, which is very comforting to our investors."
"Yarrow and Donaldson's investment style will appeal to a lot of our investors. Their strong performance in upwardly trending markets and excellent downside protection in perilous markets is demonstrated by their track record." Lowry said.
"The past 10 years have illustrated the limitations of traditional "long only" equity investing." Angus Donaldson added, "All investors should have the opportunity to protect themselves from market volatility by investing in regulated hedge funds. However, many of the managers who have launched alternative UCITS products have found that they have weak brand awareness outside of the hedge fund world. This applies not just to smaller boutiques but also some of the very largest hedge fund houses. "
20 Sep 2010
The company provides software products and solutions for the alternative investments, trust, asset servicing and securities processing industries. The company's HedgeTek product, a fully integrated book and tax allocation platform for hedge funds, covers both US partnerships and unitised funds, is used by many of the leading hedge fund administrators, accounting firms and fund managers servicing over 3,500 funds with over $400 billion in assets..
"Ireland is the largest hedge fund administration centre in the world with almost half of all global alternative investment funds operated from here." Ireland's Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O'Keeffe said, "Fi-Tek's decision to establish a European headquarters in Dublin shows we can out-perform rival locations for major global investments in the financial services sector. More than half the world's leading financial services firms now have operations in Ireland."
"Fi-Tek Ireland has recently gone live implementing HedgeTek with two leading global banks in Dublin," stated Subir Chatterjee, Fi-Tek founder and CEO. "Dublin has become a center of expertise for hedge fund administration globally, and our intent is to make Fi-Tek Ireland a centre of excellence for us as well."
Taitz founded and successfully managed an award-winning fund administration operation in Sydney, Australia before relocating to the UK. In Taitz’s previous firm, clients included regional Hedge Fund of the Year winners, Best Market Neutral Fund winners, other alternatives including electricity and power hedge funds, as well as established and distinguished long only boutiques.
Taitz says that the UK market is fragmented with larger administrators turning away smaller funds and relying more on their size than their service levels to win clients. This leads to clients having to look to foreign providers to fill the gap and then having to deal with a plethora of issues such as time zones and language or cultural differences. Taitz says it is re-assuring for a fund manager to know that they can deal directly with the principals of the business whose office is around the corner.
The boutique offers full service fund administration to offshore funds and caters for a wide variety of strategies including equity long/short, long only, market neutral, arbitrage, global macro, private equity, fund-of-hedge funds and others. For more traditional funds, the firm offers an attribution/ performance analysis reporting service.
The firm sees its differentiating factors as being: an unrelenting focus on service quality; having the best technology available; hiring properly qualified staff; and being based in London, in close proximity to intended clients. “Our clients are not just one of hundreds fighting for management’s attention which may be the case at the larger shops” says Taitz.
The firm also has the distinct technological advantage that all its administrative services are carried out through a single integrated system - investor registry, fund accounting, investing and complex performance fees – reducing risk and leading to greater efficiencies.
“Our key strategic differentiator, however, is to pace our growth.” Taitz continues, “As a result we will position ourselves as a premier provider of fund administration services to boutiques. We will soft close periodically to ensure that service levels are never compromised.”
16 Sep 2010
Gagliardi was noted in Robert Bryce’s book as being an “Analyst Who Thinks” and “the first time any major Wall Street research firm had dared question Enron’s valuation.” Gagliardi is also known for alerting investors as early as 2003 ahead of buying opportunities in emerging markets: Brazil’s Petrobras, Russia’s Lukoil, China’s PetroChina, Austria’s OMV, and Hungary’s MOL. Gagliardi has been cited throughout the media including CNBC, NY Times, Forbes, and Financial Times.
“We’re thrilled to have Lou champion our Energy effort and add to our growing platform; he brings experience across investment analysis and corporate, a stellar track record, and a history of thinking independently on behalf of his clients.” Keith McCullough, CEO of Hedgeye notes, “To that end, we’re confident that his standards and expertise will hold up to our client’s expectations, and our reputation.”
Hedgeye Risk Management will officially launch its Energy sector research and services to subscribers on September 16, 2010.
14 Sep 2010
HedgeCo Blogs - I asked Andrew Ross Sorkin: "In hindsight, what is the most important lesson to be learned from the financial crisis?"
"It all comes back to one word: debt." Sorkin said, "We can blame the financial crisis on a lot of things -- misguided housing policy, too-low interest rates, global imbalances, lax regulation, bankers-gone-wild -- but in the end, it was a function of an over-leveraged system."
Andrew Sorkin, the award winning financial reporter for the New York Times, spent over five hundred hours interviewing high net worth individuals, advisers and officials in an effort to capture the full account of the Financial crisis in detail.
In his book: "Too Big To Fail - The inside story on how Wall Street and Washington fought to save the financial system - and themselves", Sorkin recounts the maelstrom that struck high finance in 2008 in story-like detail.
I can see why it has been on the bestseller list for over 40 weeks. Once revealed, it is hard to look away from the secret life of those in power. "Pay very much attention to the man behind the curtain."
Sorkin is also the editor and founder of Dealbook, an online daily financial report. He has won a Gerald Loeb Award, been named Young Global Leader by The World Economic Forum and has recently been added to The Directorship 100, which recognizes influential US corporate boardroom members.
“White-collar crime is just as destructive to our social fabric as the crimes of drugs and violence,” the Judge said in handing down the sentence. Moffat’s conspiracy count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. His securities fraud count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $5 million.
Moffat pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy and securities fraud stemming from his involvement in the largest US hedge fund insider trading case in history.
The court documents reveal that in September 2008, Moffat provided Chiesi with insider information in August to October 2008, relating to IBM and Lenovo Group Ltd.
Moffat confessed to providing the indider information to to Danielle Chiesi, Rajaratnam’s co-defendant. She worked for New Castle Partners, an equity hedge fund group affiliated with JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Chiesi, along with Sri Lankan billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, are scheduled for trial in 2011.
Moffat said he did not use the information to make money, but that he passed it along to Chiesi through “misplaced trust” and “a misguided desire to appear important and knowledgeable.” the Courthouse News Services said.
• the acquisition by Peakside of BofAML’s 100% indirect interest in the general partner of the Merrill Lynch European Real Estate Opportunity Fund L.P. (“MLEREOF”), which has a total of EUR 261 million ($335.6 million) of capital commitments;
• the replacement of an affiliate of BofAML with Peakside as the manager of MLEREOF;
• the acquisition by Peakside of BofAML’s interests in the general partner and investment manager of the Bosphorus Real Estate Fund I (“BREF”), which has a total of EUR 204 million ($262 million) of capital commitments; and
• the completion of a portfolio management agreement between Peakside and an affiliate of BofAML for Peakside to manage a portfolio of European real estate investments held directly or indirectly by BofAML affiliates.
The Fund portions of this transaction have been approved, with the requisite voting percentages, by the limited partners of both the MLEREOF and BREF funds. In connection with the transaction, MLEREOF will be renamed “Peakside Real Estate Fund I”. BofAML plans to maintain its limited partnership positions in both funds following the transaction.
Peakside has been newly created by the former senior managers of the European team of the Real Estate Principal Investments group within BofAML, consisting of Roger Barris, Stefan Aumann, Boris Schran and Mark Fenchelle. The team was responsible for the management of the two real estate funds and the European BofAML portfolio, In addition to the senior managers, Peakside has employed 13 former members of the BofAML group and plans to hire an additional 4 persons, including Christoph Munte, formerly of Morgan Stanley, who will join as General Counsel and a member of the Peakside Management Committee.
Peakside has opened offices in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg. Peakside will provide investment advisory, deal origination and execution, asset management and fund management services in real estate across Europe, including CEE and Turkey, to qualified investor clients such as institutions and high-net-worth individuals. Going forward, Peakside plans to raise discretionary funds, but also plans to take non-discretionary investment mandates from investors.
“We considered many alternatives for these assets, and driven by our confidence in the Peakside team, we concluded that the best option, in our capacity as a limited partner in the funds and the owner of the proprietary assets, is to allow the Peakside team to continue to manage the funds and the legacy European real estate assets as an independent company.” Jim Forbes, BofAML Global Principal Investments executive, said.
13 Sep 2010
"The enlarged group features two prominent IFA firms in Scotland, Dunedin Independent plc and City Gate Money Managers. In addition, Helvetia owns a controlling stake in London-based TAM Asset Management with a London Stock Exchange brokerage licence allowing us to execute our own trades faster at better margins." Yuill Irvine, MD at Dunedin Independent said, "The amalgamation will introduce a range of cost attractive synergies for Helvetia and attractive efficiencies for all three firm's clients as well as offering our clients access to Swiss banking facilities."
10 Sep 2010
Cayman, for the second year running, has been awarded first place by an increased margin over other jurisdictions such as Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey, Malta, Gibraltar, Monaco and Cyprus.
The Banker’s ranking of international financial centres is based not simply on the size of the financial services industry in each location, but focuses instead on the level of international business and the value offered to institutions seeking to expand their overseas operations.
“This is yet another objective finding that reinforces the fact that Cayman is regarded by institutions, if not by stubborn popular press, as a successful and transparent tax neutral jurisdiction from which to base international operations.” Anthony Travers, OBE, Chairman of Cayman Finance said.
“This result comes at a time when Cayman has just signed its twentieth tax information exchange agreement and statistics from the Islands’ regulating body CIMA show a continuingly robust performance by the financial services industry over the past year. Most importantly the financial crisis has been negotiated without the need to introduce corporate, income, capital gains, payroll or property taxes, the absence of which is likely to enhance Cayman’s attraction in the immediate future.” Travers said.
Statistics from the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) note that Cayman still maintains US$1.795 trillion in deposits and interbank bookings.
Lance will be diversifying class fund assets transversely with a team of money managers whose expertise in technical strategies would help diversify portfolios of the investors as they are well-versed in counter-trend, pattern recognition, intra-market spreads and option volatility arbitrage.
The new fund management utilizes well-researched strategies across worldwide liquid exchange-traded futures markets and at the same time evaluates these futures markets across various time frames.
Targeting annual returns of 10-20 percent with less than 10 percent draw-downs and with expected annual volatilities of 10-to 15 percent, the Lance Futures Investment Team targets such performance through due diligence, fund management strategies, qualitative and quantitative screening, monitoring and rigorous selection processes.
26 Aug 2010
"To be a successful frontier markets investor you must understand the landscape." Nicolas Clavel, CIO and founder of Scipion, said, "There are outstanding returns available in frontier markets, but accessing them requires an intimate knowledge of the regions and an agile and nuanced strategy to capitalise on the opportunities as they appear. There is no such thing as a generalised frontier market strategy."
Centaur will provide Scipion with the full suite of fund administration services, including fund accounting and investor and corporate services. Scipion’s fund range, including the firm’s flagship Commodities Trade Finance Fund, will use Centaur’s cutting edge iNAV process model, which provides an accurate daily NAV calculation and support services around the funds.
"Scipion’s range of funds has highly specialised and innovative strategies." Ronan Daly, Chairman of Centaur, added, "In many cases, the strategies they offer their investors are the first of their kind in the market."
Scipion was established in February 2007 by Nicolas Clavel, who has over 30 years’ experience of the financial services industry in Africa, with notable previous roles including CEO of both Citibank in Senegal and Stanbic Bank Sarl in the Congo.
The firm has an outstanding track record investing in Africa. The Scipion Commodity Trade Finance Fund, launched in August 07, has returned 35% since inception. The firm’s other strategies, The Scipion Alpha Seeker Fund, and the Scipion Ai40 Index Tracker Fund, the world’s first pan-African investible index, have both made positive returns for the year to date.
Established last year, Centaur already has approximately $1 billion in assets under administration. Its founders, Ronan Daly, Karen Malone and Eric Bertrand, have over 50 years of combined experience working within the hedge fund market in Europe.
20 Aug 2010
New York (HedgeCo.net) - Harris today announced its support of Red Cross flood relief and recovery efforts in Pakistan through a $100,000 contribution from the bank's parent company, BMO Financial Group. Additionally, through Sept. 17, 2010, Harris branches will accept donations to the Red Cross and will waive wire transfer fees for customers sending funds to Pakistan to help facilitate additional humanitarian aid.
"Our team at Harris is deeply saddened by the devastation in Pakistan," said Ellen Costello, president and CEO, Harris Financial Corp. "We hope that by utilizing our resources -- our retail branch network and ability to carry out wire transfers -- we can help facilitate the emergency relief work of agencies like the Red Cross, which is providing vital aid to victims of this disaster."
"We're so pleased that Harris Bank continues to make supporting humanitarian relief efforts a priority. They've been a valued partner and continue to provide much needed help to people affected by disasters that strike here in our backyard, across the country or around the world," said Heidi Mucha, Chief Advancement Officer, American Red Cross of Greater Chicago.
19 Aug 2010
New York (HedgeCo.net) - SAM, the E11.2 billion ($14.36 billion) hedge fund boutique focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing, is deepening its eleven-year-old collaboration with Dow Jones Indexes by expanding its worldwide Sustainability Index offering.
Under this joint marketing agreement, Dow Jones Indexes will be responsible for calculation, marketing and distribution of the indexes including the European indexes, while SAM remains responsible for the component selections. As a result, SAM’s collaboration with STOXX Ltd., which had previously calculated the European STOXX Sustainability Indexes, has been terminated.
“Over the past eleven years, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes have been successfully developed and expanded worldwide." Rodrigo Amandi, Managing Director SAM Indexes said, "Through what is now an exclusive global collaboration with Dow Jones Indexes, we are taking account of the growing significance of sustainability benchmarks by offering investors around the world a homogeneous index family. We extend our thanks to partner STOXX for the positive cooperation to date and look forward, in partnership with Dow Jones Indexes, to continuing our pioneering work in the field of sustainability and shaping the segment’s future growth.”
SAM retains responsibility for component selection The Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) are the oldest benchmarks for Sustainability Investing. Aggregate investment volumes in DJSI-based portfolios now total more than USD 8bn.
The firm’s offering comprises asset management, indexes and private equity. Its asset management capabilities include a range of single-theme, multi-theme and core sustainability investment strategies catering to institutional asset owners and financial intermediaries in Europe, the United States, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.
SAM was founded in 1995, is headquartered in Zurich and employs over 100 professionals.
17 Aug 2010
Grant Thornton LLP outlines key financial reform issues in Dodd-Frank Act for public company audit committees paper
Although central elements of the Act focus on regulating the financial services sector, it also includes provisions affecting every public company, including enhanced SEC enforcement authority and additional corporate governance requirements.
Grant Thornton LLP’s Financial Service practice has created a paper – Financial reform: What public companies and their audit committees need to know about the Dodd-Frank Act– that outlines some key financial reform issues that public companies and their audit committees should understand, as well as actions they can consider to help guide their companies through this changing regulatory landscape.
“Although many audit committee members may not want to mire themselves in the minutiae of this complex legislation, they need to know that the important details are being addressed by their management teams,” noted Jack Katz, national managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Financial Services practice.
Some of the issues covered in the paper include:
1. Enhanced whistleblower protections
2. Nonbinding shareholder votes on “Say on Pay” and golden parachutes
3. Risk committees
4. Independence of compensation committees
5. SOX Section 404 (b) exemption
To download a full copy of Financial reform: What public companies and their audit committees need to know about the Dodd-Frank Act, please click here.
Many of the specific rules of the Act have yet to be shaped by regulators, and firms must stay a step ahead. To help companies navigate this uncharted territory, Grant Thornton LLP has created the Financial Regulatory Reform Resource Center. For more information about the legislation and emerging issues from the legislation, visit www.GrantThornton.com/financialreform.
16 Aug 2010
“I wanted to capture all aspects of running a firm in one book.” Daniel Broby, Chief Investment Officer at Silk Invest, said, “I have spent far too much of my career reading industry white papers and compliance manuals. I wrote the sort of book that I wanted to buy when I first became a Chief Investment Officer over ten years ago.”
The book’s text is complimented by diagrams and bullet points that simplify the vast array of information.
Broby has had a long and successful career in both fund management and the hedge fund industry. He set up the first regulated and listed hedge fund in the Danish market for Bankinvest and launched a number of alternative funds for the investment arm of the Russian giant Renaissance Capital. After that that he branched out on his own.
“The advice is equally applicable for hedge funds as it is for established fund managers, especially as relates to the client centric firm. Essentially, it is a ‘how to do it’ manual that covers everything from the industry, investment process, through the front, middle and back office.” Broby said.
4 Aug 2010
Lighthouse became a subsidiary of Lighthouse Global Partners, LLC in 2005, the shutdown includes the Lighthouse Prime Services unit.
According to hedge fund and private equity news source FINalternatives, the firm has been unable to make payroll, and has informed clients that they could only sell assets through the firm.
“A different source close to the firm says that Lighthouse is in talks with a boutique firm that has eyes on becoming a much larger player and is making a bid for all of the divisions, and an announcement could come as early as this afternoon.” FINalternatives said.
3 Aug 2010
HedgeCo News - The AT&T USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship at the Glencoe Grand Prix is being sponsored this year by The Hedge Fund Association, a not-for-profit international educational and philanthropic group. The race will be be held Saturday August 14, 2010 in the village of Glencoe, Illinois.
“This event’s incredible popularity will allow the Hedge Fund Association and the Glencoe Education Foundation to draw attention to the issues plaguing today’s schools,” said Jim Gabriele, HFA Midwest Chapter Director and Managing Director of Butterfield Fulcrum.
The race, a regional staple for 23 years, will support the Glencoe Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to enhance education in the Glencoe School District. As an event sponsor, the HFA will have its own tent where food and refreshments will be offered all day. For devoted racing fans, arrival time is suggested at noon on August 14, 2010, but arrivals are permitted as late as 6pm. A block party will follow the race.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the hedge fund industry to contribute to education,” stated Stuart Brogan, HFA Director, Business Leader for Hedge Funds at Morningstar Inc and racer at the event. “Through the race’s collaboration with the Glencoe Educational Foundation, we will be supporting technology in the classroom, which is essential for today’s students.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the Act will require federal agencies to develop 520 rules, conduct 81 studies, and issue 93 reports. As a result of the legislation, the U.S. Treasury Department will create a Federal Insurance Office and the Federal Reserve Board will create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, which will have an Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans and an Office of Financial Literacy. The topics the Financial Literacy Office will address include retirement planning. Other sections of the Act will revamp bank and hedge fund regulation and create a Financial Stability Oversight Council.
Investor Protection Provisions of the Act
General Purposes & Approach
While further regulations and studies are yet to be developed under the Act, the Investor Protection Provisions aim generally to protect investors, foster efficient and competitive markets, and enable the best services to investors. A fundamental purpose is to address areas identified as adversely impacting investors during the 2008 and 2009 credit and financial crisis. To better protect investors, the Act focuses primarily on enhanced SEC regulatory authority and penalty imposition with respect to financial institutions, securities brokers and dealers, and investment advisers.
With respect specifically to investment advisers, the Investor Protection Provisions generally first empower the SEC to gather and monitor from such advisers additional information regarding financial products sold, trading strategies, fee and commission structures and related matters. Second, they authorize expanded SEC examinations of, and enforcement protocols against, investment advisers, including imposition of civil penalties. Additional provisions include prohibitions against improper credit (margin) extension to investors.
A. Disclosure & Oversight Provisions
The Act amends the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and establishes an Investor Advisory Committee to advise and consult with the SEC on (1) regulatory priorities and issues regarding new products, trading strategies, fee structures, and the effectiveness of disclosures; (2) initiatives to protect investor interests; and (3) initiatives to promote investor confidence in the integrity of the financial marketplace.
Observation: To enforce the new disclosure rules, the SEC is authorized to gather information, communicate with investors or other members of the public, and engage in temporary or experimental programs in the public interest or for the protection of investors.
The SEC is also directed to establish a standard of conduct or fiduciary duty for brokers, dealers, and investment advisers to act, without regard to their own financial or other interests, in the best interests of the customer when providing personalized investment advice about securities to a retail customer.
Additionally, the SEC is required to:
- Publish a study that examines the nature of “retail customers,” the range of products and services sold to them, the sellers or providers, and information such customers should receive before their purchase of investment products or services; and, following completion of this study, promulgate rules requiring that the appropriate persons or entities provide designated documents or information to retail customers prior to the purchase of identified investment products or services.
- Report to Congress on the need for enhanced examination and enforcement resources for investment advisers, and regarding the regulation and oversight of financial planning.
B. Enforcement and Remedies
The Act authorizes the SEC to restrict or prohibit mandatory dispute arbitration affecting customers or clients of brokers and dealers, including municipal securities dealers, and requires reporting to Congress on the costs of arbitration related to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority as overseen by the SEC. The Act also expands incentives and protections for so-called whistleblowers and funding to the SEC to pay awards to whistleblowers as well as to provide investor education initiatives to help investors protect themselves against securities fraud or other violations of securities laws and regulations.
Observation: The Act also broadens the regulation of brokers, dealers, municipal securities dealers, transfer agents, and investment advisers, to revise requirements for collateral bars or suspensions in the case of persons associated, or seeking to be associated, with any who are subject to penalties for specified offenses. The Investment Advisers Act of 1940 is also broadened with regard to liability of, and prosecution and penalties for, persons who aid or abet violations of that act.
Enhanced SEC enforcement and remedies also include:
(1) Expanded deadlines and procedures for completing compliance examinations, inspections, and enforcement actions for violations of securities laws; (2) nationwide service of subpoenas; (3) imposition of civil penalties in cease and desist proceedings; (4) enforcement authority over any person who at the time of the alleged misconduct was a member or employee of specified bodies (formerly associated persons); (5) the sharing of privileged information with other authorities; (6) increased access to grand jury information; (7) recklessness as an element of the aiding and abetting standard of knowledge; and (8) SEC extraterritorial jurisdiction with respect to antifraud activities.
- Requirements for the fidelity bonding of registered management companies.
- Reasonable periodic, special or other information and document requests by SEC representatives conducting surveillance or risk assessments of all securities markets, national securities exchanges, their members, brokers or dealers who transact a business in securities through the medium of any such member, SEC-registered securities associations, registered brokers or dealers and municipal securities dealers, registered securities information processors, registered transfer agents, and other persons.
- Record-examination requirements for registered investment companies, and each underwriter, broker, dealer, or investment adviser that is a majority-owned subsidiary of such a company.
- Provision that any person who controls a person liable for a violation is also jointly and severally liable to the SEC in certain actions it may bring.
- Extension of SEC rulemaking authority to prescribe rules for proxy access by shareholders.
Observation: Section 413 of the Act excludes a primary residence from an investor’s net worth for purposes of determining “accredited investor” status under Rule 501(a)(5) of the SEC’s private placement safe harbor in Regulation D. This exclusion, immediately effective upon enactment without any further action by the SEC, will make it more difficult for natural persons to qualify as accredited investors. Issuers and other participants in private placement transactions should review their disclosure and subscription documents immediately and make necessary changes to conform to the new standard.
Also regarding Section 413, it has been reported that the staff of the SEC is expressing informally its view that, in determining an individual’s net worth for such purposes, the amount of mortgage or other indebtedness secured by the investor’s primary residence – to the extent such indebtedness does not exceed the value of the residence – does not need to be considered as a liability, but where the indebtedness secured by the primary residence exceeds the value of the residence and the lender has other recourse against the investor, the excess should be deducted from the investor’s net worth.
Observation: The Act addresses manipulative and deceptive devices, and (1) makes it unlawful for any person to effect, accept, or facilitate a transaction involving the loan or borrowing of securities in contravention of SEC rules and regulations; (2) imposes requirements for the reporting of lost and stolen securities to include canceled securities or any other category the SEC may prescribe; (3) requires fingerprinting of partners, directors, officers, and employees of registered securities information processors, national securities exchanges, and national securities associations; and (4) declares void any condition, stipulation or provision binding any person to waive compliance with the rules of a self-regulatory organization.
Further, the Act:
- Revises the prohibition against unlawful credit extension (margin lending) to customers.
- Extends the definition of “interested person” to any natural person who is a member of a class of persons the SEC determines are unlikely to exercise an appropriate degree of independence due to (1) a material business or professional relationship with a company or any affiliated person of such company or (2) a close familial relationship with any natural person who is an affiliated person of such company.
- Repeals two current requirements dealing with execution of portfolio transactions and the lending of money or other property.
- Authorizes the SEC to limit the extent to which a registered open-end investment company may own, hold, or invest in illiquid securities or other illiquid property.
- Subjects to domiciliary state registration requirements certain mid-sized investment advisers otherwise not exempt from federal registration requirements.
- Directs the SEC to adopt a rule making it unlawful for an SEC-registered investment adviser to have custody of funds or securities of a client the value of which exceeds $10 million, unless: (1) the funds and securities are maintained with a qualified custodian either in a separate account for each client under the client’s name, or in accounts that contain only client funds and securities under the name of the investment adviser as agent or trustee for the client; and (2) the qualified custodian does not directly or indirectly provide investment advice with respect to such funds or securities.
- Requires the SEC to revise recordkeeping requirements for each person with custody or use of a registered investment company’s securities, deposits, or credits.
- Requires the SEC to revise requirements for beneficial ownership and short-swing profit reporting.
- Requires every institutional investment manager who effects a short sale of an equity security to file daily with the SEC specified short sale disclosures and makes it unlawful to effect manipulative short sales of securities.
- Requires registered brokers or dealers to notify customers that (1) they may elect not to allow their fully paid securities to be used in connection with short sales and (2) the broker or dealer may receive compensation in connection with lending the customer’s securities.
C. SEC Funding and Organization and Additional Reforms
The Act directs the SEC to promulgate rules to collect fees annually from registered investment advisers, in order to recover the cost of inspections and examinations of such advisers. To implement this provision, the SEC is required to hire an independent consultant to examine and report to the SEC and Congress on SEC internal operations, structure, funding and the need for comprehensive reform, including the SEC’s reliance upon self-regulatory organizations for the regulation of securities matters and the protection of investors.
The SEC is also now required to report to certain congressional committees on the implementation of SEC reforms in the wake of the Madoff fraud.
Additionally, the Act directs the SEC, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), and a designated standard-setting body to provide oral testimony annually for five years to the Committee on Financial Services of the House of Representatives regarding efforts to reduce the complexity in financial reporting, in order to provide more accurate and clear financial information to investors.
On other procedural matters, the Act also:
- Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress on SEC employees who leave the agency to work for financial institutions regulated by the SEC.
- Establishes a Financial Reporting Forum composed of certain senior federal agency personnel to report annually to Congress on immediate and long-term issues critical to financial reporting.
- Requires the SEC to (1) appoint an Ombudsman to act as a liaison between the SEC and any affected person who may have a problem dealing with the SEC as a result of its regulatory activities; and (2) revise its regulations to require due diligence on the part of brokers and dealers and other specified paying agents to search for lost security holders who have been sent checks for dividends, interest, and other valuable property which have not yet been negotiated.
- Revises requirements for SEC filing procedures with respect to proposed rule changes.
D. Securities Investor Protection Act Amendments
The Act amends the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970 (SIPA) to increase: (1) the minimum assessment paid by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) members; (2) the borrowing limit on Treasury loans; (3) the standard maximum cash advance for each customer (including an inflation adjustment); and (4) the fine for certain prohibited acts, including misrepresentation of SIPC membership or protection for investors.
Additionally, the Act:
- Amends SIPA with respect to (1) SIPC trusteeship in liquidation proceedings; (2) insider ineligibility for SIPC advances; and (3) futures held in a portfolio margin securities account.
- Revises requirements for determining whether a SIPC member qualifies for SIPC use of the direct payment procedure to satisfy customer claims without a liquidation proceeding; and increases from $250,000 to $850,000 the maximum aggregate amount of claims of all customers of a SIPC member that, among other criteria, allows SIPC to use the direct payment procedure.
- Directs the Comptroller General to study and report to Congress whether SIPC should be required to impose risk-based assessments on member brokers and dealers in order to maintain the SIPC Fund adequately and to provide additional levels of coverage on an optional basis.
E. Seniors’ Investment Protection
With regard to older investors, the Act directs the SEC to establish a program of grants to states to (1) investigate and prosecute misleading and fraudulent marketing practices and/or (2) develop educational materials and training to reduce misleading and fraudulent marketing of financial products.
F. Registration of Municipal Financial Advisors
The Act requires municipal financial advisers to register with the SEC.
The reports and regulations to implement the key Investor Protection Provisions of the Act will be developed over the next 6 to 18 months or longer, reflecting varying effective dates for different provisions and allowing in many cases a transition period for affected institutions to meet new requirements.
For more information, contact: email@example.com
Editing by Alex Akesson
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2 Aug 2010
"Marc's vast experience in hedge funds, private equity and other similar investments that are consistent with our portfolio makes him a perfect fit," said Broad. "I am impressed with Marc's intelligence, drive, instincts and investment success, and we are delighted that Marc will join our team."
Schwartz joins The Broad Foundations from Reservoir Capital Group, a more than $4.5 billion hybrid fund where he served for nine years as managing director, principal and vice president. Schwartz was a senior member of the Reservoir investment team and most recently was focused on private fund sponsorship and direct co-investments. Before joining Reservoir, Schwartz spent much of the previous decade working in senior positions at a global holding company and an international private equity firm.
The Broad Foundations were established by entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundations include The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Art Foundation.
30 Jul 2010
The Chronicle For Higher Education reports that Greenwood and his partner, Steven Walsh, may have used the $900 million as a personal fund. Walsh has pleaded not guilty, and Greenwood will testify against him at trial.
“The two spent at least $160-million on mansions, horses, rare books, and an $80,000 collectible teddy bear.” The paper reports.
Offering low risks and high returns, the team’s investors included the University of Pittsburgh, who invested $65 million, Carnegie Mellon University, $49-million, Bowling Green State University, $15 million, and Ohio Northern University who invested $10-million.
Greenwood’s assets will be auctioned off in an attempt to recoup some of the investor losses. He also faces a prison sentence of as long as 85 years and hundreds of millions of dollars in fines at his December sentencing, according to The Chronicle For Higher Education.
29 Jul 2010
Investors’ confidence was shaken by the damage caused by the Greek crisis, and saw the average price for hedge fund shares drop to an all time low. Although the average price shows that secondary users continue to be wary of paying too much for assets, the rise does indicate an upturn in confidence.
The 8% rise in the average price has been helped by trading in the ‘near-par zone’ – trades which take place at just below the net asset value of each share. Originally a key driver of trading volume, significant trading in this area has not been seen since before the credit crisis. Previously, investors would offer small discounts for their shares in order to tactically manoeuvre within locked up hedge funds:
“The near-per zone was typically used by investors in locked up funds to raise short term capital or reduce the market risk in their portfolios. When the crisis first arrived, the ability of managers to raise any capital disappeared, and there are virtually no locked up funds around. This, and the fact that investors generally have much greater concerns than liquidity or tactical trading, has made near par trading virtually non-existent”, Elias Tueta, co-founder of Hedgebay said.
“It is a consequence of the change in the basic nature of the secondary market caused by the crisis. Where once the main use of the market was to access high quality, locked up funds, investors are now concerned with mitigating the damage within their portfolios.”
While Mr Tueta believes that near par trading is an interesting development, it is not yet conclusive evidence of what is to come on the secondary market. The return of near par trading in earnest will be the clearest indication that trading patterns on the secondary market have returned to pre-crisis conditions – and that the hedge fund market has finally and fully recovered. Mr Tueta says that the primary market will dictate when this occurs.
“The volume of near par trading is a good barometer of the health of the hedge fund industry. The performance of hedge funds in the primary market will give us a good idea of what we can expect in that regard. The success of capital raising among managers will depend on them sustaining the solid performance we have lately seen in the industry. If this continues, we may eventually see more managers closing to new investors or offering share classes with longer lock-ups, and then we may see the de facto return of near par trading.
Holland & Knight LLP (HedgeCo Blogs) - On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the Act). The Act has several potential impacts on our clients and within the investment management community.
"This memo is intended to summarize, in general, what we believe to be notable aspects of the Act that impact many of our clients." Scott R. MacLeod, Jay S. Crenshaw of Holland & Knight said, "A more explanatory summary from us is available upon request. However, you should review the Act as a whole to identify specific areas of relevance. Lengthy and detailed write ups regarding the background, impacts, and policy of all areas of the Act are available online."
Unless otherwise stated, any changes in law discussed herein generally are effective July 21, 2011.
I. Adviser Registration
A. If you manage any separately managed accounts and have assets under management ("AUM") in excess of $100 million, then you must register with the SEC (even if you only have one account /client).
B. If you have separate accounts and AUM of $25 million - $100mm, you must register with your home state unless exempt under state law, in which case you must register with the SEC.*
C. If your only clients are investment funds and you have AUM of more than $150 million, also register with the SEC.
D. If you are a non-U.S. adviser with any separate accounts, or with fund assets over $150 million, also register with the SEC unless you have (1) no place of business in the U.S.; (2) less than $25 million in AUM from U.S. clients and U.S. fund investors; (3) fewer than 15 U.S. clients and fund investors; and (4) do not hold yourself out generally to the public in the U.S. as an adviser.
E. If you have AUM of less than $25 million or are exempt from SEC registration, then you must be registered or find an exemption in any state where you have a place of business or more than 5 clients.*
F. If you are a "Family office" or an adviser solely to one or more "venture capital funds" (both terms to be defined), then you are exempt from SEC registration.
*It is not clear what state exemptions may change as a result of the Act; we can help you analyze state law if you fit within one of the noted categories.
IMPORTANT NOTE RE: WHEN TO BEGIN IMPLEMENTING: IF, AS A RESULT OF THE ABOVE, ANY ADVISER NEEDS TO: (1) REGISTER WITH THE SEC; (2) REGISTER WITH ANY STATE(S); AND/OR (3) DE-REGISTER WITH THE SEC, SUCH ADVISER SHOULD SEEK TO IMPLEMENT ANY OF THE FOREGOING ACTIONS WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE JULY 21, 2011 EFFECTIVE DATE, PREFERABLY BEGINNING IN THE FALL OF 2010.
II. Investor Certifications
A. You must immediately amend your fund subscription agreement's definition of accredited investors to exclude primary residence from an investor's net worth. For now, this change seems to apply only to new investors or additional subscriptions from existing investors with no need to expel any existing investors. This change is effective immidiately and requires your prompt attention.
B. IF you are a registered investment adviser ("RIA") and charge performance fees/allocations to any investor in a 3(c)(1) fund, you WILL need to amend to adjust for inflation the "qualified client" certification obtained from each client/fund investor next year.
A. You may need to register with the National Futures Association ("NFA") as a Commodity Pool Operator (CPO) IF (1) you buy commodities and currently rely on an exemption based on margin and notional exposure percentage limitations because you will now need to include any swaps when determining compliance with such limitations, or (2) you are defined as a "major swap participant" when new rules are adopted.
B. You may need to report (1) pre-enactment swaps if applicable regulators issue related interim rules, and (2) future swaps which are not accepted for clearing.
- If you manage funds (whether or not you are a RIA), you will be required to maintain records and file reports to the SEC.
- Such reports will include a description of funds':
o amount of AUM;
o use of leverage, including off-balance sheet leverage;
o counterparty credit risk exposure;
o trading and investment positions;
o valuation policies and procedures;
o types of assets held;
o side letters;
o trading practices, and
o any other information that the SEC deems to be “necessary or appropriate…"
Future rules under the Act MAY require RIAs to take further steps to safeguard client assets.
C. The "Volcker" Rule.
If you are affiliated with a bank, you generally must not engage in proprietary trading activities or sponsoring or investing in a hedge fund, private equity fund or similar entity.
D. "Bad Boy" Provisions.
I further rules are adopted, you will be disqualified from using Rule 506 Regulation D offerings if your firm or principals have engaged in certain improper conduct in the past.
E. Securities Lending.
Within two years, the SEC will promulgate rules designed to raise the transparency of information available to investors with respect to the loan or borrowing of securities.
F. Shorting and Arbitrage.
The SEC may adopt further reporting rules and restrictions on such activities pursuant to the Act.
G. Mandatory Arbitration.
The SEC MAY adopt rules and regulations restricting or prohibiting the use of mandatory arbitration agreements by advisers.
Note from the authors: "This is a very brief summary intended to highlight aspects of rules that are very fact dependent. Please contact us to discuss specific questions."
Varna is a newly formed hedge fund manager based in New York and headed by Svetlana Lee. Following the signing of the strategic relationship, Varna is expected to launch its first fund during the fourth quarter of 2010.
“The long-term performance characteristics of fundamental equity long-short strategies are very attractive, and we look forward to bringing this opportunity to our investors.” Clive Peggram, CEO of FRM, said, “Lee is one of the most talented new equity long-short managers in the industry and we are very pleased to form a strategic relationship with her new firm and to support its development.”
“A firm’s anchor investors are a critical element to a successful launch. FCA is a well respected institutional firm and its significant day one investment will provide us with a strong foundation to launch and grow.” Lee said.
Lee, together with the Varna team, previously managed an equity long-short fund at Citadel’s PioneerPath new manager platform. Prior to that she gained extensive investment experience at leading hedge funds Greenlight Capital, The Baupost Group and Perry Capital. Varna will implement a value-focused, equity long-short strategy that seeks to exploit event-driven situations, structural market dislocations and identify hidden fundamental business value.
28 Jul 2010
HedgeCo.net News -Based on the new Dodd-Frank Act that was just signed into law last week by President Obama, new legislation allows the SEC to award huge sums to whistleblowers in insider-trading cases such as the one against hedge fund Pequot Capital Management.
“As of this past Friday, the SEC now has greater ability to extract information from employees of corporations and others involved with those employees.” Ed Tomko, head of the White Collar Crime practice at Curran Tomko Tarski, announced.
On Friday, a payment was made by the SEC to Karen and Glen Kaiser who provided documents that helped the SEC build its case against Arthur J. Samberg, founder of the Pequot hedge fund and David E. Zilkha, a former Microsoft employee.
“This has broad reaching implications for public companies as well as businesses operating in the financial sectors,” said Tomko. “This is the largest amount awarded by the SEC to whistleblowers in an insider-trading case.”
As a result, there is the potential now for whistleblowers to be enticed by lucrative fees they will receive for providing information to the government. This can become a slippery slope for businesses. This can now provide possibly a powerful incentive for an employee or individual related to an employee who know of a securities violation to contact the SEC and provide information that may lead to a large payment in exchange for the information.
2 Jul 2010
SEC Director Andy Donahue has asked FINRA's Robert Ketchum for help in crafting legislation that is designed to curb pay for play activity while protecting the role of third party marketing firms. The SEC changed course, at least in part, because of an outcry of response from a wide spectrum of investment professionals, that articulated the positive role that third party marketing firms play in the industry.
The SEC had originally signalled that it intended to ban third party marketing to public pension plans in the wake of the New York State Common Retirement Fund pay-for-play fiasco. While eliminating pay-for-play activities is laudable, the SEC's original course of action completely ignored the positive impact that third party marketing has on the investment decision making process. Based on numerous complaints that the SEC received that articulated the positive impact that third party marketing firms play throughout the investment process, the SEC reversed course and asked for FINRA’s help in crafting legislation that would curb pay for play activities, but protect the role of third party marketing firms.
As you may recall, in early 2009, David J. Loglisci, former chief investment officer of the New York State Common Retirement Fund, and Henry Morris, (former chief political adviser and chief fundraiser for former New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi), were indicted on 123 charges, including enterprise corruption, securities fraud, grand larceny, bribery and money laundering.
Following the indictment, New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo promised to eliminate the use of third-party marketers in the public pension allocation process. As the nation’s third largest pension plan, the Common Fund wields significant influence in the pension industry. Unfortunately, the initial debate regarding third party marketing firms was framed in part by the Common Fund and others who committed wrongdoing, who chose to deflect blame from themselves and their deficient internal governance practices onto others.
I am delighted that during its due diligence the SEC has listened to the outcry from investment professional and now recognizes the important role that third party marketing firms play in the industry. If the SEC had followed the New York State Attorney General's recommendation to ban third party marketing, the marketplace would likely sustain far-reaching negative consequences without resolving the breach of fiduciary duty and public trust that is alleged. I will go into greater detail regarding the benefits that third party marketing firms bring to the process later in the discussion.
While I applaud the SEC’s decision to reconsider its course of action, I would encourage the SEC and FINRA to adopt a series of measures.
First, I would require all marketing professionals that call on public funds to be registered with FINRA, whether they are employed with third party marketing firms or employees of alternative investment firms.
This measure will level the playing field for everyone soliciting business with public funds. Second, I believe that greater transparency including fee disclosure be required of all third party marketing firms. THIRD, I would also suggest a ban on political contributions from third party marketing firms and all alternative investment firms seeking to do business with public funds. Finally, I would expect that strict policies regarding Travel and Entertainment Expenses of all third party marketing firms be enforced by FINRA. Effective legislation combined with rigorous enforcement will protect the positive role that third party marketing firms bring to the table and protect the broader interests of all market participants.
The State of New York Common Retirement Fund pay for play disaster serves to remind us that we have no outright protection from fraud and unethical behavior in our society. However, we do have powerful regulatory bodies capable of enacting and enforcing laws that promote ethical and responsible behavior. I am encouraged that the SEC has solicited feedback and is apparently willing to be thoughtful in its approach to third party marketing firms.
The value that third-party marketers add to the allocation process is manifold. Third-party marketers act in the role of an investment bank by raising capital for many private equity firms, hedge funds and other organizations in the alternative investment arena. Third party marketing firms are paid a fee for their efforts, typically a percentage of assets raised or a percentage of all fees generated by the investment in the future. The elimination of third-party marketers would likely cause many of these alternative investments firms to close their doors while simultaneously creating a higher hurdle rate for new managers considering entry into the business. It would also disproportionately harm minority- and woman-owned firms, which tend to be smaller. Many small and medium-sized hedge funds and private equity firms provide seed capital to start-up and small businesses and are an integral part of the global economy's shadow banking system. Small businesses represent a significant portion of our country’s job growth and are the backbone of our nation’s economic competitiveness on a global scale. Retarding the growth of the nation’s shadow banking system, during a time when traditional banks and lending institutions are less active, will likely have negative consequences for the market.
In sum, third party marketers contribute to the health and existence of the alternative investment arena, which in turn provides capital for the global economy and increases market efficiency. Banning third-party marketers from the investment process would also shrink the opportunity set for investors and speed the migration of investor’s capital to the largest hedge funds and private equity firms, who can afford large marketing infrastructures. Many would argue that compared with their smaller brethren, larger organizations are not able to generate the same returns as their smaller, more nimble competitors, which would negatively impact market efficiency. Given that small and mid-size hedge funds and private equity firms have the potential to generate a significant amount of alpha, any legislation that impacts their existence should be carefully considered. Hedge funds can choose to build their own sales teams, outsource the fundraising effort to a third-party marketing firm, or choose a hybrid approach.
There are some important distinctions between third-party marketing firms and in-house sales staff. Third-party marketers are required to be licensed and regulated by the SEC and FINRA. These firms are heavily regulated and are required to follow all rules and regulations. Most hedge funds are not regulated and their internal sales people in many cases are not licensed. As it now stands, third-party marketers face a much higher degree of regulatory scrutiny than hedge funds that have not voluntarily registered with the SEC. Another critical role played by third-party marketers is the screening of the manager universe. The best third-party marketers perform extensive due diligence before making the decision to represent a hedge fund. In some cases, third-party marketers represent less than 1% of the firms on which they perform due diligence. If one of the firms they are representing becomes less marketable for any reason, they have the option to focus their efforts on the other managers they represent.
All of the reasons articulated above suggest that the SEC is wise in its most recent efforts to explore a framework of rules and regulations that protect third party marketing firms and market participants.
I am pleased that the SEC has listened to the marketplace and recognizes the value that third party marketing adds to the investment process. The SEC’s appreciation of the role that third party marketers play and its request for help from FINRA to create rules that will level that playing field for all of us is welcomed.
Donald A. Steinbrugge is managing member of Agecroft Partners LLC, a Richmond, Va.-based consulting and third-party marketing firm specializing in hedge funds and other alternative investments.
30 Jun 2010
A FINRA panel found that Edward S. Brokaw was engaged in a pattern of trading designed deliberately to drive the value of MGRM stock down and, in turn, drive up the value of contingent value rights (CVRs) on that stock.
According to FINRA, Brokaw`s hedge fund client held approximately 18.5 million CVRs – nearly 30 percent of the 64.8 million MGRM CVRs outstanding. For every penny the final VWAP dropped below $2.90, the value of the hedge fund`s CVRs increased by $185,000.
If the maximum payout of $.88 per CVR were achieved, FINRA said, the hedge fund would receive approximately $16 million. Brokaw and his family owned 217,000 of the CVRs, with a potential maximum payout of $188,000.
Included in the evidence against Brokaw were tape recordings of his phone calls to his firm`s trading desk to place sell orders. In one phone call, Brokaw told a Deutsche Bank sales trader, “Take 50,000 MGRM at the market. Sell it down. Sell it as low as you want. Sell it hard, 50,000.”
FINRA also found that Brokaw violated a Deutsche Bank`s policy by only completing one “booking ticket” each day, each showing a single 100,000-share order to sell, each with a false notation that the order was given by the client directly to the trading desk rather than to Brokaw – thus circumventing automatic branch office compliance review of the orders.
Deutsche Bank first suspended, then terminated Brokaw based on his MGRM sales orders for the hedge fund.