February 08, 2007

Presidential Ties to Hedge Funds

-- Pushpa Sathish, Staff Writer

If you remember him as I do, it would be for the stellar role he played in handling the disastrous consequences of that fateful day in September, 2001 when a terrorist outfit wreaked havoc on the United States. Now, Rudy W. Guiliani is making news for an altogether different reason.

The former mayor of New York City is in the limelight as he contemplates running for president next year – especially because of the large contributions that are pouring from hedge funds to his campaign fund. T. Boone Pickens and Paul Tudor Jones II stand out in the list of contributors – they run the hedge funds BP Capital Management and Tudor Investment Corporation respectively and were named by Alpha Magazine as the second and fifth highest earners among hedge fund managers.

Besides these inflows, there have been others from the employees of BP Capital Management and Elliot Associates – the latter, a hedge fund managed by Paul E. Singer, a staunch supporter of Giuliani.

February 08, 2007

Hedge Funds’ Cup of Woes Overflows

-- Pushpa Sathish, Staff Writer

January has not been a good month for a few hedge funds. Red Kite lost more than 20 percent on bad bets on copper – the fund is now trying to deal with the investors who are knocking down its doors in an attempt to redeem their investments. The two-year old fund which had a strong showing last year is pinning its hopes on the 45-day notice that investors are supposed to provide before they pull their money out. The lock-out period was increased from 15 to 45 – perhaps in lieu of what was in store at the fund?

Meanwhile, across the ocean in the United Kingdom, things are not too good at the offices of SemperMacro. The hedge fund, beset by a cascade of troubles including a 16 percent loss last year and a subsequent withdrawal of funds by investors, is in the process of cutting back on its staff. SemperMacro, which was set up by a former Goldman Sachs employee and a former BBC chairman, plunged to $500 million from $1.5 billion after an investor redemption in December 2006.

February 08, 2007

G7 to Focus on Transparency in Hedge Funds

-- Pushpa Sathish, Staff Writer

Will G7 succeed where the SEC has failed so far? The summit, to be held later this week in Germany, will focus on the risks from hedge funds to the international financial system and global capital inflows. Berlin has assigned top priority to the issue of transparency in hedge funds; Berlin is interested in bringing more regulation to these investment vehicles, but with the United States and the United Kingdom not showing their solidarity on this point, Germany has agreed to settle for pressing for increased transparency into funds’ operations and business methods, says German finance minister Thomas Mirow.

Whether the meet will actually bring about some changes is a question that remains to be answered.

Longer Lives for Hedge Funds

-- Pushpa Sathish, Staff Writer

We’ve read and heard a lot about the relatively short lifespan of hedge funds – they average three years in existence before closing up shop. But that trend is slowly fading away, says hedge fund consultant and index provider Hennessee Group. The attrition rate for hedge funds, that is, the rate at which they are liquidated, is an average of 5.2 percent since 1999. The last two years have seen a significant decrease in the number of hedge funds that wound up due to poor performance or an exodus of staff and managers – 6.2 percent in 2004, 5.4 in 2005, and 5.1 in 2006.

Hedge funds are opening their doors to institutional money, a move that will generate larger funds with more expensive infrastructure. The very existence of these influential funds will make it difficult for startup and smaller funds to survive, which means that fewer people will be rushing to launch their own funds without the necessary clout to endure the stiff competition, according to Hennessee.

Conclusion – The attrition statistics do not mean that the failure rate in the hedge fund world is much higher than that in other industries – Hennessee’s managing principal Charles Gradante sums up the situation.

Make Sure you Share Share-Purchase Information

-- Pushpa Sathish, Staff Writer

Buying the majority of shares in a company, hiding the fact from the SEC, not informing your investors about the beneficial interest due to them, being involved in a securities fraud – these are misdemeanors that will get you into heaps of trouble, a fact that John H. Whittier will attest to.

The former head of the now defunct hedge fund Wood River Capital Management LLC was indicted on the charges of cheating investors to the tune of $88 million in Oct 2005. He’s being accused of securities fraud and failure to disclose beneficial interest in a publicly traded security - of 5 percent in one and 10 percent in two others.

Whittier, who purchased 80 percent of wireless communications company EndWave Corp., failed to disclose ownership of the same – which is why he is being charged with attempting to con investors in the hedge funds Wood River Partners LP and Wood Rivers Partners Offshore Ltd.

His arraignment is scheduled for Feb 8.