Billions: Hedge Fund Drama Comes To Showtime

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New York (HedgeCo.Net) - Paul Giamatti “John Adams” and Damian Lewis of “Homeland” are slated to play rivals in an upcoming drama co-written by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Business Insider reports.

“The dynamic star pairing of Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis is matched by an equally exciting team in the writing of this show.” President of Entertainment at Showtime, David Nevins, said.

“Hard charging, whip-smart U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti), and the brilliant ambitious hedge fund king, Bobby “Axe” Axelrod,” collide in the the new show “Billions,” which “takes a forensic look at the world of high finance by tracking the approaching collision between two titanic figures.” Showtime said in a press release.

“Andrew Ross Sorkin, one of the preeminent financial journalists of our time, has joined forces with Brian Koppelman and David Levien, two of Hollywood’s most accomplished screenwriters, to tackle an incredibly timely and buzzy subject.” Nevins said. ”With this caliber of writing and acting, I think the show’s authenticity and insider look will have great appeal to a discerning audience.”

The cast also includes Maggie Siff (Sons Of Anarchy), Malin Akerman (Children’s Hospital), Toby Leonard Moore (Daredevil), David Costabile (Suits) and Condola Rashad (Smash).

Currently being shot in New York, “Billions” is set for release in 2016.

Events, Hedge Funds

Hedge Fund Philanthropy: Man Booker International Prize 2015 Finalists

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New York (HedgeCo.Net) – Ten writers are on the judges’ list of finalists under serious consideration for the sixth Man Booker International Prize, the £60,000 award which recognises one writer for his or her achievement in fiction.

“We are very proud to sponsor the Man Booker International Prize, recognising the hard work and creativity of these talented authors and translators.” Manny Roman, CEO of hedge fund investor Man Group, said. “The prize underscores Man Group’s charitable focus on literacy and education, as well as our commitment to excellence and entrepreneurship. Together with the wider charitable activities of the Booker Prize Foundation, the prize plays a very important role in promoting literary excellence that we are honoured to support. It’s exciting to see finalists from ten countries, with six nationalities included on the list for the first time, further broadening Man Booker’s international reach. Many congratulations to all the finalists.”

The authors come from ten countries with six new nationalities included on the list for the first time. They are from Libya, Mozambique, Guadeloupe, Hungary, South Africa and Congo. None of the writers has appeared on a previous Man Booker International Prize list of finalists. The proportion of writers translated into English is greater than ever before at 80%.

The ten authors on the list are:

César Aira (Argentina)
Hoda Barakat (Lebanon)
Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe)
Mia Couto (Mozambique)
Amitav Ghosh (India)
Fanny Howe (United States of America)
Ibrahim al-Koni (Libya)
László Krasznahorkai (Hungary)
Alain Mabanckou (Republic of Congo)
Marlene van Niekerk (South Africa)

The judging panel for the Man Booker International Prize 2015 consists of writer and academic, Professor Marina Warner (Chair); novelist Nadeem Aslam; novelist, critic and Professor of World Literature in English at Oxford University, Elleke Boehmer; Editorial Director of the New York Review Classics series, Edwin Frank, and Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at SOAS, University of London, Wen-chin Ouyang.

The Man Booker International Prize is awarded every two years to a living author who has published fiction either originally in English or whose work is generally available in translation in the English language.

Lydia Davis won the prize in 2013, Philip Roth in 2011, Alice Munro in 2009, Chinua Achebe in 2007 and Ismail Kadaré won the inaugural prize in 2005. In addition, there is a separate award for translation and, if applicable, the winner may choose a translator of his or her work into English to receive a prize of £15,000.

The 2015 Man Booker International Prize winner will be announced at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on 19 May.

Man Group sponsors both the Man Booker International Prize and the annual Man Booker Prize. The Man Booker International Prize is significantly different from the annual Man Booker in that it highlights one writer’s overall contribution to fiction on the world stage. In seeking out literary excellence the judges consider a writer’s body of work rather than a single novel. Both prizes strive to recognise and reward the finest modern literature.

Hedge Fund Philanthrophy, Hedge Fund Strategy, Hedge Funds

The Carlyle Group To Acquire Conifer Financial Services

mergers-acquisitionsNew York (HedgeCo.Net) – Global hedge fund asset manager The Carlyle Group has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Conifer Financial Services LLC, a $100 billion independent asset services firm.

The transaction, terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015 subject to customary closing requirements and regulatory approvals. Senior management of Conifer will continue to lead the business and own a significant minority interest in the company.

In May 2014, The Conifer Group, LLC and Vastardis Capital Services Holdings LP merged their respective businesses to create Conifer Financial Services, one of the world’s largest independent asset services providers and outsourced trading platforms.

Keith Taylor, Managing Director of Carlyle’s Global Financial Services Fund, said, “Fund services are becoming increasingly important to a range of asset owners and managers. Market participants are working to gain better control over their data, operations and regulatory requirements. Conifer’s technology advantage allows it to deliver a diverse set of services to help its clients thrive in this dynamic environment.”

Christopher Dodds, Keith Taylor and William Allen will join Jack McDonald and William Vastardis on Conifer’s Board of Directors.

Capital for Carlyle’s investment will come from Carlyle Global Financial Services Partners II. L.P., which invests in management buyouts, growth capital opportunities and strategic minority investments in financial services firms globally. This will be the fifth investment by the fund.

Previous investments include: Duff & Phelps, DBRS and Edgewood Partners Holdings Inc.

Hedge Fund Strategy, Hedge Funds

Newly Launched Hedge Funds Have Best Year Since 2004

Screenshot 2015-03-26 11.37.44New York (HedgeCo.Net) – New hedge funds in the US netted over $34 billion in last year’s explosive launch environment, posting the best fundraising total in a decade, Absolute Return research shows.

The largest was the Two Sigma Absolute Return Macro Master Fund from leading quantitative investor Two Sigma. The vehicle raised a whopping $3.3 billion as of January 1.

In total, 84 managers raised $34.11 billion, compared to the $20.77 billion total one year earlier. 2014’s total was close to the peak for new launches in 2004 when 81 new funds raised $39.5 billion.

The top 12 launches each raised a billion or more, accounting for more than $20 billion – or nearly 60% – of total assets raised.

eVestment reports that hedge fund assets increased 2.02% in February of 2015 bringing the industry’s total asset under management to $3.082 trillion. Investors added an estimated $13.0 billion of new capital to the industry in February and performance gains increased AUM an additional $48.1 billion.

Event driven funds also saw new money come in during February, with estimated inflows of $2.6 billion during the month. Interest in funds that employ activist approaches appears to be strong so far in 2015. This subset of event driven funds accounted for nearly all of the broad strategy’s reported inflows in February.

The top five launches can be found below:Screenshot 2015-03-26 11.25.0800

Hedge Fund Strategy, Hedge Funds, hedge fund research

Hedge Fund Crime Ring Uncovered, A Dozen Criminals Brought to Justice

Business ConceptNew York (HedgeCo.Net) – Nearly a dozen fraudsters who conspired to operate the $40 million Black Diamond hedge fund Ponzi scheme will be spending plenty of time behind bars after a joint effort by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of North Carolina.

Among those now serving time is the scheme’s mastermind, Keith Franklin Simmons, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison late last year. And just last month, the 11th and final defendant in the conspiracy—Jonathan D. Davey—was sentenced to more than 21 years.

The Department of Justice yesterday posted these tips on their website to help you avoid becoming the victim of a Ponzi scheme:

The FBI reports: In 2007, Simmons—a North Carolina businessman looking for a way to make easy money—formulated an investment scheme called “Black Diamond,” which he advertised as a legitimate hedge fund involved in foreign currency trading. Black Diamond, according to Simmons, had significant safeguards in place to protect investors, was independently audited, and had consistently high rates of return. None of that, of course, was true.

To help solicit investors from around the country, Simmons—through a co-conspirator—recruited a number of individuals to serve as regional managers of his hedge fund. Most of these “managers” had insurance experience and were well versed in selling annuity products, often to the elderly. So they solicited previous customers—as well as friends, family, and acquaintances. These early investors were promised financial compensation for bringing new investors on board, so they in turn praised Black Diamond and its high rate of return to their friends, family, and acquaintances. Unfortunately, not a single dollar of investor funds was actually invested.

Also brought on board to oversee the various hedge fund managers—and the money—was Davey, a certified public accountant and investment manager in Ohio. Davey controlled most of the funds from the scheme and published a website for investors that reflected false returns. By the end of the scheme, the website showed that the value of investor accounts was more than $120 million, but in reality, all of the accounts totaled less than $1 million.

Black Diamond made the perpetrators—in particular Simmons and Davey—very rich. And as long as new money was coming in, they were able to keep making some payments to their early investors while at the same time continuing to fund their lavish lifestyles, which included mansions, luxury vehicles, and expensive trips.

But as all Ponzi schemes usually do at some point, Black Diamond began to collapse in on itself—there was not enough new money coming in to keep the old investors satisfied or to continue lining the pockets of the criminals running the fraud. So around March 2009, a new Ponzi scheme was begun, but this time some of the money from investors in the new scheme went to make payments to the investors of the old scheme, and the rest went to the criminals.

It was the beginning of the end, however. Acting on allegations of suspicious financial activity, the FBI—with its partners—was already investigating Black Diamond. By December 2009, ringleader Keith Franklin Simmons was in custody, and the arrests of his co-conspirators eventually followed.

Editing by Alex Akesson
For HedgeCo.net
alex@hedgeco.net
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Events, Fraud, Hedge Funds

Activist Hedge Funds Are Driving Company Performance

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New York (HedgeCo.Net) – Activist hedge funds globally are driving improvements in the share price, operating performance and governance of the companies in which they invest, according to a new paper by AIMA, the global hedge fund industry specialist.

The activist hedge fund sector worldwide comprises around 165 firms and manages approximately $120 billion in assets – a six-fold increase in the last 10 years. The sector’s compound returns from 2012-2014 were over 50%.

The findings are contained in a paper, titled “Unlocking Value: The Positive Role of Activist Hedge Funds”, which AIMA has produced in conjunction with the law firm Simmons & Simmons. Among its findings are:

“An assessment of the value of activist hedge funds to the broader economy is long overdue. We regard activist hedge funds as the keys that are unlocking value in public and private enterprises, delivering gains to their investors, the companies in which they invest, and ultimately, the broader economy.” Jack Inglis, AIMA CEO, said.

“By taking significant but non-controlling stakes in companies, and holding those positions often for years at a time, activist hedge funds are supporting improvements in the performance of thousands of firms around the world. Struggling businesses are being turned around, well-run businesses improved, capital more efficiently allocated and the interests of managers, shareholders and other stakeholders better aligned.

“What this means, more broadly, is that activist hedge funds are bringing improvements to the efficient allocation of capital and resources in the economy overall, which is one of the key benefits of capital markets financing as opposed to bank financing.”

The full paper as well as a four-page summary are available on the AIMA website.

Hedge Fund Strategy, Hedge Funds

HedgeCoVest Continues To Build An Impressive Roster of Leading Hedge Fund Managers

hedgecovestNew York (HedgeCo.Net) HedgeCoVest continues to attract some of the largest managers in the industry to its real time hedge fund replication platform. $21bn fund manager Fred Alger Management is the newest firm to join the HedgeCoVest roster as it prepares to open its site to investors this week.

HedgeCoVest’s revolutionary allocation tool, the Replicazor, mirrors the portfolio and trading strategies of hedge funds directly into an investor’s brokerage account. Part of HedgeCo Networks, the Florida based firm offers investors the chance to allocate to portfolios from a wide range of hedge fund products provided by managers.

We are thrilled to announce the launch of the HedgeCoVest platform,” says Evan Rapoport, CEO/Founder of HedgeCoVest. “For the first time, investors of all sizes can invest with hedge fund managers in a secure, transparent, cost effective and liquid structure.”

Industry stalwart Fred Alger Management – joins the likes of $10bn Cornerstone Capital, The Boston Company ($50bn) and London-based Gems Advisors, with over $2bn in assets in offering strategies on the platform.

We are pleased to offer investors access to premium managers like Fred Alger Management,” Rapoport said. “Over 60 hedge fund models are signed to participate, and the response from fund managers and investors is amazing.”

The platform has an account minimum of  $30,000 and is open to both institutional/retail investors. “We believe the adoption of firms like Fred Alger Management is proof of the growing importance of retail investors to the hedge fund industry and a testament to our technology that we have been working on for over four years.”

HedgeCoVest charges investors a 2.5% annualized management fee, a portion of which goes to the asset manager. Unveiled at the Finovate Conference in New York in September, HedgeCoVest was designed as a tool for all investors, the investment advisor community, family offices and fund of funds.

“Our partnerships with Interactive Brokers, Pershing Advisor Solutions and additional custodians will provide an unmatched, streamlined access to HedgeCoVest for investment advisors utilizing an all in one solution for alternative and traditional investments,” says Rapoport.

HedgeCoVest is a division of HedgeCo Networks, which has over 30,000 members and 7000 funds listed. HedgeCoVest was designed to create a more secure, cost effective, and transparent liquid structure for investors in the alternative investment industry. For more: www.hedgecovest.com

Administrators, Events, Hedge Funds, hedge fund technology

Blackstone Hires 20 Military Service Members Transitioning Into Private Sector

Solar-Array-e1341948411421Blackstone-backed Vivint Solar has offered  jobs to the 20 graduates of the United States Department of Energy’s, ‘Reach for the Sun’ pilot program.

Blackstone Group LP, the world’s hedge fund manager, acquired the company in 2012. Vivint installs solar panels at no cost to the homeowner, via a power purchase agreement.

“We are honored to recruit from the Department of Energy’s ‘Reach for the Sun’ program and are thoroughly impressed with the skillsets of its graduates,” said Greg Butterfield, CEO of Vivint Solar. “As exiting military personnel pursue civilian jobs, we hope they will choose careers in the fast-growing solar industry.”

The intensive solar workforce training ‘Reach for the Sun’ is designed to help place qualified transitioning military service members into the solar industry, it will also be offered at United States Army Fort Carson in Colorado and Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia this year.  an

Vivint Solar went public in 2014 with an IPO starting at $16/share. Publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange Vivint Solar’s estimated retained value increased by approximately $89 million during the quarter to approximately $399 million at September 30, 2014, up 172% compared to the third quarter of 2013.

Events, Hedge Fund Philanthrophy, Hedge Fund Strategy, Hedge Funds

Man Group Expands GLG Hedge Fund Arm In Japan

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Man Group is adding to its portfolio by acquiring the Tokyo based Japan Long Short Equity Strategy fund, the investment management business of NewSmith LLP, an equity investment manager with $1.2 billion of funds under management.

The NewSmith acquisition allows for the expansion in Tokyo of Man GLG’s equities business, providing further opportunity to manage funds for Japan’s largest institutional asset manager, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Limited (SuMi TRUST), a key client of Man Group.

When the deal reaches completion in the second quarter of 2015, four NewSmith strategies will be integrated into Man GLG.

NewSmith has offices in London and Tokyo and has four portfolio management teams with 15 investment professionals, investing in UK, European, Global and Japanese equities. The Firm is approximately 60% owned by its founders and senior staff members and approximately 40% owned by SuMi TRUST.

“The acquisition brings a new dimension to the firm, including a Japanese hedge fund and an excellent team in Tokyo, as well as adding further scale to our London business.” Luke Ellis, President of Man Group, said, “It is testament to the Man GLG team that we have received such a strong endorsement from SuMi TRUST, a key strategic partner of Man Group, and we are delighted that our relationship will be further enhanced following this acquisition.”

Pakenham Partners acted as financial adviser to SuMi TRUST in this transaction, while Goldman Sachs International acted as sole financial adviser to Man Group.

Hedge Fund Strategy, Hedge Funds

Hedge Fund Manager Sentenced To 5 Years For Scamming Veterans, Retirees, Hurricane Katrina Victims

A Louisiana hedge fund manager has been sentenced to sixty months’ imprisonment as a result of a mail fraud scheme in which he defrauded investors out of millions of dollars, the DOJ reports. Zachary Holdman was also sentenced to serve two years of supervised release following his release from imprisonment and ordered to pay the victims of his scheme over $7 million in restitution.

Holdman operated a hedge fund called Greenwing Capital Management, LLC. As the owner and operator of the fund, the FBI alleges that he solicited and received millions of dollars in investment funds from the victim investors, many of whom were retirees, including former military veterans as well as survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

“Those individuals who prey on a vulnerable investing public, especially during such challenging economic times, will continue to be held fully accountable.” FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Michael J. Anderson said.

The indictment alleges that from approximately February 2008 to October 2008, Holdman concealed a failed investment plan by falsely representing to the victim investors that their investments were earning positive rates of return when, in fact, Holdman had lost over 98 percent of their funds.

“Investment fraud is a devastating crime that goes on far too often. We will continue to pursue such matters aggressively, particularly when the victims include some of our community’s most vulnerable. My appreciation goes to our federal and state law enforcement partners, both here in Louisiana and in Texas and Mississippi, for helping us uncover and address this scheme.” U.S. Attorney Green said.

Fraud