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July 9, 2009 • 5:44 pm 0
September 26, 2009 • 10:45 am 1
A Los Angeles investment firm has come out a big winner in the battle among some of world’s best-known money managers vying for a slice of cash from China’s sovereign-wealth fund.
China Investment Corp., which is doling out billions of dollars as it tries to profit from a global economic recovery, has committed to invest about $1 billion with Oaktree Capital Management LP, people familiar with the matter said. The big allocation comes as the Chinese fund stands poised to make a wave of investments directly into hedge funds around the world.
For more than a year, big-name money managers have aggressively courted CIC, as China’s fund is known, looking to Beijing for cash and its influential stamp of approval as anxious investors pulled money out of their funds amid the financial crisis.
“CIC represents one of the biggest investment opportunities in the world,” says Jake Walthour, who as head of advisory services at Aksia LLC comes into contact with hundreds of hedge funds as he helps investors decide where to put their money.
Oaktree is expected to invest CIC’s money over the course of several years in distressed debt and other fixed-income assets, and it adds to other inflows to the firm this year, people familiar with the matter say. Oaktree oversees more than $60 billion, making investments in a variety of realms, from debt of battered casino operators to buying whole companies.
An Oaktree spokeswoman declined to discuss the matter. A CIC representative didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Oaktree was founded in 1995 in Los Angeles and New York by a team of debt investors including Howard Marks, who is still its chairman. In July, Oaktree was among nine big asset-management firms chosen by the U.S. Treasury as fund managers for the Public-Private Investment Partnership, or PPIP, the government program designed to rid banks of toxic assets.
In recent months, CIC has emerged as the most active government investment fund on the world stage, deploying portions its $300 billion portfolio in deals as diverse as natural resources and real estate, aiming to catch the upside of what its leaders expect to be a global rebound. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. China analysts estimate that altogether CIC will spend as much as $50 billion on new overseas investments this year.
CIC is expected to funnel an additional $2 billion directly into hedge funds in the coming months. To score a spot on the list, some of the world’s most famous hedge-fund managers have made a pilgrimage to the 300-foot-tall glass-walled atrium of New Beijing Poly Plaza, CIC’s headquarters in the Chinese capital, to pitch their services. They include Eton Park Capital Management boss Eric Mindich and Paulson & Co.’s John Paulson, whose firm made a mint in 2007 betting on a housing-market downturn.
0Already this summer, CIC has funneled a billion dollars into hedge funds, though indirectly. It has channeled that money through two so-called funds of hedge funds—that is, managers that farm out pools of money to dozens of funds—that are run by Blackstone Group LP and Morgan Stanley. CIC owns stakes in both firms, making them familiar partners as it dips its toes into the hedge-fund world. Last year, CIC made a big private-equity investment with J.C. Flowers & Co., allocating $3.2 billion for opportunities among financial institutions.
Big Score for Capula
As CIC picks up its hedge-fund investments, lesser-known names also are getting a shot. Capula Investment Management LLP, a London-based firm started in 2005 overseeing $3.6 billion in fixed-income assets, received $200 million from the China fund in August, according to people familiar with the situation.
Capula is led by Yan Huo, the son and grandson of Chinese physicists who earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from Princeton University and went on to trade proprietary capital at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. CIC scrutinized Capula’s operations and performance for more than a year before finalizing its decision, a person familiar with the matter says. The allocation came after Capula gained 9.5% in 2008, a year when most hedge funds lost money.
Fund managers are known to travel the globe hunting for new money, but rarely have so many influential managers gone to such lengths to secure funds from one source.
Other sources of capital grew scarce in the wake of last year’s market turmoil. Risk appetites have been low at other sovereign funds in the Middle East and Singapore that took a big hit on investments last year. Their pullback has helped increase China’s clout in the hedge-fund industry.
Other hedge-fund names mentioned in recent weeks as potential front-runners for CIC money, according to people familiar with the matter, include Winton Capital Management and Lansdowne Capital Ltd., both of London; Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC in New York; and Los Angeles-based Canyon Partners. Representatives for the firms declined to comment.
Daniel Och, the former Goldman Sachs trader who started Och-Ziff in 1994 and took it public in November 2007, met with CIC in Beijing just this month, people familiar with the matter say.
Other managers who have met with CIC include Renaissance Technologies LLC and Citadel Investment Group LLC, people familiar with the matter say. CIC insiders have suggested to advisers that performance concerns at those firms in the past year could hurt their chances of receiving allocations, at least in the short term, people close to the matter say. Representatives for the firms declined to comment.
At the center of CIC’s hedge-fund vetting stands Felix Chee, a Singapore native who formerly oversaw the University of Toronto’s endowment fund. While CIC at times has had problems attracting experienced investment professionals, in part due to pay constraints, Mr. Chee has a deep understanding of asset allocation and corporate finance, people who have met with him say.
CIC has pushed hard for breaks in fees that could total hundreds of millions of dollars in coming years, according to people familiar with the matter. CIC has considered allocating money to SAC Capital Advisors LP chief Steve Cohen, who has hosted CIC decision-makers at his mansion in Greenwich, Conn. SAC has a strong track record, but CIC has expressed hesitation to pay Mr. Cohen’s fees, which are some of the industry’s highest, these people say. A spokesman for SAC declined to comment.
Droves of investment titans flying in from around the world occasionally have posed logistical snags, with CIC and others sometimes asked to intervene on behalf of fund bosses requesting Beijing landing slots, people familiar with the matter say. The slots are limited and controlled by the Chinese air force. For example, last year as Beijing was hosting the Olympics, Blackstone needed help in getting a landing slot for its chief, Stephen Schwarzman, arriving in his private jet.
September 24, 2009 • 9:09 pm 0
Looks like the buy and hold strategy worked out for Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, after it notched a $1.6 billion profit on a partial sale of its Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) stake. The Government of Singapore Investment Corp., or GIC reduced its holding of Citi to 5% from 9%, exchanging its $6.88 billion of convertible preferred stock for Citigroup common stock, it said in a statement. The conversion price was $3.25 per share.
In addition to the sale, GIC can boast of a $1.6 billion paper profit on its remaining stake, according to Bloomberg.
Although Citigroup itself remains mired in toxic assets, GIC’s investment in the bank has fared far better than the investments of other sovereign wealth funds in the financial sector.
A different Singapore wealth fund, Temasek Holdings Pte., took a hit on the sale of its stakes in Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC) and Barclays plc (NYSE:BCS). The Singapore government-controlled entity was Merrill Lynch & Co.’s largest shareholder with a 7.5% stake at the time it was purchased by BofA. Temasek had put $5 billion into Merrill at $48 a share between December and February, but a reset payment and additional $900 million averaged out the fund’s buy-in price to only $23.11 a share, based on Bloomberg calculations from exchange filings. Bank of America’s original stock offer came in at $29 a share, giving Temasek a $1.5 billion profit, but the markets weren’t kind to the stocks of either BofA or Merrill, which continued to fall before the deal closed, leaving Temasek’s investment in the loss column.
For its part, China’s sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. hasn’t been swayed by its investments in Blackstone Group LP (NYSE:BX) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) still being under water. The fund is doubling down on private equity, hedge funds and fund-of-funds investments in hopes of capitalizing in 2008′s drop in valuations. In spite of the fund’s $297.5 billion portfolio losing 2.1% in 2008, CIC said that it plans on investing $6 billion in hedge funds by the end of 2009.
In June, CIC put $500 million into a Blackstone hedge fund unit and bought another $1.2 billion of Morgan Stanley’s stock. The fund had famously paid $3 billion for a 9.9% stake in Blackstone right before the private equity firm’s 2007 IPO, only to see the value of its stake get crushed when the credit crisis set in and large LBO activity ground to a halt. CIC later increased its stake to 12.5%. Shares of Blackstone closed at $14.89 on Friday, off more than 50% from their IPO price of $31. Morgan Stanley currently trades at $32.53, topping the $28 to $31 range it saw in June. – From the deal
September 20, 2009 • 11:36 pm 0
From the Wealth Bulletin, news that Singapore’s central bank is holding informal talks with hedge fund executives on ways to toughen up the regulatory regime for the city-state’s growing alternative investment sector, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Industry sources say ideas being deliberated upon in the discussions include the introduction of minimum requirements for asset size, professionally qualified employees, working capital and professional indemnity arrangements.
September 17, 2009 • 9:49 am 0
1. Paulson Advantage Plus
Fund Asset: $2,171
Strategy: Event Driven
3yr annualised rtn: 62.67%
2008 rtn: 37.80%
Location: New York
Firm Asset: $30,000
2. Balestra Capital Partners
Fund Asset: $800
Strategy: Global Macro
3yr annualised rtn: 61.24%
2008 rtn: 45.78%
Company: Balestra Capital
Location: New York
3. Vision Opportunity Capital
Fund Asset: $357
Strategy: Relative Value
3yr annualised rtn: 61.13%
2008 rtn: 6.96%
Company: Vision Capital
Location: New York
Firm Asset: $733
4. Paulson Enhanced
Fund Asset: $2,535
Strategy: Merger Arbitrage
3yr annualised rtn: 46.81%
2008 rtn: 12.45%
Location: New York
Firm Asset: $30,000
5. Quality Capital Mgmt – Global Diversified
Fund Asset: $747
Strategy: Global Diversified
3yr annualised rtn: 36.22%
2008 rtn: 59.51%
Company: Quality Capital Mgmt
Location: Weybridge, U.K.
Firm Asset: $777
6. Altis Global Futures Portfolio – Composite
Fund Asset: $1,340
Strategy: Managed Futures
3yr annualised rtn: 32.89%
2008 rtn: 51.93%
Company: Altis Partners
Location: Jersey, Channel Islands
Firm Asset: $1,340
7. Belvedere Futures Strategy
Fund Asset: $365
Strategy: Managed Futures
3yr annualised rtn: 32.00%
2008 rtn: 14.41%
Company: Belvedere Adv
Location: San Francisco
Firm Asset: $365
8. Pivot Global Value
Fund Asset: $754
Strategy: Global Macro
3yr annualised rtn: 30.83%
2008 rtn: 51.90%
Company: Pivot Capital
Firm Asset: $754
9. RG Niederhoffer Diversified (Offshore) Class B
Fund Asset: $752
Strategy: Global Macro
3yr annualised rtn: 30.67%
2008 rtn: 50.28%
Company: RG Niederhoffer Capital
Location: New York
Firm Asset: $1,758
10. Horseman Global
Fund Asset: $3,863
Strategy: Equity Long/Short
3yr annualised rtn: 29.95%
2008 rtn: 31.26%
Company: Horseman Capital
Firm Asset: $6,300
You can find the original data on the Barron’s Hedge Fund Rankings 2009: Top 100 List
September 16, 2009 • 10:01 am 0
Asia’s 25 biggest hedge funds in 2009
1..Sparx Group (Tokyo) US$4.82bn
2. Value Partners (HK) US$3.19bn
3. Artradis Fund Management (Singapore) US$2.722bn
4. ADM Capital (HK) US$2.2bn
5. Arisaig Partners (Singapore) US$1.996bn
6. Penta Investment Advisers (HK) US$1.910bn
7. Pacific Alliance Investment Management (HK) US$1.450bn
8. Target Asset Management (Singapore) US$1.400bn
9. Aisling Analytics (Singapore) US$1.186bn
10. Ortus Capital Management (HK) US$805m
11. LIM Advisors (HK) US$800m
12. Tree Line Investment Management (HK) US$760m
13. JL Capital (Singapore) US$618m
14. Sofaer Capital (HK) US$610m
15. Symphony Financial Partners (Singapore) US$600m
16. Asia Genesis Asset Management (Singapore) US$599m
17. Tower Investment Management (Tokyo) US$581m
18. Ward Ferry Management (HK) US$575m
19. Income Partners Asset Management (HK) US$520m
20. Lapp Capital (Singapore) US$500m
21. UG Investment Advisers (Singapore) US$496m
22. Argyle Street Management (HK) US$458m
23. Abax Global Capital (HK) US$455m
24. Brooke Capital (HK) US$450m
25. Asuka Asset Management (Tokyo) US$428m
Source: this document
September 14, 2009 • 11:14 am 0
Billionaire Bhupendra Kumar Modi, who made his fortune from mobile-phone services in India, is planning to invest $100 million in distressed assets including the island resorts on Batam and Bintan neighboring Singapore.
Modi, chairman of Singapore-based Spice Global with interests from telecommunications to financial services, said he is in talks to buy stakes in all the resorts on the Indonesian islands and wants to transform them into entertainment hubs, flying in Bollywood stars and eventually adding casinos.
“There’s nothing near Singapore as beautiful as these two islands, but they are distressed,” the 60-year old said in an interview at his 63rd-floor penthouse overlooking the casino- resort being built by Las Vegas Sands Corp. “There are a lot of situations emerging where the actual asset is good, but it is distressed because the situation around it is not right.”
Modi, who last year moved from Beverly Hills to Singapore, is aiming to fill a gap left as firms such as Blackstone Group LP and Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC scaled back plans to buy distressed Asian assets. He has set aside $100 million for special situation investments, which seek to profit from events such as spin-offs.
He plans to invest with distressed specialists, including hedge-fund firm 3 Degrees Asset Management Pte and former traders from Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. who are opening their own shop to take advantage of rising Asian corporate defaults.
Modi earned 21 billion rupees ($434 million) selling his stake in Noida, Uttar Pradesh-based Spice Communications Ltd. to Idea Cellular Ltd. last year. He said he has a net worth of $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion and cash of $700 million to $800 million.
Spice Global is planning a $1 billion initial share sale, Modi said in June.
He plans to invest $20 million in a private-equity fund managed by 3 Degrees to buy a stake in a resort in Bintan through the Singapore-based distressed asset manager.
Modi said he seeks management control of the companies he invests in. He became chairman of the board of MediaRing Ltd. and replaced its chief executive officer and chief financial officer after agreeing to buy as much as 20 percent of the Singapore-based Internet telephony firm for about S$60 million ($42 million) last month.
The billionaire said he expects returns of more than 100 percent if he can change the way Bintan and Batam, 45 minutes from Singapore by ferry, are being run. He will engage policy makers in Singapore and Indonesia to develop infrastructure and promote more visitor arrivals there, he said.
About $1 trillion of corporate debt is stressed and distressed in Asia today, with only about 10 “substantially capitalized” distressed investing firms chasing it, according to Robert Petty, New York-based co-founder of Clearwater Capital Partners LLC, which manages a $1.7 billion fund of Asian distressed assets.
“The supply-demand mismatch is interesting,” he said. “Today is an extraordinary market opportunity if you have the depth of team to be able to do all dimensions of distressed.”
Bonds are termed distressed when they yield at least 10 percentage points more than similar-maturity government notes. Near-distressed or stressed bonds have yield premiums of between 7 percentage points and 10 percentage points.
Asia-focused distressed and event-driven hedge funds and private-equity firms manage about $67 billion in assets, according to Eurekahedge Pte, a Singapore-based data provider.
Standard & Poor’s expects “record levels of defaults” in Asia as the global recession hurts the region’s export-dependent economies and leveraged industries, it said in a June 1 report. Nine rated borrowers defaulted in the first five months of the year, matching the peak of the region’s 1998 financial crisis, S&P said.
“There will be a shedload of money to be made in Asian distressed over the next 18 to 24 months,” said Michel Lowy, former head of Asia-Pacific Strategic Investment Group at Deutsche Bank AG, who has been investing in distressed assets for 13 years.
Lowy is starting SC Lowy Financial (HK) Ltd., a Hong Kong- based distressed investment business which will focus on the region, and will seek “all asset classes within the illiquid value investment space” including special situations and distressed. Investment opportunities in this area will likely peak in one to three years, he added.
Lowy said his most successful deal while at Deutsche Bank was the German firm’s investment and reorganization of Spice Communications. He declined to say how much the bank made because the information is private.
Hedge-fund managers investing in Asian distressed debt returned 1 percent in the first eight months of 2009, according to Eurekahedge. Asia-focused event-driven funds gained 16 percent.
Edwin Wong, an ex-Lehman managing director, set up SSG Capital Management with former colleagues including Andreas Vourloumis to start a fund to invest in distressed assets in Asia outside Japan. Modi said he plans to co-invest with Vourloumis, who made money for Lehman investing in Spice Communications. Vourloumis was not immediately available for comment.
September 9, 2009 • 11:43 am 0
Asia-focused hedge funds fell 0.4 percent in August after five straight months of gains, pulled down by sharp declines in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan shares, hedge-fund tracker Eurekahedge said.
Japan hedge funds edged up 0.7 percent, North American funds rose 1.8 percent, Latin American funds gained 2.1 percent and European funds returned 2.6 percent, the Singapore-based firm said in a statement received on Wednesday.
Asian hedge funds have gained 13.1 percent since the start of the year, after a 20.3 percent drop in 2008, according to Eurekahedge, which said its estimates are based on preliminary data.
Eurekahedge also said in its statement that hedge funds globally attracted net inflows of $4.5 billion in August, with over 50 percent of funds tracked by the firm reporting new inflows from investors.
Globally, all hedge fund investment strategies showed positive returns in August, led by funds investing in distressed debt which returned 6.23 percent average, Eurekahedge said. The weakest performers were commodities trading advisers and managed futures funds, which returned 0.5 percent.
September 6, 2009 • 9:26 pm 0
Mr Johnson was there to argue against “enormously damaging” plans to tighten regulation, saying that it would drive jobs in the capital elsewhere and cost the UK billions in tax revenues as business relocated to other financial centres such as New York and Singapore.
“After a series of meetings I am confident we have successfully made a concrete and sensible argument,” the Mayor said. “Amongst the British MEPs I met, there was widespread recognition of the potentially damaging effect that the directive, in its current form, will have on London, the UK and Europe. I was encouraged by MEPs to continue to lobby for the modification of the directive.”
Mr Johnson said that he had a “very friendly, warm and constructive” meeting with Charlie McCreevy, the EU Commissioner responsible for the regulation of financial services.
“Commissioner McCreevy realises the importance of the capital’s financial services industry to London, as well as Europe, and recognises that the directive will be, and should be, amended as it makes its journey through the European Parliament. He encouraged us to continue to play our part in this process and I fully intend to do so,” the Mayor added.
He has maintained throughout that the draft directive is unduly harsh on hedge funds and private equity, which he says were not to blame for the financial crisis. He said he is in favour of “proportionate regulation” but argued in its current form it would cut off a vital supply of investment funding from an industry which currently employs 7,000 people directly in private equity in London and a further 35,000 directly and indirectly within hedge fund management. About 80pc of European hedge funds and 60pc of European private equity funds are located in London, according to the Mayor.
The Alternative Investment Fund Management draft directive was published by the European Commission in April. Mr Johnson has dismissed the plans as protectionist and anti-competitive, and claimed they display ignorance about the workings of the industry.
He has argued that the correct thing to do would be to regulate at the global level through the G20.
JVB with the telegraph
September 6, 2009 • 5:04 pm 1
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