Now raising intellectual capital

Galleon’s edge

The arrest of hedge fund millionaire Raj Rajaratnam on charges that he and his $7 billion Galleon Group hedge fund profited from illegal insider trading will no doubt feed suspicion in some corners about the way hedge funds generate fat profits.

But for anyone to assume that all hedge fund managers owe their success to getting information on the sly is unfair and wrong. The overwhelming majority of hedge funds are only as good as the quality of the research performed by their analysts and traders.

And the truth is the vast majority of hedge funds are rather ordinary. If the majority of hedge funds managers were so crafty, not so many funds would have gone bust last year–or lost bundles of money for their wealthy investors.

The true standouts in the industry are a real minority. Anyone can put together an offering statement, call themselves a hedge fund manager and go out and raise money. That’s one reason why wealthy people and pension funds who throw money blindly at hedge funds without doing adequate due diligence are being plain foolish.

A Goldman trading scandal?

Did someone try to steal Goldman Sachs’ secret sauce?

While most in the US were celebrating the 4th of July, a Russian immigrant living in New Jersey was being held on federal charges of stealing top-secret computer trading codes from a major New York-based financial institution—that sources say is none other than Goldman Sachs.

The allegations, if true, are big news because the codes the accused man, Sergey Aleynikov, tried to steal is the secret code to unlocking Goldman’s automated stocks and commodities trading businesses. Federal authorities allege the computer codes and related-trading files that Aleynikov uploaded to a German-based website help this major “financial institution” generate millions of dollars in profits each year.