DealZone

Citi’s risky businesses

Assume for a moment that Citi is successful in raising $3 billion for private equity and hedge funds, and assume for another moment that the U.S. government takes away these businesses away from Citi, as legislators are threatening. What happens next? Why is Citi building a business it may soon have to sell? And why would any investor give money to a hedge fund manager that may have to sell its business?

Investors will not likely care about whether the bank will sell its alternative asset management business. Customers care most about who is investing their money day to day, not which corporate logo is on the stationery. And if Citi has to sell the business, it will get a slightly higher price for a business that has an extra $3 billion under management.

Citi is still walking into a mine field by building a business that lawmakers are explicitly trying to keep banks out of. One thing for sure–if Citigroup is building alternative asset management businesses, nobody can accuse it of being under the thumb of the government, which still owns billions of the bank’s shares.

from Funds Hub:

No defence

Sheltering from the credit crisis in so-called defensive stocks could prove a disappointment to investors and a great opportunity for short-sellers, according to Liontrust hedge fund manager James Inglis-Jones.

rtr226iq2Inglis-Jones, who runs a hedge fund for Liontrust and who recently took on the First Income fund after the departure of star manager Jeremy Lang, has short positions in sectors such as tobacco and pharmaceuticals and has recently added more.

"It's an interesting opportunity when something is seen as safe," he told me. "When the company delivers a disappointment the payoff can be pretty good."

from Funds Hub:

Odey spies ‘the death of safety’

By Simon Falush

 

So you thought safe-haven pharmaceuticals and food producers were a safe place to shelter your assets?

 

rtx923rThink again, says Crispin Odey, the well-known hedge fund manager who thrives on a contrarian approach to equity investing. He tells Reuters that defensives could be the next target for short sellers.

 

"I certainly wouldn't own them and they look like they're becoming interesting shorts. It's an interesting bit of the market that people aren't looking at."

from Funds Hub:

A loud and clear call

rtr1y8m4It may not have been a massive surprise, but ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet had an unwelcome message for hedge fund managers today.

The current crisis is, apparently, "a loud and clear call" to roll out regulation to all important market players, "notably hedge funds and credit rating agencies".

For those hedge fund managers who felt, perhaps with a degree of justification, that their industry had been relatively blameless in precipitating the current crisis, that call may have been somewhat quieter and more muffled.

from Funds Hub:

Saving Hendry? Thanks but no thanks, says Hugh

rtr1z9ud1It was always unlikely that a letter of advice was going to change the mind of maverick hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry.

 

And in his latest letter to investors, Hendry has smartly rebuffed any attempt to 'save' him from his bond investments.

 

The letter in question -- Gregor.us's monthly note, entitled "Saving Hugh Hendry" -- praises the Eclectica co-founder and CIO as a "brilliant and colourful" hedge fund manager who saw the coming storm and took cover well in advance.

from Funds Hub:

Staying positive

rtr23yfeThere seems to be an endless wave of bad news hitting the hedge fund industry at the moment -- gates and suspensions, record poor performance, the Bernard Madoff scandal and so forth -- but there are still one or two reasons to be positive.

According to a survey of institutional investors by alternative assets data group Preqin, conducted in January (and therefore after the alleged Madoff fraud came to light), only 8 percent said they were no longer confident about hedge funds and would reduce investments.

By contrast, 26 percent said they would be increasing their allocations this year.