Red Kite

  • 08 Feb 2007 at 2:27 PM
  • Amaranth

Red Kite: Will It Or Won’t It?

redkite.jpgJust when the rumor mill on Red Kite seemed to have finally ground to a halt, smashing the last grains of truth and falsehood into the finest of over-analyzed and undifferentiated meal, the Wall Street Journal‘s “Heard on the Street” column blows new wind into the sails.
A lot of it is a rehashing of what you’ve probably already heard before. Red Kite reportedly suffered losses as high as 20% in just the first few weeks of 2007. Investors have been asked to extend the notice period for redemptions from 15 to 45 days. And, of course, Red Kite won’t comment on the record about any of it but a friendly, anonymous trader (who may or may not be exactly the same people at Red Kite who won’t comment on the record) is talking up the firm’s successful exit from its worst trading positions. This is meant to make the market feel more confident that Red Kite isn’t headed for a meltdown.
But our memories are long enough to remember that there were a couple of days when Amaranth was in a similar position. People were whispering, and then shouting, about huge losses from bets on one commodity (natural gas futures then, copper now). Others were reassuring us that the firm wouldn’t collapse. After all, the market was showing an appetite for Amaranth’s positions and there seemed a possibility that the fund could be salvaged.
Keeping in mind that at this point we still know very little about what’s happening at Red Kite, the main difference between the Kiters and the Amaranthers seems to be in how the two funds handled the meltdown. Amaranth founder Nick Maounis decided to let the investors bail out, letting go even those who were contractually bound not to redeem for several more weeks or months. Red Kite is apparently moving in the opposite direction, seeking to stem redemptions by extending the notice period.
So here’s the question: when a fund starts taking losses, who would you rather have holding onto your money: Amaranth’s Nick Maounis or Red Kiters Michael Farmer and David Lilley?

Hedge Fund’s Heavy Metal
[Wall Street Journal]