John Paulson

As Paulson and Co employees, clients, and people named John Paulson do not need to be told, the past year and half has not been the most joyous of times for the hedge fund giant. After making billions shorting subprime mortgages, the firm ended 2011 down 55 percent, was down 16 percent through the first half of 2012, and as of July saw assets under management decline 44.9 percent to $21 billion from $38.1 billion, due to a combination of unfortunate performance and redemptions by investors so angry at the fund that they’ve felt the need to repeatedly tell anyone who will listen that parting ways with P&C was among the best if not the best decision they’ve ever made. One investor that hasn’t had to consider voicing its unhappiness to the press or even worry about losing money at all? The 92nd Street Y. Last November Paulson guaranteed that he would personally cover their losses, whatever they turned out to be, come year-end. And the generosity did not stop there: for this one investor only, Paulson offered his services pro-bono, waiving all fees. So while he probably didn’t expect representatives of the Y to rent a skywriting plane to proclaim their love and appreciation for him over midtown, lobby the city of New York to get 92nd renamed Paulson Street, or have his face tattooed to their chests, he probably also figured they wouldn’t turn around and hit him the mother of all slaps in the face. Read more »

As does “John Paulson’s Central Park.” Or simply: “Paulson Park.” Or, at the very least, some kind of life-size bronze statue, possibly inspired by his most famous photo-shoot. He’d never explicitly ask for it, so let’s make something happen. 1) Because he’s been really quite generous and 2) This year’s been tough. We all need our pick-me-ups. Read more »

“I couldn’t even read the whole application,” he said to guffaws from several hundred young Jewish professionals gathered sipping on spirits and kosher wine at event space Chelsea Pearl to hear his advice on how to make it in finance. “I did review part of the application, about 40 pages [out of 500], and the information we provided doesn’t make any sesne to me. How could it possibly make sense to the SEC? It’s a complete waste of time,” he added. “They don’t know what they’re looking for, the just asked for everything in every possible way…I don’t believe the Dodd-Frank law is a positive piece of legislation,” he said dryly, understating his distaste. “I ordered the bill; there are 2,000 pages. I couldn’t read the table of contents. I don’t know anyone who has read it. I think it has retarded the recovery…it’s complete gobbledygook.” [AR]

“John Paulson, the billionaire hedge- fund manager coming off record losses in 2011, reported increases in most of his funds in August as rising stock markets lifted the value of holdings, according to two people briefed on the returns. Paulson’s Gold Fund led gains with an 11 percent jump in August, which reduced losses this year to 15 percent, said the people, asking not to be named because the information is private. The Advantage funds, which seek to profit from corporate events such as takeovers and bankruptcies, and Paulson Enhanced, which aims to make money from companies involved in mergers, also rose last month.” [Bloomberg]

Some of the questions focused on Mr. Paulson’s flagship fund’s performance, which he admitted was disappointing, though the tone of the call wasn’t “agitated or aggressive, even though some people were frustrated,” said a person familiar with the discussion. One person asked Mr. Paulson for a timeline of how long it would take to turn things around. He declined to specify a timeline, but said his objective was to win back the losses the fund had suffered. Mr. Paulson said the fund didn’t need a broad market rally. Instead, he noted, some specific investments would need to perform better.  [WSJ, related]

Citigroup’s private bank is pulling about $500 million from Paulson & Co., the hedge fund run by billionaire John Paulson seeking to reverse record losses in 2011, according to two people familiar with the matter. The private bank is redeeming from Paulson’s Advantage Fund and Advantage Plus Fund, said the people who asked not to be identified because the information is private…Citigroup’s private bank in May advised clients not to add money to the Paulson funds, a person familiar with the matter said at the time. [Bloomberg]

Was 2011 a very kind year to John Paulson? No, it was not. Is 2012 shaping up to be any different? Not really, no. His proclamation that last year’s losses were but an “aberration” has not exactly been backed up by the fact that AP was down 16 percent through June.  A few clients have not only quit the fund but told anybody who will listen that leaving was one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. Also not great is the fact that assets under management have declined 44.9 percent to $21 billion from $38.1 billion, due to a combination of unfortunate performance and redemptions. Happily, though, there is a silver lining that perhaps few people have thought of, namely that John Paulson’s got mucho of his own dinero in the firm and he hasn’t given up on the place yet. Read more »