Earlier today it was noted that, to the surprise of many, Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn had refrained from asking questions or dialing in and making sudden outbursts during this morning’s conference call to discuss Herbalife’s fourth quarter earnings. Obviously this came as a shock on account of Ackman and Icahn taking many opportunities in the past to share their feelings re: the company and each other. And while it’s true both men personally held their tongue’s today, according to Pershing Square, one of its analysts had planned to ask questions on Bill’s and the hedge fund’s behalf but was shot down. Read more »
oh no they di’int
Let’s Get One Thing Straight: Ken Griffin Only Accuses People Of Attempting to Gain A Competitive Advantage By Gaining Access To Proprietary Trading Strategies– He Does Not Get Accused!By Bess Levin
Back in October, a former Citadel employee, Yihao “Ben” Pu, was arrested and charged with “stealing trade secrets” from Ken Griffin (by “copying company data onto a removable storage device,” and then attempting to sell it to Teza Technologies AKA the firm a bunch of ex-Citadel guys tried to join in 2009 before being sued for doing so by Griffin, as well as the the shop a former Goldman programmer, Sergey Aleynikov, went to jail for after giving it proprietary GS code). Now, because apparently people just can’t help themselves, KG has been forced to levy another allegation of theft against some former employees who he believes took a piece of his property when they left for high-frequency trading firm Jump Trading. Does Griffin have actual evidence that they swindled him? No, not exactly. But he’s got a hunch, and that hunch is based on the fact that since 2005, when people from Citadel’s “tactical trading group” started leaving for Jump, “some of the strategies” employed by the TTG “have become less profitable” and are “behaving in a way consistent with their having been copied by rivals.”
So what KG would like a court to do is force Jump to turn over “personnel documents, strategy and trading records, and source code,” which will prove him right and the Citadel defectors to be the pillagers he knows they are. Evidence in hand, Griffin will then sue Jump and everyone named Ken Griffin will go home happy. The only issue that needs to be worked out is Jump Trading’s cooperation, which so far is proving difficult to obtain. In fact, the firm is being downright unhelpful and not only that? Its legal team has accused Ken of being the thief, or at least trying to be. That’s right: the way JT sees it, Citadel’s new algorithm development system is a two-step process that goes something like this:
Step 1: Steal successful algorithms from rival firm.
Step 2: Use them. Read more »
Is that how it is? Read more »
“Moody’s Investors Service downgraded six European nations and became the first ratings firm to warn the U.K.’s rating could be at risk, citing the area’s weakening ability to implement measures aimed at reducing debt…Where Moody’s did deviate from recent actions by other ratings firms was in changing the outlook for the U.K. There had been no indication the U.K.’s outlook was necessarily in danger based on how other ratings firms view U.K.’s debt. Both S&P and Fitch have a stable outlook on their U.K. rating.” [WSJ]
“Deutsche bonus structure for Associates-Directors was revealed today:
*Up to eur50, all cash.
*Eur50-100, 70% deferred. Yes…
*Eur100+, 85% deferred.”
Earlier this week, a Dartmouth College undergraduate wrote an opinion piece for the student newspaper in which he recounted “vomiting in my mouth” after hearing an anecdote about Bridgewater Associates supposedly paying a girl $100 to write an essay about why she chose not to participate in their summer recruitment session. That the hedge fund would be so aggressive in its attempts to convince Dartmouth’s best and brightest to waste their potential “manipulating capital” and “perpetuating class-based systems of power and dominance” sickened him, as did the fact that, as he sees it, Dartmouth has become a “vocational school for investment bankers” and those learning the skills necessary to work at “faceless hedge funds.” A ravenous reader of The Dartmouth, alum and Bridgewater co-CEO Greg Jensen saw the op-ed and today chose to take the young man to task re “impressions,” via a letter to the editor. Read more »
In these uncertain times, when banks are beating expectations by reporting $9 billion losses, and everyone is girding their loins for layoffs, certain sacrifices must be made. Morgan Stanley is tracking BlackBerry usage, encouraging employees to keep it to a minimum. Employees at one unnamed firm are giving up expensed lunches and taking the subway. RBS has gone to low flow toilets. Most people are going along with the belt-tightening without much grumbling, as it could help save at least one colleague or two from getting canned and none of the measures have come off as too out there. Having said that, apparently Goldman Sachs has gone way over the line. Read more »
John Carney says yes, by running around with Dan Sontag, her sworn enemy. Read more »
As you may have heard, Steve Cohen recently put in a bid for a minority stake with the Mets. Should he be successful, the SAC Capital founder’s partial ownership will please a great many people- the organization, which needs the money, the players, who need the discipline, the SAC employees, who will have the honor of taking turns filling in for Mr. Met when his performance is deemed shit and most of all, the fans, who stand to benefit the most from Steve’s leadership, as you don’t win rings without having a guy around who will light a fire under everyone’s ass. It’d unquestionably be a win-win situation for all. And yet.
A coupla guys named Brad and Brett are worried. Worried that Steve will lose focus. Worried that he won’t be able to handle owning a Major League Baseball team and running SAC Capital.
“Owning a team can be a function of ego, it is very high-profile, and it could prove to be a distraction,” says Brad R. Balter, head of Boston-based Balter Capital Management, which farms out money to hedge funds. “As an investor, I have to consider that.” Words to bear in mind for Steven A. Cohen, the billionaire hedge fund manager who is bidding for a minority stake in the New York Mets. Investors such as Balter are watchful for signs fund managers have become less attentive to their day jobs. “We don’t begrudge managers getting rich, but we want to invest with people who are motivated and are concentrating full-time on managing money,” says Brett H. Barth, a partner at New York-based BBR Partners, which invests in hedge funds.
The little brains on Brad and Brett– most likely not SAC investors though they’d kill a man in cold blood for the privilege– seem to think that it takes constant monitoring of all markets as well as an extreme attention to detail to run an ultra successful hedge fund manager, and that were Steve to start going out on school nights and not put in 100 hours a week keeping up with his stocks, that the whole thing would fall apart. What they fail to get? Is just how easy this is for SC. Trading these markets? It’s a fucking joke to him. He could do it from the dugout during the 8th inning of a Johan Santana no hitter, whereas Brad and Brett could be given could be given an order to cover a short position and all they’d do is fumble around and fuck it up. Read more »
Hank Paulson Apparently Still Somewhat Defensive About Criticism Over Taking Ski Vacation While Wall Street Burned To The GroundBy Bess Levin
As you may know, in December 2008, when things were getting really fun on Wall Street and Ken Lewis was calling him in a fit of drunk tears to ask if it was too late to pull out of the whole BAC-MER thing, Hank Paulson was in Aspen was hitting the slopes. No big deal the former Treasury Secretary figured, telling Congress as much during his testimony in 2009. Read more »