Ron Insana Is Legen...wait for it...dary.

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If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? It’s a perennial challenge that the people who write about finance for a living get from those who are actually doing finance. Another version of it is a twist on an old saw: those who can do finance do, those who can’t, report on it.
Both challenges are more or less fair. Journalists reporting on Wall Street rarely have the skill set and mentality that leads to grand success at trading or investment banking. Many are talented writers and insightful critics. But often great journalism is built upon an attitude of skepticism that can be out of place in the world of dealmakers and traders who prize “conviction.”
But many journalists have at least felt the temptation to step over the line from Wall Street watcher to Wall Street warrior. And on occasion someone does. The latest victim to this perennial temptation is Ron Insana, the sixteen-year veteran of CNBC who is starting Insana Capital Partners Legends Fund.
This morning on Deal Journal Dennis Berman reveals that Insana’s Legends Fund will be structured as a fund-of-funds, and will access the management talents of at least 13 top money managers. SAC Capital Advisors, Renaissance Technologies Corp., Perry Corp. Third Point, Omega Advisors and Icahn Management are among the funds that Legends plans to invest in.
Although it applies to all fund-of-funds, it seems fair enough to ask what added value Insana is bringing to investors if his “strategy” is going to be investing in some of the most well-known hedge funds in the world. The Legends Fund plans to collect a 1.5% annual fee plus another 2.5% placement fee for the initial investment, and will require 24 month lockup. So what do investors get for those fees and the risk and opportunity cost of the lock-up?
Well, according to fund documents Berman looked at, investors will be able to take advantage of a “macroeconomic outlook as guided by Ron Insana.” Without disparaging the acuity of Insan’s outlook, that’s probably not worth the price admission. It seems what’s really being marketed to investors is the opportunity to get in on the returns of some of the biggest names in the hedge fund world with a relatively small investment. Many of the most prominent funds are closed to new investments or require enormous initial investments. You can buy into Insana’s fund for as little as $500,000, and have access to a diversified group of hedge fund returns. You probably couldn’t get Stevie Cohen, the founder of SAC Capital, to even answer your calls with a $500,000 check.
“As any good reporter knows, access can be money in the bank. And here the document is up front about what Insana is offering, saying it capitalizes, in addition to financial analysis, ‘on the long-standing relationships of the Firm’s founder Ron Insana,’ Berman writes.
Berman points out that not everybody is as confident as, well, Insana is about the fund's prospects. "The 16-year CNBC veteran raised some media eyebrows when it was revealed last fall that he was launching the fund. One Dow Jones columnist said the move signaled that “it’s probably time for everyone else to get out” of the hedge-fund business," Berman writes.
That columnist was MarketWatch's David Weidner, who said that Insana's entry into the fund management business was a sign that "the glory days of hedge funds are over."
Insana apparently isn't replying to requests for comments on the Legends Fund. But somewhere we suspect he's reading these journalists carping about his new venture and thinking, "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?"
Access Wall Street: Starring Ron Insana’s Hedge Fund [Deal Journal]

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