Last year is one that a lot of us would like to forget but perhaps no one was happier to see it go than Dan Och.
Let’s review: Och-Ziff Capital Management spent essentially the whole of 2016 doing two things. First, it was losing money, enough to force it to go fee-break in hand to investors and sell its private jet. Second, it was begging the Justice Department not to make it plead guilty to bribing essentially all of Africa for all manner of things, including but not limited to mandates from sovereign wealth funds, mining rights and rigging elections. It eventually worked, since Loretta Lynch only made an Och-Ziff affiliate plead guilty while extracting twice what Och-Ziff set aside to pay for it. This, however, is only a drop in the bucket compared to what Och-Ziff’s clients are extracting.
On Tuesday Och-Ziff, one of a handful of publicly traded alternative-investment firms, disclosed that assets had fallen by $3.6 billion in December, and overall assets had fallen from $45.5 billion at the start of 2016 to $35.5 billion today. The firm did not disclose how much of that $3.6 billion drop was in the form of redemptions, although its main fund gained 0.72% in December, suggesting the decline did not come from performance losses.
Whatever. Auld acquaintance be forgot and all that. It’s a New Year, and all Danny’s interested in is the old cup o’kindness. For auld lang syne.
Several investors who have spoken with Institutional Investor spoke highly of the firm’s handling of the investigation and, for those who dealt exclusively with Och and the team in the U.S., said that the behavior described by the U.S. government and SEC was not in keeping with their experience with the firm.