To anyone paying the slightest bit of attention, which surely includes the only people who really matter (shareholders, clients, potential clients, counterparties, employees, etc.), it will come as no surprise that Och-Ziff Capital Management might want to change its name. For everyone else, allow us to boil it down to a bribery scandal running the length of breadth of Africa, some slightly less-than-“consistent” performance and the firm’s founder and namesake all but trying to blow the place up on his way out the door. Still, CNBC thought it appropriate to devote six-and-a-half minutes of its viewers’ time to letting CEO Rob Shafir lay it out.
It’s really the final touch to a series of changes and events that have happened at this firm, Leslie…. The firm went through a difficult period. We had a regulatory issue in 2014 which we settled with the government in 2016, and I think events like that can destroy firms, or firms can learn from those things and have the ability and the wherewithal to change, and I think we’ve made material changes to our firm…. When you put it all together, and you put the things behind us that we needed to put behind us, and really have the new set of leaders in the seats, we felt that, to mark the moment, it made sense to change our name.
To crib a cultural reference that’s as blindingly obvious as the above, thanks, uh, Captain Obvious, although we do appreciate what qualifies as candor and honesty coming from someone in Shafir’s position. After all, he could have regaled us with a long and untrue tale about how the change had nothing at all to do with $400 million fines or a brand that had become radioactive or Dan Och at all.
Stiil, in his chat with Leslie Picker, Shafir didn’t get around to the real question on everyone’s mind: How is “Sculptor Capital Management” the best name tens of thousands of dollars worth of branding consultants could buy? He might as well have just let Steve Cohen’s guys pick one (I’m thinking Park57 Trapezoidal Management), taken the “heaviest thing whose name is still available” route (apparently plutonium, remarkably) or roll with whatever popped out the Hedge Fund Name Generator.