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  Friday, 9 Jan 2015 | 12:46 PM ET

Former hedgie Steyer eyes Senate run in California

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
Tom Steyer
Jahi Chikwendiu | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge fund manager who became a major environmental activist and poltical booster, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate, according to multiple reports.

Steyer would run for the seat in California vacated by Democrat Barbara Boxer, who announced this week she would not seek re-election in 2016. Others who could run include California Democrats Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor; Kamala Harris, the attorney general, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

"My sense is that he will take a look at it and consider it over the next few days or so," a person close to Steyer told at least three separate media outlets.

A spokesman for Steyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read MoreHave Mercer! The money man who helped the GOP win

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  Thursday, 8 Jan 2015 | 3:23 PM ET

Meet the most powerful woman in hedge funds

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
Leda Braga, BlueCrest Capital Management
Source: BlueCrest
Leda Braga, BlueCrest Capital Management

The hedge fund industry has two new massive independent money managers to start 2015.

Leda Braga formally started Systematica Investments this month after years under prominent European hedge fund firm BlueCrest Capital Management. Geneva-based Braga manages the same amount she ran at BlueCrest, $8.5 billion, easily making her the most powerful female hedge fund manager in the world in charge of her own shop.

David Warren also completed his transition out of Brevan Howard Asset Management, another European hedge fund giant. Warren's newly independent firm, New York-based DW Partners, starts with more than $6 billion in assets.

As stand-alone firms, Systematica and DW instantly rank among the top 100 hedge fund managers by assets. By comparison, Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management runs $18.3 billion, Dan Loeb's Third Point manages $16.5 billion and Larry Robbins' Glenview Capital Management controlled about $10 billion as of late last year.

»Read more
  Thursday, 8 Jan 2015 | 1:31 PM ET

Here's a trend that will be a surprise this year

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

The dividend play was supposed to be long gone by now, the victim of a rising rate environment and companies' desire to use cash to grow their businesses rather than just return it to investors.

Yes, well, about that: An expected spike in rates never happened in 2014, and with Wall Street anticipating a volatile year ahead, dividends are likely to remain in vogue.

When all was said and done, issuance was virtually unchanged on an annualized basis: $54.7 billion in 2014 vs. $54.8 billion the previous year, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices data. In fact, the end result may well have been an increase if not for a 5.6 percent quarterly drop in the year's final three months, spurred largely by the collapse in oil prices.

Looking ahead, strategists see another fertile year.

"2015 should easily set another record for cash dividend payments," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at S&P Jones Indices, said in a statement accompanying the data.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 7 Jan 2015 | 12:39 PM ET

Guggenheim hedge fund stumbles, layoffs follow

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
Guggenheim Partners home page
Source: Guggenheim Partners
Guggenheim Partners home page

Guggenheim Partners has slashed personnel at an internal hedge fund that hasn't lived up to big expectations.

The $220 billion asset management and investment banking firm cut at least eight senior employees in December at Guggenheim Global Trading, a roughly $600 million hedge fund unit based in the New York suburb of Purchase.

The layoffs come amid mediocre performance and little success attracting external clients at GGT, which is led by RBC and Guggenheim fund of hedge funds veterans Loren Katzovitz and Patrick Hughes. There have even been discussions about Guggenheim shedding the unit by selling its majority stake to GGT's senior executives, according to one account.

A spokesman for Guggenheim declined to comment.

Read MoreHedge fund robots are crushing their human rivals

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  Wednesday, 7 Jan 2015 | 10:53 AM ET

Ackman: After HLF, I'm done with 'public shorts'

Posted By: Jeff Cox

Wall Street may not have Bill Ackman to kick around anymore.

At least, more specifically, the Street likely won't be able to roast the high-profile activist investor for his highly publicized bets against companies.

Following a three-year period in which Ackman has had to defend his aggressive short against Herbalife—a battle that has featured not only high-pitched fights against the firm itself but also an epic slugfest against fellow activist Carl Icahn live on CNBC—he said this part of his career is probably over.

The head of $18.3 billion Pershing Square Capital Management, appearing Wednesday morning on CNBC, responded with an ominous declaration to a question about whether he has a new short in his portfolio .

»Read more
  Monday, 5 Jan 2015 | 2:49 PM ET

For JPMorgan, breaking up could be hard to do

Posted By: Jeff Cox
Pedestrians pass in front of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters building in New York.
Ron Antonelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Pedestrians pass in front of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters building in New York.

The JPMorgan Chase breakup drumbeat is starting up again on Wall Street.

With the largest holding company in the U.S. by assets ($2.53 trillion) in regulator crosshairs, industry analysts are wondering how long it will be before the company splits up and how a breakup would occur.

The bank itself has been mum about its future in that regard, but that hasn't stopped a growing swell of speculation about what will happen.

Sparking the latest round was the Federal Reserve's move to make JPM effectively hold 12 percent of capital as a required buffer against the type of systemic breakdown that precipitated the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Through stress tests and additional measures, the Fed and other regulators are looking to prevent another "too big to fail" event.

But the capital requirement at least on its face is greater than its peers, increasing anticipation that the anti-JPMorgan crowd may finally get its wish and see the firm split into as few as two or as many as four pieces.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 6 Jan 2015 | 7:41 AM ET

Son charged with killing NYC money manager

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
Thomas Gilbert Sr.
Source: NBC News
Thomas Gilbert Sr.

The son of Thomas Gilbert Sr. is accused of killing the 70-year-old New York hedge fund manager in a dispute over his allowance, police said.

Thomas Gilbert Jr., 30, was arrested Monday on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon, police told The Associated Press.

The elder Gilbert was a pedigreed Wall Street veteran who spent years as a private equity investor, the CEO of an online teacher education company and, most recently, a hedge fund manager.

»Read more
  Monday, 5 Jan 2015 | 12:51 PM ET

Tudor Jones shutting down a fund; here's why

Posted By: Kate Kelly

Hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones is closing the Tudor Futures Fund, the first hedge fund he ever opened, in order to focus on his far larger flagship fund, Tudor B.V.I. Global, according to people familiar with the matter,

In a recent letter to investors, the respected trader from the so-called macro school, which handles everything from stocks to commodities and currencies, noted that the $300 million Tudor Futures Fund was taking a disproportionate amount of his money-management company's resources for the amount of money it managed. Tudor Investment manages a total of roughly $12 billion, said someone with knowledge of the matter.

The erstwhile futures fund's assets will be returned to investors, said the people familiar with the matter, one of whom noted that since its founding in 1984, it had never had a down year.

»Read more
  Monday, 5 Jan 2015 | 11:16 AM ET

Morgan Stanley: Data theft hits 10% of clients

Morgan Stanley said Monday that it terminated an employee for stealing wealth management data from up to 10 percent of its clients, or about 350,000 people.

The bank said there is thus far "no evidence of any economic loss" for its clients. Still, data for about 900 clients—including account names and numbers—were briefly posted online, the firm said.

Morgan Stanley is the second-largest wealth manager in the country and the sixth-largest holding company, with assets of $814.5 billion. The company said the information did not include Social Security numbers or passwords.

"Morgan Stanley takes extremely seriously its responsibility to safeguard client data, and is working with the appropriate authorities to conduct and conclude a thorough investigation of this incident," the company said in a release.

The company's shares were off more than 3 percent in morning trade on a day when bank stocks overall were off 2.2 percent, as measured by the KBW Bank Index.

A source familiar with the matter said the missing information was discovered Dec. 27 via regular scans Morgan Stanley performers on suspicious web sites, and the firm was able to trace the breach back to the employee in 24 hours. The sourced added that the information was displayed only for a brief period, though there were an unspecified number of hits on the site.

The firm believes the employee wanted to sell the information, which included names, account numbers, states of residence, phone numbers, asset values and some transaction information. Clients affected by the breach will get new account numbers and credit monitoring services.

However, that may not be enough to stop similar attacks, particular at firms as large and interconnected as Morgan Stanley.

"Until there are real ramifications, until there's some type of financial penalty, whether through regulators or a private cause of action, then I can't imagine this is going to move the needle in change of behavior among these firms," said Brian Hamburger, president and CEO at MarketCounsel, a regulatory compliance and consulting firm.

The idea that an associate at a firm would have access to so many records should cause alarm bells both for the firm and its clients, he added.

"Whether it's Morgan Stanley or a local wealth management firm, they should be asking what safeguards are in place and who has access to my data," Hamburger said. "The large, global financial powerhouses that have made their way to this industry are not prepared for the level of sensitivity that wealth management clients require."

Click here for the latest on the markets.

»Read more
  Monday, 5 Jan 2015 | 10:43 AM ET

Hedge fund robots are crushing their human rivals

Posted By: Lawrence Delevingne
David Winton Harding, founder and president of Winton Capital Management
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
David Winton Harding, founder and president of Winton Capital Management

The hedge fund robots are winning again.

That's a key lesson from 2014, when computer algorithm-led investing produced stellar returns, beating most gut-driven human managers and dramatically recovering most of their losses from 2011, 2012 and 2013.

So-called managed futures funds—which trade the futures contracts of stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities—gained an average of 15.2 percent last year, according to Societe Generale unit Newedge. That beat virtually every other hedge fund strategy, including stock pickers, beat-up bond vultures and macroeconomic prognosticators. The average hedge fund gained in the low-to-mid single digits for 2014, according to HedgeFund Intelligence.

The biggest gains came at funds that practiced a "trend following" strategy. Those managers—who use computer models to bet on price movements in either direction and often perform best when clear patterns emerge over several months—gained an average of 19 percent, according to Newedge.

Several of the largest funds in the industry, including those managed by $3.8 billion Cantab Capital Partners, $4.7 billion Aspect Capital and $13.4 billion Man AHL, gained more than 30 percent. Funds run by Two Sigma, Winton Capital, Campbell and others also gained double digits.

"We've seen significant moves in a number of markets, and trend followers have been able to take advantage of them," said James Skeggs, global head of the Newedge prime brokerage alternative investment advisory group.

»Read more

About NetNet

  • NetNet is where you'll find the low-down and the high jinks of Wall Street. It's the place for insider stories, trader gossip, and tales of the foibles of the moneyed crowd and the culture of finance.Wall Street news and commentary served fresh all day long.

 

  • Jeff Cox is finance editor for CNBC.com.

  • Lawrence Develingne

    Lawrence Delevingne is the ‘Big Money’ enterprise reporter for CNBC.com and NetNet.

  • Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of "Fast Money."

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