Hedge funds' secret weapon is ex-Obama aide

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From Washington to Wall Street

Hedge funds and other Wall Street firms have used an unlikely counselor for the past year: a former top economist for President Barack Obama.

Through a contract with New York City-based consultancy 32 Advisors, Austan Goolsbee has held conference calls most Fridays since February 2013 with employees of large hedge fund firms Fortress Investment Group, York Capital Management, Perella Weinberg Partners, SkyBridge Capital and others.

Those firms and others paying to be on the call get to hear from Goolsbeee on the most important economic and policy issues of the day, such as Federal Reserve moves, the U.S. housing market, bitcoin, high-frequency trading, Chinese growth and the debt ceiling. Goolsbee does not give trade ideas for the hedge funds, but rather they get his big-picture perspective on issues more indirectly related to their investments.