August 16, 2016 |
New Jersey's generous but underfunded public pension system bought billions of dollars' worth of hedge funds in the years after other states began having second thoughts about the risky, high-fee funds. Now it's getting out, also late. Pennsylvania invested billions and laid out hundreds of millions of dollars for hedge-fund fees, starting in the early 2000s. It was a hedge-fund pioneer. "I was open-minded," then-state workers' pension system (SERS) chairman Nicholas Maiale recalled, when he stepped down from the job after Gov. Tom Corbett declined to reappoint him in 2013.
August 9, 2016 |
Shareholder activists are again circling Hill International Inc., the Philadelphia-based construction-management company that built the Comcast Center. On Thursday, Hill International will hold its annual meeting to address, among other things, a vote on whether the publicly held company (symbol: HIL) should nominate three new outside directors. For the second year in a row, Bulldog Investors, an activist hedge fund based in Saddle Brook, N.J., has nominated outsiders for posts on the Hill board.
March 13, 2016 |
The $52-billion-asset Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System lost money last year, trailing the performance of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey state worker pension investment returns for 2015, according to a report the system released Friday. PSERS reported losing 1.8 percent for the 12 months ended Dec. 31. SERS , the Pennsylvania state workers' fund, last month reported a gain of 0.5 percent for 2015. NJDI , the New Jersey Division of Investment, reported a gain of 0.6 percent.
March 8, 2016 |
It's not enough that hedge fund managers have lately pushed DuPont, Pep Boys, Mondelez (Nabisco), and other big old-line Philadelphia-area employers to sell, slim, or shut operations here. The hedgies are now chasing the region's handful of successful tech companies. Qlik Technologies, a Radnor-based, 2,000-worker data-visualization software company that helps clients sort masses of customer data, has been targeted by veteran corporate raider Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corp.
March 7, 2016
Wharton alum Michael Steinhardt ran a hedge fund, Steinhardt Partners L.P., for 29 years and financed his philanthropic efforts through it. Ahead of a speech here Wednesday, we asked him about retirement, his support of Jewish life, and his views on the markets today. "It all started at my bar mitzvah . My father divorced my mom. He came around when I turned 13 and gave me shares of two different companies. He said, 'Here, this is your present.' It was $5,300 worth of shares in two companies - Penn Dixie Cement and Columbia Gas. From that point on, I was totally involved in the markets.
March 1, 2016
When the Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement hired Apollo Global Management to invest tens of millions of dollars in junk bonds in 2013, the fund's overseers said they were making a careful bet. Sure, the bond issuers were risky-looking private companies. But the city could collect interest they paid as cash each year, unlike with most hedge funds and "alternative assets. " Apollo's founders include Josh Harris , lead owner of the NBA's woeful 76ers . Which inspired the inevitable cracks about the woefully underfunded pension system needing a rebuilding year.
February 10, 2016
By Shawn McCoy Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump have little in common, but they have one point of agreement: to make hedge funds the political punching bag of 2016. Democratic socialist Sanders offers an "average folk vs. hedge-fund manager" dichotomy at his rallies. Republican Trump claims, "The hedge-fund guys are getting away with murder. They make a fortune, they pay no tax. It's ridiculous, OK?" Democrat Clinton, whose daughter is married to a hedge-fund manager, complains, "There's something wrong when hedge-fund managers pay less in taxes than nurses or the truckers I saw on I-80.
February 10, 2016
By Jim Lardner and Michael Kink Presidential candidates from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump have condemned their tax-dodging. Investors have deplored their outlandish fees and poor returns. Showtime has made one of them the arch-villain of its new series Billions . Hedge-fund managers are finally getting the scrutiny they deserve for a range of shadowy practices that cannibalize the real economy and aggravate the problem of extreme and growing economic inequality. In theory, hedge funds are a way for wealthy and sophisticated investors to place high-risk bets in search of above-market returns.
January 27, 2016
By Dean Baker According to their acolytes, the rich are great innovators and job creators. But they haven't lived up to that billing in this century, as both job growth and overall economic growth have been extraordinarily weak since 2000. If their benefit to the economy is in doubt, no one can dispute that the wealthy are world-class tax avoiders. The New York Times recently reported that the country's 400 wealthiest families paid an average of just 17 percent of their income in taxes.
January 26, 2016 |
Roughly 15 years ago, I wrote an article about a notable Wall Street figure and his secretive investment fund that never, ever lost money. His name was Bernard Madoff. The dot.com bubble had just burst, yet Madoff's hedge fund earned 10 percent that year, without missing a beat. In May 2001, I wrote about some red flags surrounding Madoff's hedge fund: eerily consistent returns and no losing years even when the stock market crashed, no due diligence allowed by investors, no independent brokerage statements, and odd threats that investors could not return to the fund once they had cashed out. Madoff himself gave me a brief interview by phone, then metaphorically patted me on the head and told me to go away.