Looking back on a new Bridgewater fund, Steve Cohen's disappointing art sale

By Rob Copeland

Tue Dec 11, 2012

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Absolute Return also revisits Highbridge cutting staff in a tough year.

One year ago
>> Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund firm in the world, pushed for even more assets with a new daily liquidity version of its popular leveraged-beta All Weather Strategy.

The new fund, dubbed Bridgewater All Weather Portfolio III, was said to be aimed at institutional clients who wanted to invest their corporate defined contribution plans while constantly shifting asset allocations towards a target retirement date. Returns for that exact fund were not immediately available--Bridgewater spokesman Parag Shah did not respond to an inquiry--but the original All Weather 12% strategy is up 16.3% this year through the end of November (see full data here), compared with a 2.33% increase for the Absolute Return Macro Index.

As for assets, Bridgewater's most recent public filings (last updated in October) indicate that All Weather Portfolio III manages just $83.76 million, a tiny sliver of the firm's overall $130 billion in assets ($77.2 billion of which is in hedge funds).

See also: Bridgewater's long macro play: Long gold, oil and the Euro

>> The J.P. Morgan-owned Highbridge Capital Management let go at least three senior executives and three analysts, including a handful who worked on its struggling long/short equities fund run by Alec McAree.

Then-running $1.8 billion, the fund ended 2011 down 12.64%, compared with a 2.49% median loss for the Absolute Return U.S. Equity Index. The Highbridge fund has since partially rebounded and is up 9.91% this year through the end of November, according to figures from HSBC Private Bank. That's above the benchmark, but assets are down to $950 million.

Highbridge's $4.9 billion multistrategy Highbridge Capital fund has performed even better; it is up 9.63% this year through the end of November.

See also: Ex-Highbridge man readies long/short fund focusing on Korean and Japanese equities

Five years ago
>> SAC Capital Advisors founder Steve Cohen was stymied by more than the Feds, as he was said to be unimpressed by the $5.2 million his Willem de Koonig painting fetched at a Manhattan auction.

The momentary disappointment did not stop his love for expensive art, which he sometimes shares with the public for free, and sometimes displays despite questionable taste (see: a formaldehyde shark) in his Stamford, Conn., offices. Earlier this year, he was named to the top ten list of the world's most active collectors. More recently, however, links to insider trading reportedly kept him from attending the gala Art Basel Miami Beach, where he has traditionally been a big spender.

External spokesman Jonathan Gasthalter declined to comment.

See also: SAC's assets increased despite indictments - Steve Cohen acquires a Marilyn - Cohen goes art shopping

ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H

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