Hedgemedia's AltInvestment Global News Round-Up: Recovery ahead for financial stocks, Maverick partner tells GAIM

Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital made roughly 50 per cent of its 2007 returns by shorting financial stocks, but the firm expects the sector to reverse course this year. In his keynote address at the GAIM conference at Boca Raton, Florida, limited partner Steven Galbraith said that financial services companies are probably a 'quarter away from the bottom'. The USD12bn firm is now 'cautious' as regards emerging markets, which are 'priced to parity with developed markets' despite higher risks.

Fairfield Greenwich Group has begun marketing third-party hedge funds and private equity. Via newly-launched Fairfield Capital Partners, the USD16bn New York hedge fund manager is currently raising funds for three big groups managing billions of dollars in mainly systematic trading, activist investing and discretionary global long/short strategies. At the same time, it has shuttered its Fairfield Parabolic Partners Fund, which managed US82m and was down 5 per cent.
  
Financial Risk Management has started providing seed capital to new managers. Clive Peggram will lead the new unit, FRM Capital Advisors, and will build a team of investment professionals to work under him. Peggram previously worked for AIG Financial and Comvest, a venture capital company he co-founded. Neil Mason, formerly of BlueCrest Capital Management, and Patric de Gentile-Williams, who helped establish London incubator PCE Investors, are also on board.

Bank of New Mellon has completed its acquisition, announced in November, of Rio de Janeiro-based ARX Capital Management, the terms of which were not disclosed. ARX manages USD2.8bn in multi-strategy, long/short and long-only portfolios.

Ritchie Capital was given a green light to offload 890 life insurance policies to ABN Amro Holding for USD396m and 182 to a Bear Stearns subsidiary for USD56.5m. Simultaneously, New York bankruptcy judge Burton Lifland gave the Illinois manager until April 15 to file liquidation plans for Ritchie Risk-Linked Strategies Trading I and II, which held these portfolios. Ritchie bought the policies three years ago from Coventry First for more than USD750m and has since sued Coventry for selling policies that were 'non-conforming' and have since lost value.

Fund-of-funds manager Gottex Fund Management has hired Brian Fullerton as managing director and research committee member. Fullerton previously was investment chief at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers.

Fund administrator Caledonian Global Fund Services has named John Peterson as head of US sales and marketing, based in Chicago. Peterson has previously worked in capital-raising and investor relations at a hedge fund and also at an undisclosed fund administration firm in Chicago. Cayman-based Caledonian has USD15bn of assets under administration and also has an operation in the Isle of Man.

The Big Apple is the biggest global centre for private equity activity, at least in terms of employment. According to Private Equity Intelligence, New York is home to 16 per cent, or 13,200, of the world's private equity professionals. Overall, the US is the top private equity jurisdiction with 45,000 staff, roughly 60 per cent of the global total of 76,700. London ranks second with 7,100 followed by the San Francisco/Bay area, where there are 4,500.

Institutions are sticking to their investments in private equity real estate funds despite upheaval in the credit markets. An estimated USD79bn was raised last year through 126 private equity real estate funds last year, Private Equity Intelligence will report, although the sector did experience a slowdown during the second half of the year.

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