One year ago
»» Stark Investments, the Wisconsin multistrategy firm, had suffered a 50% drop in assets over the previous year, felled by a redemption run that began in mid-2008. The firm’s assets dropped to $3 billion from $6 billion at the beginning of 2010, making it one of the biggest percentage losers in AR’s biannual Billion Dollar Club survey (Stark managed as much as $14.45 billion in mid-2008).
The past year has not been much kinder, though the speed of the firm's asset decline appears to have tapered off. Continued redemptions related to liquidated funds have now pushed the firm’s assets to $2.4 billion. Moreover, its flagship fund lost 5.16% last year, compared with a 0.82% rise for the AR Multistrategy Index. The fund has since gained about 7% for the year through March 23, according to a person familiar with the returns.
Stark recently launched a new mortgage bond fund, according to the person, and the firm hopes to raise $100 million by the end of April for the strategy, which invests in U.S. and foreign residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities.
Stark declined to comment.
Five years ago
»» Hedge fund titans of the GOP persuasion flocked to former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Carl Icahn, Paul Tudor Jones and T. Boone Pickens were among those who contributed the maximum allowable, $2,100, to Giuliani’s exploratory committee. His campaign eventually fizzled out after Giuliani sat out several crucial early primaries and lost a big wager that Florida would propel him to the front of the pack.
Jones is now a major supporter of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s candidacy. While Pickens has not publicly backed a candidate, he has a long history of giving to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has since dropped out of the race. Icahn threw his weight behind Romney, but told FOX Business earlier this year that he expected any Republican to lose to incumbent President Barack Obama.
See more from the 2008 race: America vs. hedge funds • Divided they stand • “Show me the bundlers,” say presidential candidates
»» Brian Hunter, the energy trader whose massive misplaced bets on natural gas led to the epic collapse of $9.2 billion Amaranth Advisors, formed a new hedge fund firm, Solengo Capital.
Just a few months later, Solengo was under existential threat when Hunter had to fight back against charges from regulators that he had manipulated energy markets. In swooped Peak Ridge Capital at the end of 2007, acquiring Solengo’s assets and hiring Hunter as a consultant. With Hunter’s assistance, Peak Ridge’s commodities fund was up more than 200% in the first half of 2008.
Hunter left Peak Ridge shortly thereafter, and stayed out of the spotlight until last year, when he was fined $30 million by U.S. regulators for illegally manipulating natural gas prices during his time at Amaranth.
Peak Ridge and Hunter were not available for comment.