One year ago
»» Famous activist investors like Bill Ackman and Dan Loeb faced headwinds with a new court decision that rejected a proposed rule to make it easier for activists to propose directors for companies, according to an Unhedged Commentary by Christopher P. Davis, a partner and head of the investor activism practice at New York law firm Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen.
The situation has eased up a bit since then, Davis wrote in an email this week to AR.
“The results from the 2012 proxy season suggest that there is investor support for precatory (non-binding) proposals calling on boards to amend company bylaws to give shareholders owning at least 3% of outstanding shares for at least 3 years, but not smaller or more recent holders, the right to include a nominee in the company’s proxy statement,” he wrote.
“These precatory proposals put real pressure on boards and could open a less expensive door for ‘accidental activists’ who have patiently held positions in fundamentally sound companies burdened with underperforming leadership to pursue a director’s position to help improve performance and stock price.”
See more Unhedged Commentaries
Five years ago
»» Goldman Sachs, which had spawned a significant portion of the world’s largest hedge funds, began setting up its own fund within the asset management division headed by Raanan Agus and Kenneth Eberts of the principle strategies group. Agus was famously the last employee brought in by Taconic Capital Advisors founder Frank Brosens before the latter’s departure.
GSIP raised a whopping $7 billion at launch later that year. It was reportedly down $1 billion, however, by late 2008. Returns and asset sizes have been tightly-held since then, but the fund did make news earlier this year when it was reportedly one of a number of Goldman arms to cash out $1 billion of Facebook holdings after the company’s IPO. As the fund manages capital for outside investors, it is not part of the wind down of Goldman’s proprietary trading operations.
Goldman spokeswoman Andrea Raphael was not immediately available for comment.
See also: The Goldman Sachs Brand Demystified • Wall Street’s prop traders head to hedge funds
»» Balestra Capital Partners and Lahde Capital Management both reported spectacular performance as a shared investment thesis on the demise of the subprime mortgage market paid off.
Balestra, founded by Jim Melcher, netted 20.98% in June that year to total 36.15% for the year to date, while Andrew Lahde’s U.S. Residential Real Estate Hedge Fund returned 48.4% that June, boosting its year-to-date gain to 85.78%. Both ended the year even higher—Lahde dizzyingly so.
Melcher’s $1.9 billion Balestra is still around, and its full returns are available in the AR database. Lahde is not, but he has made headlines on his own right. In Oct. 2008, he retired in a blaze of glory, thanking "stupid" traders for making him rich and promoting hemp as a source of alternative energy and food.
See more of AR’s coverage of the subprime mortgage market.