The Hedge Fund Research that Grassley and Slaughter Love to Hate

December 18, 2013   Jan Alexander

Hedge funds have turned to Washington political intelligence shops to give them an edge. But where's the line between insight and inside information?

   
   


Leslie Alperstein is having a very good year.

Alperstein is president of Washington Analysis, a political research firm in the nation's capital. His offices are located in a gray office tower on Connecticut Avenue, one and a half blocks north of the K Street power corridor, which is home to Washington's biggest lobbying outfits. Alperstein is no lobbyist, however. He insists he's not out to influence policy but to analyze how policy changes affect financial markets. Managers of multibillion-dollar portfolios, including many hedge fund investors, pay Alperstein's 40-year-old firm for its 12 analysts' insights into Congress, regulatory agencies and Beltway policy shops.

Recent episodes such as the shaky launch of the Affordable Care Act, the government shutdown and jockeying over the debt ceiling have provided incentives for hedge fund managers to hire political analysts like Alperstein for their insights into policy, governance...

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