The Morning Brief: Former Visium Portfolio Manager Found Dead

June 22, 2016   Stephen Taub


In a stunning, tragic twist, one of the former Visium Asset Management portfolio managers who last week was arrested for insider trading and other crimes apparently committed suicide Monday evening. Sanjay Valvani, 44, was found dead at his Brooklyn apartment. According to Bloomberg, police found a knife near his body and a suicide note. He apparently slashed his neck, the report said. "We mourn the tragic loss of Sanjay, a devoted father, husband and friend," Visium founder Jacob Gottlieb reportedly said in a statement. On Friday the New York hedge fund firm, which focuses on health-care investing, agreed to sell its Visium Global Fund to New York asset manager AllianceBernstein and said it would liquidate its flagship fund, the Visium Balanced Fund, after Valvani and two other former portfolio managers of Visium as well as a government official were charged for their roles in securities violations. The four were also separately charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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While much attention is focused on Pershing Square Capital Management’s two most high-profile positions—its large long bet on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International and short bet on Herbalife—its largest disclosed U.S. long suffered a big loss on Tuesday. Shares of Canadian Pacific Railway fell nearly 2 percent after dropping more than 4 percent earlier in the day. The Calgary-based company warned that second quarter revenue could decline by 12 percent due to wild fires in northern Alberta, weak commodity prices and the strengthening Canadian dollar. The stock is now down about 8 percent in the past two weeks. The stock became Pershing Square’s largest long after the New York hedge fund firm headed by William Ackman reduced its huge stake in Zoetis in May. Meanwhile shares of Valeant fell about 3.5 percent on Tuesday to a new six-year low.

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Brevan Howard is back in the black thanks to a very strong June…so far. BH Macro, its public fund that invests substantially all of its assets in the Brevan Howard Master Fund, is up about 3.2 percent this month through June 17. As a result, the fund is up 1.5 percent for the year-to-date.

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Hedge fund redemptions are up a bit according to one measure. The SS&C GlobeOp Forward Redemption Indicator rose slightly in June to 4.88 percent from 4.38 percent in May. "This relatively flat comparison is in line with other data we have seen in the first half of this year, which is indicating stability in overall hedge-fund allocations," says Bill Stone, chairman and chief executive officer of SS&C Technologies, in a statement.


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