May 20, 2011

Former Morgan Stanley Hedge Fund, FrontPoint, to Close Funds

Hedge fund falters as investors withdraw capital after portfolio manager charged with ‘insider trading’ and ‘securities fraud’

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FrontPoint Partners, the beleaguered hedge fund operation that completed a spinoff from Morgan Stanley in March, will reportedly “be winding down select strategies,” according to a report in The News York Times' Dealbook blog on Friday.

Redemptions are the cause, according to the Dealbook report. The fund’s assets had declined to an estimated  $3.1 billion at the end of March from $7.5 billion as of last November, according to an article in Pension & Investments on March 1 announcing the completion of the spinoff.

A FrontPoint Partners portfolio manager, Dr. Joseph "Chip" Skowron, was accused by the SEC of “insider trading.”

Skowron was also criminally charged with securities fraud as well as conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney on April 13, and surrendered to the FBI according to a Bloomberg report.

In another insider trading case, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for Manhattan, recently won a conviction against Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire founder of the hedge fund Galleon Group.

FrontPoint Partners was bought by Morgan Stanley in 2006 when the fund had $5.5 billion in assets under management.

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