It looks like the hedge-fund equivalent of a hostage video.
James Cordier, in a dark suit, cuff links and expensive-looking watch, sits in a brown leather chair and stares into a camera, his hands folded in front of him.
Then he delivers the bad news.
His voice near-breaking at times, the hedge fund manager employs nautical terms to tell his clients in a roundabout way that he’s lost all of their money — in the neighborhood of $150 million, according to one estimate.
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In a 10-minute video posted on YouTube, Cordier says his clients are like “family.” But now, blaming a “rogue wave” in the natural gas market, Cordier says he had “capsized the boat,” that he had failed to “steer your investment like a boat” and was unable to keep “her afloat.”
Recent gyrations in the natural gas and oil markets “likely cost me my hedge fund,” he said of his Tampa-based Optionsellers.com.
The collapse is a stunning turnabout for Cordier, who literally co-authored a book on the topic, “The Complete Guide to Option Selling.” In May, perhaps foreseeing trouble, he wrote an article in Futures magazine about the perils of trading in the gas market.
With the firm’s money lost, he names clients and acknowledges his relationship with them is fraught. He expresses regret that he won’t be joining one client in the French Riviera, that he won’t be visiting another investor on the Gold Coast of Australia to watch the sunset, that he owes yet another a Cuban sandwich.
Accounts belonging to Optionsellers.com, which specializes in writing commodities options for high net-worth investors, have been liquidated, INTL FCStone Inc., the brokerage that cleared the firm’s trades, said Monday in a statement to Bloomberg.
“I am so sorry for not managing our ship and keeping her afloat,’’ Cordier says finally.
Cordier hasn’t responded to repeated emails and calls seeking comment. Rosemary Veasey, the company’s office manager, declined to comment on its losses. The U.S. Commodity Futures Commission declined to comment on the fund.