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Saturday, December 4, 2021

Amaranth’s Golden Goose That Laid An Egg

Date: Thursday, December 7, 2006
Author: Dailyii.com

Amaranth Advisors has paid the price for putting a lot of its eggs in one basket in more ways than one. The Connecticut-based firm that famously lost $6.6 billion not only kept too much of its bets in energy at the wrong time, but now it is emerging that it handed over control of too much of its assets to just one person – Brian Hunter, according to Bloomberg News. Amaranth could have possibly avoided disaster, says BN, had founder Nicholas Mauonis let the energy whiz Hunter take a million-dollar bait cast in April 2005 by HF guru Steven Cohen to move to Greenwich, Conn.-based SAC Capital Advisors. To keep Hunter, BN reports, Mauonis made him co-head of Amaranth’s energy desk, let him control his own trades and then eventually entrusted half of the firm’s assets to his nimble brain. The beginning of the end for Amaranth, notes BN, came when the firm lost money from its credit bets after Standard & Poor’s cut General Motors and Ford Motors’ credit ratings. Maounis turned to Hunter to “do something,” since he was making money hand over fist from his natural-gas bets – especially after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita swept into the Southeast and Hunter’s investments made $1 billion as a result. Investors and some staffers saw a natural-gas bet disaster in the making, and tried to pull their money, but, as BN says, it was too late for many. “Amaranth’s demise is not due to some complicated quantitative reason,” Hank Higdon of New York-based recruiter Higdon Partners told Bloomberg News. “It’s about human failing and frailty.”