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Satellite Halts Hedge Fund Withdrawals, Fires 30 After Losses


Date: Thursday, November 27, 2008
Author: Saijel Kishan, Bloomberg

Satellite Asset Management LP, founded by former employees of billionaire George Soros, stopped client withdrawals from its three largest hedge funds and eliminated more than 30 jobs after losses reduced the firm’s assets to about $4 billion this year.

Satellite Overseas Fund Ltd., Satellite Fund II LP and Satellite Credit Opportunities Ltd. have declined as much as 35 percent in 2008, said a person with knowledge of the funds’ performance. Simon Rayler, Satellite’s general counsel, declined to comment and wouldn’t disclose how many people remain at the firm’s New York headquarters or London offices. Satellite oversaw about $7 billion for clients at the end of last year.

More than 75 hedge funds have liquidated or restricted investor redemptions since the start of the year as they cope with fallout from the global financial crisis. Investors pulled $40 billion from hedge funds last month, while market losses cut industry assets by $115 billion to $1.56 trillion, according to data compiled by Hedge Fund Research Inc. in Chicago.

“Barring volatility in the markets, I expect that by the end of the year, we would’ve seen the bulk of these redemption suspensions done,” said Ron Geffner, who represents hedge funds at the New York-based law firm Sadis & Goldberg LLP.

Satellite was started in 1999 by Lief Rosenblatt, Gabe Nechamkin and Mark Sonnino, who worked together for 11 years at Soros Fund Management LP in New York. The firm is retaining teams that trade bonds and loans and invest in companies going through events such as takeovers, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

21% Redemption Rate

The company has received withdrawal notices, which are effective through June, for 21 percent of the $2 billion Satellite Overseas Fund Ltd., its largest fund, the person said.

Satellite has cash to meet current redemptions and will continue to run the funds and sell securities over a period of years to avoid unloading them quickly in slumping markets, the person said.

Hedge funds, private, largely unregulated pools of capital whose managers can buy or sell any assets, declined by an average 16 percent this year through October, according to Hedge Fund Research. Millennium Global Investments Ltd., Platinum Grove Asset Management LP and Autonomy Capital Research LLP are among the firms to halt redemptions in the past month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saijel Kishan in New York at skishan@bloomberg.net