Hedge Fund Lobby Bars Reporters From Largest Annual Meeting

Dec 18 2009 | 12:05pm ET

For the second time this year, the Managed Funds Association has decided to bar reporters from one of its events.

This time, the U.S.’s largest hedge fund lobbying group has reversed its 15-year policy of allowing reporters to attend its annual conference in Key Biscayne, Fla. The networking event is the MFA’s largest annual get-together, and generally attracts less than a dozen members of the press.

As to why a group that has been harshly criticized for its secrecy and lack of transparency would respond with more secrecy and opacity, MFA marketing and communications director D. Brooke Harlow told Investment News, “there had been a couple of issues over the last two years.”

She did not elaborate on what those issues were.

The decision to keep the press out was made by the MFA’s staff and not its board, which includes prominent members of the alternative investments industry, Harlow said.

The Key Biscayne conference generally attracts between 600 and 700 attendees.

In October, the MFA banned reporters from attending a hedge fund leadership conference in New York. Barlow would not say whether the group plans to continue its media blackout for its MFA Forum in June. The Chicago meeting is its second-largest gathering of the year.

Another prominent hedge fund conference that has also barred reporters over the years in the annual GAIM Conference in Florida. Last year even saw a fun incident where Reuters reporter snuck in under the guise of being with the Reuter’s marketing team that was sponsoring a table. He kept his cover for a few days and got some articles out of it, but he was escorted out by security on the last day.

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