Loeb Calls ‘Give-and-Take’ With Other Managers Legal

Aug 21 2008 | 9:31am ET

Third Point founder Daniel Loeb is well-known for his poison pen. But in making his feelings about recent moves by the Securities and Exchange Commission, he is tempering his language just a bit.

In his second-quarter letter to investors, which is posted on the Web site for the firm’s listed offshore fund, Loeb made clear that—despite a formal SEC investigation of Third Point as part of its rumor-mongering probe—his firm had done nothing wrong.

During an audit triggered by Third Point’s registration with the SEC last year, “the examination staff note that we regularly communicate with portfolio managers at other hedge funds about investment and trading ideas,” Loeb explained.

“Such conversations permit us to test our hypotheses and refine our thinking and, as a result, we believe that participating in give-and-take with other managers is in the best interest of our investors,” he wrote. “Our outside counsel has examined this matter thoroughly and assured us that our position is consistent with securities laws and that we have not violated any law in connection with these communications.”

The SEC has recently subpoenaed more than 50 hedge funds in its investigation of rumor-mongering on Wall Street, which is blamed in part for the collapse of Bear Stearns and the trouble in which Lehman Brothers finds itself. The regulator last month also instituted a temporary restriction on short-selling shares of some financial institutions. Loeb mentioned both moves in the letter.

“Regulatory matters are certainly playing an significant role in the life of hedge funds as the obligations and demands of the current regulatory environment continue to increase,” he wrote. “However, rest assured that we have a strong operational and legal team to assist me in these endeavors.”

In a separate report on the offshore fund’s Web site, Third Point said that a disastrous July wiped out the fund’s second-quarter gains. The fund lost 9.1% last month and is now down 7.7% after finishing the first half up 1.6%.


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