Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hedge Funds: "Executives Abandon Och-Ziff Following $13 Billion In Withdrawals And An 80% Share Price Decline" (OZM)

One of my mentors, after a lifetime of observation,* decided that bad people don't become good and if he spotted the behavioral matrix in someone he met he would keep his distance so they couldn't harm him-or-his while trying to figure out how to short said bad person to zero.

Sometimes, as in the case of Och-Ziff, you don't have to figure very hard.

From ZeroHedge:
What is that saying about rats and sinking ships, we forget?  Irrespective, a trio of senior executives from Och-Ziff decided they've had enough fun after their fund lost $13 billion to withdrawals over the past 13 months and their stock tanked roughly 80%.

According to Bloomberg, among those departing are Drew Gillanders, a top European equity analyst; James Keith “JK” Brown, a partner and head of investor relations; and Paula Drake, chief compliance officer.
Gillanders, who’s based in London, helped manage Och-Ziff’s successful bet on drugmaker Actelion Ltd., which soared when Johnson & Johnson agreed to buy it in January, the people said. Och-Ziff had built a stake worth about 767 million Swiss francs ($761 million), according to a filing on Dec. 24. Gillanders, who used to work for billionaire Steven Cohen when his firm was called SAC Capital Advisors, didn’t respond to repeated calls and emails seeking comment.

Brown, a member of the partner management committee, joined in 2003 from Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to Och-Ziff’s website. He is staying through June then leaving to pursue other interests, one of the people said. Two other partners, Lee Minton and Nathan Urquhart, are replacing him as co-heads of investor relations, the person said. Brown didn’t return an email and a phone call seeking comment.

Drake, who joined Och-Ziff in 2015, previously worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Drake is leaving to return to Boston, where she lives, one of the people said. The firm hired Robert Mendelson, a long-time partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, to replace her. Mendelson didn’t return a message left on his voicemail at Och-Ziff.
Among other problems, Och-Ziff has recently suffered the devastating consequences of a multi-year criminal investigation that ultimately resulted in them pleading guilty to more than $100 million in bribes paid in shady deals across Africa and $415 million in fines and penalties.  Per Bloomberg:...MORE
*Before he found his true calling in the markets, Mr. Mentor had enlisted in the navy as the lowliest recruit and came out as a commander. He said he would have made captain but for the time he 'hit the dock while trying to park the boat.'
I'm pretty sure the admirals weren't too thrilled about a guy who used that kind of nomenclature for one of their 390 foot destroyers so it was probably best they parted ways.

He then decided to use his leadership skills as a counselor for wayward boys but grew very cynical and got into the finance/investment/trading biz at a later than usual age and boy was it a perfect fit.
From 2011's "Short 'em All. They Aren't Worth the Paper They're Printed On" recounting an '08 anecdote:
...One of my mentors, and one of the sharpest traders I ever met, had the most common flaw of students of markets, hubris. In his case it was non-fatal, more of a cost of doing business:...
...2) He got into a rigged blackjack game in Yugoslavia. Lost half-a-mil. Said he started to think it was was fixed when he was down a couple hundred thousand.
Wife: "Then why the hell did you keep playing?"
Him: "I thought I could beat it".
Previously (the second story is a major piece from Institutional Investor last November):
Feb 2017
Och Ziff In Trouble: AUM Plunges After A Record $4.8 Billion In January Redemptions (OZM)

"We don't much care for these folks, some prior posts after the jump."