Cantillon: The global hedge fund community swarms into town

Hotels across Dublin had better stock up on Krug champagne

Hotels across Dublin had better stock up on Krug champagne, Louis XIII cognac and Beluga caviar. The cream of the global hedge fund community is in town for an industry jamboree.

Hotels across Dublin had better stock up on Krug champagne, Louis XIII cognac and Beluga caviar. The cream of the global hedge fund community is in town for an industry jamboree.

 

Hotels across Dublin had better stock up on Krug champagne, Louis XIII cognac and Beluga caviar. The cream of the global hedge fund community is in town for an industry jamboree.

The hush-hush event is called HedgeCraic, and comprises the annual client gathering of Albourne, a UK group that provides research services to many of the world’s top investment firms.

We understand that more than 100 of the world’s top hedge funds will be represented at the event today at the Shelbourne hotel in Dublin, and tomorrow at the Ritz-Carlton Powerscourt.

Normally, if Dublin attracts an event such as this it is broadcast from the rooftops by one of the enterprise agencies or by one of the financial industry lobby groups. But perhaps wary of attracting negative publicity in a country that was a target of hedge funds at the height of the financial crisis, the organisers of HedgeCraic have managed to keep the event almost completely quiet. Almost.

Bob Geldof, we understand, will address the hedge fund managers in the Shelbourne today. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will address them tomorrow at the Ritz. Noonan’s department did not respond to a request yesterday for details of this engagement.

So what should the Minister say to a room full of hedge fund managers, so-called vulture fund executives and other financial bogeymen? How about: “Better luck next time.” Or maybe: “I hope we didn’t cost you too much money.”

A fair chunk of the room would have bet against the State’s very survival in the months after the Lehman collapse, when aggressive shorting by funds dragged Ireland further into the mire.

It would be interesting if the delegate list included a representative of Elliott Wealth Management, the hedge fund controlled by Paul Singer. It bought €75 million of IBRC subordinated debt less than a year ago, and is now taking court action in the US as part of an attempt to force Noonan to pay up. A discussion for afterwards in the cigar room, perhaps.

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