12 April 2008

Whatever Happened to Solengo?

Solengo Capital, a hedge fund, was the center of a burst of business for copyright lawyers a year ago.

Now, I understand, the fund breaths no more. Its assets have been purchased by another operation, and its founder given the could-mean-anything but really-means-nothing title of "consultant."

Even the most faithful of my readers may need a refresher course, and a couple of links like this one.

The gist: Brian Hunter was the trading not-quite-master mind who put dynamite beneath the floor boards at a futures-oriented hedge fund named Amaranth in 2006. He lost $6 billion of other people's money.

So, with that good old Canadian spirit, he got right back on his horse and created Calgary based Solengo the following year.

Solengo started sending out its marketing brochure as an unsecured Adobe Acrobat document through cyberspace. I can't say how widely, but widely enough so that a couple of alert bloggers got it and posted it. That's when the copyright lawyers got involved, determined to ensure that only those Hunter selected for viewing his brochure, should be allowed to view it.

Given the nature of the internet, the effort was doomed to failure in fact, even despite some successes in court. Anybody with any curiosity in the matter has long since had the brochure on their hard drives.

Flash forward. A Bloomberg story yesterday informs us that Mr. Hunter is now a consultant for a Boston-based operation called Peak Ridge Capital.

Peak Ridge got its start in November, and it appears to have had a good first five months. Judging from the story by Saijel Kishan, the real powers-that-be at Peak Ridge want it to be known that Brian doesn't trade for them, nor does he run the risk management office. He consults. He "devises trading models and strategies," which presumably the actual traders are then free to ignore.

Peak Ridge has "bought the assets" of Solengo, we learn in paragraph five. What did that amount to, I wonder? A desk, a rolodex, and some rolaids?

Another tidbit from the story I have to mention: Kishan refers to Solengo as a "hedge fund firm that Hunter tried to start...." His sources are acknowledging, then, that Solengo never really got underway.

Maybe because they were too busy in fruitless litigation over a brochure, and wasted their trading kitty on legal fees?

So that's what happened to Solengo.

No comments:

Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.