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The Morning Brief: Yusko Out as Endowment Fund CIO; BlueGold Co-Founder Back with New Fund

Big changes are underway at the $3.5 billion Endowment Fund, the fund-of-funds launched in 2003 as a joint venture between Houston-based asset management and advisory firm Salient Partners and Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based funds-of-funds firm Morgan Creek Capital Management, according to Pensions & Investments. Lee Partridge, managing director and CIO of Salient, has taken over as chief investment officer for the Endowment Fund, replacing Morgan Creek CEO and CIO Mark Yusko. The fund had been struggling in terms of performance. This past fall, it limited how much money investors could withdraw from the fund each quarter after they had pulled more than $1 billion in 2012 through September.

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Pierre Andurand is planning his next life. The manager of the once high-flying BlueGold Capital Management, a commodities-focused hedge fund firm in London that closed last year, is planning to open a new fund on February 1, Reuters reports. His new firm, Andurand Capital Management LLP, is said to have 14 employees and will also be based in London. BlueGold shut down last April after losing 34 percent and $1 billion of its $2.4 billion in assets in 2011. Andurand told Reuters that for investors in the new fund who had previously been invested in BlueGold until the end, he will honor the BlueGold high-water mark and not charge them any fees until they earn their money back.


Andurand and his partner Dennis Crema made their only appearances on Alpha's annual Rich List ranking of top-earning hedge fund managers — they earned $90 million apiece — after the commodities specialists generated a 209.7 percent net return in 2008, betting on the right direction of many of the energy markets, such as oil, natural gas and coal. Drawing on both fundamental and technical analysis, the former oil traders rode up the energy markets in the early part of that year and deftly switched to the short side within two months of their trend reversal over the summer.


BlueGold had opened in February 2008. Before launching the firm, Andurand was an energy derivatives trader at Vitol SA in London and Singapore from 2003 to 2007. Crema worked at Vitol Energy SA in London for 12 years as senior partner, head of the trading committee and head of products trading. BlueGold's assets had grown quickly after its launch but started to shrink when performance fell to earth. It was up 55 percent in 2009 and just 13 percent in 2010 before plummeting by 34 percent in 2011.

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Here's yet another reminder that the stock market's bias is up and that solely going short can be hazardous to your financial health. According to the latest Dow Jones Credit Suisse hedge fund performance report, hedge funds with a dedicated short bias lost, on average, 20.39 percent in 2012. What's more, since January 1994, they have posted an annualized loss of 4.38 percent, the only hedge fund strategy to be in the red. The best performer during this 19-year period: global macro, up 11.72 percent.

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Tiger Cub Robert Karr's Joho Capital has lifted its stake in Yelp to 5.73 percent from 5.26 percent. Shares of the online city guides closed Friday at $20.30, down from their 52-week high of $31.96.

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