Well before the news broke publicly this week, Albourne Partners — a respected consulting firm known to be as in the loop on alternatives as any in the business — quietly alerted clients: The CEO of Anchorage Capital, a major hedge fund in many large institutional portfolios, had been accused of committing sexual battery in a Manhattan hotel.
Anchorage had decided not to tell its investors and industry consultants, per knowledgeable sources, unless those stakeholders brought it up first.
Albourne Partners discovered during its normal processes Jennifer Perry’s public legal filing, submitted in June, alleging that Kevin Ulrich assaulted her in a Manhattan hotel last July, two knowledgeable sources told Institutional Investor. She claimed that Ulrich committed “sexual battery” involving “forceful physical contact and restraint” in room 610 of the luxury Mercer Hotel in Soho. She did not consent to Ulrich’s alleged actions, and communicated this to him, per the filing.
A month after suing Ulrich, Perry withdrew her claims for unclear reasons. Neither her attorney nor Anchorage would comment. Ulrich is also board chairman of movie studio MGM Holdings.
But according to an Anchorage investor, the company confirmed that Ulrich had settled with Perry.
Ulrich’s situation was a personal one: Perry did not sue Anchorage or its affiliates, and has no clear connection to the investment firm. But with the allegations a matter of public record, and Ulrich the leader and face of Anchorage, some investors see professional implications in this personal matter — ones that would have been lessened by giving investors a heads-up.
When clients “mentioned that this was public information and eventually would come out, they shrugged,” according to one institutional allocator, who described this action as lowly. “It’s a solid firm with overall a good quality of staff. They deserve better.”
Anchorage was less transparent than some investors desire their asset managers to be, but by no indication did the firm break any contractual obligation to share Ulrich’s situation. Investment contracts with firms of that size typically stipulate disclosure when a key employee gets indicted on criminal charges — a far higher bar than civil claims simply being filed.
Perry brought her case in New York State’s civil Supreme Court, and anyone can be sued. Most sexual assaults never result in criminal charges, studies show.
Charities and public universities are among the many institutions that have entrusted their assets with Anchorage, along with legions of other professional money managers.
Anchorage clients include or recently included the Rockefeller Foundation, University at Buffalo Foundation, San Diego Foundation, and Jane and Daniel Och Family Foundation, public filings show. None of these institutions responded when asked how they’d learned of the sexual battery claims against Ulrich.
Auburn University’s endowment had $13.5 million with one of Ulrich’s funds at the end of September 2019. But, a spokesperson told II, “as of February 2, 2020, the Auburn University Foundation terminated Anchorage Capital as one of its investment managers.”