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Ross: 20 Percent Return for Public-Private Fund

By Marc Davis   |   Thursday, 17 Sep 2009 11:19 AM

Wilbur Ross has high hopes for his portfolio management skills.

Among the four companies competing for some $200 million in Connecticut state pension funds to buy shaky mortgage securities, Ross's firm forecast the highest return on the money: a whopping 20 percent.

The fund will participate in the U.S. Treasury's Public Private Investment Program (PPIP).

Ross, an expert in distressed assets, out-predicted the competition for the account, which included Alliance Bernstein Holding LP, Marathon Asset Management LP and Wellington Management Co., according to a report in Bloomberg News.

Alliance and Marathon both estimated returns of 18 percent, and Wellington forecast returns of from 13 percent to 17 percent.

A decision has yet to be made on which of the four competitors will get the business, the wire service reports.

The mortgages will be bought from banks which hold some $40 billion of them for less than face value. That's not necessarily a bargain unless the economy starts moving again.

Money managers are now soliciting investment funds to buy a piece of that debt.

Government meanwhile is cutting back on its other financing programs, including the Supplementary Financing Program, to avoid hitting the debt limit decreed by Congress, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The fund now stands at $200 billion, down from $560 billion at its peak.

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