Hedge-fund titan Leon Cooperman at his retirement party took parting shots at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
People close to the American billionaire say he blames the SEC for forcing him out of the investment business after a 50-year run, Fox Business Network's Charles Gasparino reported.
In May 2017, Cooperman and his Omega Advisors hedfe fund firm agreed to pay a $4.95 million fine to settle an SEC insider trading lawsuit, without having to admit wrongdoing. Cooperman vehemently and publicly denied the allegations.
"Many friends of Cooperman believed the charges were retaliation from the SEC under President Obama for public criticisms Cooperman made of the former president’s use of class warfare during his eight years in the White House. Cooperman famously wrote in 2011 an open letter to Obama that went viral, calling the former president’s policies and public statements about the rich 'divisive' and 'polarizing,'" Gasparino and Lydia Moynihan reported for Fox Business Network.
“Leon believes the SEC acted like a criminal organization in going after him unfairly,” said one Wall Streeter who attended the soiree. “He thinks they came up with a phony charge because of what he said about Obama. And he basically said that at the party.”
In July, Cooperman had told investors that he planned to convert his Omega Advisors at year-end into a family office, managing his own money rather than that of other investors, Bloomberg reported.
"This decision is a very personal one driven not by any health concerns, but solely by how I want to spend my remaining years," Cooperman, 75, said in a letter to clients at that time. “I don’t want to spend the rest of my life chasing the S&P 500 and focused on generating returns on investor capital.”
Cooperman once ran one of the biggest hedge funds. In the late 1990s, only George Soros and Julian Robertson oversaw more money. While other managers later surpassed him in assets, he stayed in the business longer, outlasting other well-known investors including Richard Perry and Eric Mindich, who shuttered their funds in the past two years.
He’s cashing investors out when his fund is at an all-time high, according to the letter. The firm’s main fund is up 7 percent this year and he’s posted annualized returns of 12.4 since inception.
The firm, which oversees $3.8 billion, will return all outside capital at the end of the year. A little more than half the assets are his and other employee money.
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