From 2/11/09 HF Alert:
Expect more of this. If you are a hedge fund that expected to raise capital exclusively through your prime broker. Time to consider plan b.
Merrill Lynch is the latest prime broker to cancel or scale back a hedge fund conference.
Merrill, now part of Bank of America, told clients last week that its marquee hedge fund event, originally scheduled for next month at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla., would be relocated to a soon-to-be-named venue in New York.
Goldman Sachs recently made a similar move, canceling a hedge fund conference in Miami and moving it to New York. There’s still no word on whether Goldman will host its annual European conference, usually one of the most well-attended hedge fund conferences in the region.
UBS also has scaled back its conference plans. An event originally scheduled for last month in Montreal will now be held next month in New York.
Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, is moving forward with plans for an April conference in New York. The event was originally scheduled for last September, but was postponed following the collapse of the financial markets.
For prime brokers, last quarter’s seismic industry contraction has shortened client rosters and shrunk assets under management. Furthermore, the big banks that run the prime- brokerage groups are under intense public scrutiny because of
the federal money they received as part of the government’s ongoing economic-stimulus efforts, and therefore are wary of being linked to lavish get-aways.