Short InterestJim Chanos, head of Kynikos Associates, a well-known short-seller, is launching a group that will promote various hedge-fund causes with lawmakers in Washington. Is it a short-seller lobbyist organization? Not officially, since the existing 12 members vary in shapes and styles. Part of the mission, though, may be to help bears speak more freely. Andrew Lowenthal of Porterfield & Lowenthal, a government-relations firm that helps Chanos with his project, describes the so-called Coalition of Private Investment Companies in these terms: "To allow the press freedom to do its job; shareholders to express their opinion without fear of intimidation by the issuers; and analysts to be independent."
Driving SouthLatin America is hot and hedge funds are starting to emerge there, even though the field is still in its infancy. Just last week, Swiss bank Banque Safdie launched a fund of funds that will only invest in Latin American hedge funds. There are only 222 hedge funds in Latin America, representing $18 billion, but the number of managers is growing fast, says Ricardo Simone Pereira, a Brazil-based director at the bank. With emerging markets a top category of hedge fund performance, traders are beginning to understand the opportunities in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. "Latin America attracts a lot of capital, due to its commodity boom and the liquidity of its equity market," he says.