Some of the biggest names in the investing world are gathering in Las Vegas this week for the annual SALT hedge fund conference, a glitzy annual confab that also includes appearances from top celebrities, politicians, business leaders and even a rock-star or two.
This year is no different, with top names in all these categories expected to speak at the conference, also known as the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference (SALT).
On the political and regulatory front, former Obama administration Vice President Joe Biden will give his take on the Trump Administration. Biden may also be asked whether he regrets not challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic primary, in light of the way the election turned out. Also, ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, the central bank chief at the center of the 2008 financial crisis response, will once again provide an economic forecast for 2017 (He spoke at the event in 2015).
Other politicians expected to give their thoughts including Republican primary candidate and ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Obama Administration senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Former U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron will discuss Brexit and its fallout.
On the investment front, Bill Ackman will be speaking as part of the well-known fund managers efforts to shift focus away from his damaged reputation in the wake of significant losses to his fund, Pershing Square, due to a large investment in Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX). Ackman also may weigh in about an ongoing Chipotle (CMG) campaign and whether he might seek to shake things up at Mondelez (MDLZ) , especially if it is an M&A target. Last week, Ackman urged big investors at the annual Sohn conference to follow him and invest in real estate developer Howard Hughes (HHC)
Also, look for activist investor Dan Loeb to elucidate upon a recently launched campaign urging Honeywell International (HON) to separate its aerospace unit via a spin-off. The fund manager, who founded Third Point LLC, said in a quarterly letter to investors that the move would result in an increase in share price value more than $20 billion. Loeb, alternatively, could decide to reveal a new investor tip at the conference.
Also, billionaire investor Sam Zell will offer up tips on how to invest globally and a panel of top fund managers, including Kynikos Associates James Chanos and sometimes activist, Ricky Sandler of Eminence Capital, will provide specific stock tips for investors.
Big time investors EJF Capital's Emanuel J. Friedman and Polygon's Reade Griffith, are expected to produce their advice in a panel entitled "The next big trade."
One thing that will be different this year-expect a lot of focus at the conference to center on Anthony Scaramucci, its organizer, in part because of his ties to President Donald Trump. Scaramucci, who was an early Wall Street supporter of the president, agreed in January to sell a majority stake in Skybridge Capital, a fund of hedge funds and other investments firm he founded, to Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. Ltd. The sale was conducted as part of an effort by Scaramucci to avoid conflicts as he seeks to obtain a position in the Trump Administration.
In an interview with media writer Michael Wolff in March, sponsored by TheStreet, Scaramucci suggested that he is expecting a job, possibly a post of director for the Office of Public Liaison in the White House, once the Skybridge deal closes.
As part of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, the Salt conference is expected to be spun off as a standalone entity and Scaramucci will no longer be affiliated with it. Nevertheless, this year, Scaramucci is still expected to provide opening remarks and conduct a couple of keynote interviews.
Last year's successes? Blue Harbour's Clifton Robbins pitched Xilinx (XLNX) , a San Jose-based semi-conductor company, in May 2016. Xilinx's share price has shot upwards from about $43 a share at the time to trade at around $64.50 a share today.
Kirk Ferguson, managing director at SachemHead Capital Management, told participants last year that he owned a 4.9% stake in TeamHealth, a company that he said had a better chance of being acquired since the health care staffing company settled earlier in 2016 with another activist hedge fund executive, Jana Partners Barry Rosenstein, to put three dissident director candidates on its board. In October TeamHealth was sold to Blackstone in a $6.1 billion deal.
Canyon Capital Advisers' Joshua Friedman told investors last year that he was bullish on MGM Resorts (MGM) and Las Vegas in general. At the time MGM traded at about $22.00 a share - it has since risen to trade at about $31.49 a share.
However, Kynikos' Chanos presented his short case for Cheniere Energy (LNG) last year at the conference, calling it "financial engineering gone crazy." Cheniere's shares traded at about $34.05 a share at the time, but have since risen to trade at about $49.58 a share today.
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Editor's Pick: This Article was originally published on May 15 and has been updated.