Former White House comms director eyes Middle East investors

Anthony Scaramucci says political foray cost his firm SkyBridge Capital about $1.7 billion in net client withdrawals
Anthony Scaramucci, 54, conceded his short-lived foray into politics “cost me a lot,” including about $1.7 billion in net client withdrawals from SkyBridge.
By Bloomberg
Wed 11 Jul 2018 09:20 AM

Anthony Scaramucci said there’s a "less than zero" percent chance he’ll return to politics and instead aspires to double the assets at his SkyBridge Capital to $20 billion in the next five years, with the help of investors from outside the US - including the Middle East.

The hedge fund impresario, who a year ago spent an eventful 10 days as White House communications director, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that he’s working on new products at SkyBridge that will diversify the company away from its main fund-of-hedge funds product.

Those include a commodities product, and a fund that will invest in low-income areas eligible for tax breaks under the new US tax plan, he said.

“I’m not really great at the Washington scene,” he said. “Having experienced that now has made me a lot wiser, but it’s also made me appreciate where I was and who I really am - which is an entrepreneur and money manager focused on growing people’s money.”

Scaramucci, 54, conceded his short-lived foray into politics “cost me a lot,” including about $1.7 billion in net client withdrawals from SkyBridge. With good performance, the firm will more than make up for that loss within two years, he said.

Within five years, he said he sees the $10 billion SkyBridge doubling through new products, market appreciation, and wider distribution of the firm’s flagship product.

SkyBridge is currently raising money outside the US, from investors in South Korea, China, Japan and the Middle East, he said.

After a deal to sell SkyBridge to HNA Group Co. fell through earlier this year, the two firms signed an agreement in which the Chinese conglomerate will distribute SkyBridge products in mainland China and Hong Kong, according to Scaramucci.

SkyBridge is in the process of opening an office in the region, most likely in Hong Kong, he said.

“I think it’ll be important for players like SkyBridge to be in China, where believe it or not, fund-of-funds is actually a pretty hot product,” he said.

“They like the idea of being able to put small minimums - like SkyBridge’s minimum are $25,000 to $50,000, so it’s perfect for the mass affluent market out there.”

When it comes to the hedge fund industry, Scaramucci thinks it’s due for a “renaissance” as interest rates in the developing world normalize.

Long-short equity managers, in particular, will begin to see improving returns as borrowing costs in the US rise, he said.

“I think that the obituary that’s been written about the hedge fund industry is overstated,” he said, adding that legendary hedge fund managers John Paulson, Bill Ackman and David Einhorn - all of whom have fallen on tough times in recent years - “will have a comeback” if they choose to stay in the game.

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Last Updated: Wed 11 Jul 2018 09:49 AM GST

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