Reuters/ Steve MarcusHedge funder Daniel Loeb backed out of speaking at a conference after teacher union bosses threatened to grill him on his stance on their pension benefits, the New York Post Michelle Celarier reports.
The billionaire fund manager, who runs Third Point LLC, was scheduled to speak at the Council of Institutional Investors in D.C. this morning at 9:45 a.m.
He was going to be on a panel with JANA Partners’ Barry Rosenstein, according to the event’s agenda.
He wrote a letter backing out yesterday afternoon.
The reason, according to the Post, is that attendees wanted to confront him over his stance on their pension benefits.
There were reports linking Loeb with StudentsFirst, an educational advocacy group that wants to get rid of defined benefit pension plans. He is on the board of the group’s New York chapter, according to his SALT conference bio.
Taibi basically said that Loeb solicits the business of pension funds, but betrays them through his involvement with Students First.
Here’s the meat of Taibi’s piece:
But here’s the catch. Dan Loeb, who isn’t known as the biggest hedge-fund arsehole still working on Wall Street (only because Stevie Cohen hasn’t been arrested yet), is on the board and co-founder of a group called Students First New York. And Students First has been one of the leading advocates pushing for states to abandon defined benefit plans – packages which guarantee certain retirement benefits for public workers like teachers – in favour of defined contribution plans, where the benefits are not guaranteed.
In other words, Loeb has been soliciting the retirement money of public workers, then turning right around and lobbying for those same workers to lose their benefits. He’s essentially asking workers to pay for their own disenfranchisement (with Loeb getting his two-and-20 cut, or whatever obscene percentage of their retirement monies he will charge as a fee). If that isn’t the very definition of balls, I don’t know what is.
Loeb has denied the recent press reports.
In a letter to the CII obtained by Hedge Fund Intelligence, Loeb writes, “Contrary to reports, I have never taken a position against DB plans nor has any philanthropic organisation I lead.”
Third Point told Rolling Stone in a statement that the funds are currently closed to outside investors.