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Up Front


"It's unheard-of. I'm in awe of myself right now."

---Mark McGwire, after hitting No. 70.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top


AT A TIME WHEN HEDGE-FUND LOSSES ARE SPREADING, Julian Robertson Jr.'s $22 billion hedge-fund group, Tiger Management, is trying to put the lid on the bad news--at least, as far as its numbers are concerned.

In late September, Robertson's offshore Jaguar fund shut down an automated telephone service, operated by its office in Curacao, that had provided callers with a daily tape-recorded update of the fund's performance. The shutdown comes in the wake of a widely reported decline of Robertson's funds. Tiger is up 14% year to date, after fees. However, its portfolios suffered a $2.2 billion loss in late August and early September, in part because of a bet against the yen. (BW, Sept. 28).

Jaguar, which mirrors the performance of the other Tiger funds, is widely tracked by hedge-fund watchers. A Jaguar official said that shareholders can still get the latest performance data--but only if they identify themselves by name. "We just want to screen and ensure that we're only giving the NAV [net asset value] to Jaguar investors." Others, the official said, "might have been drawing incorrect conclusions" from the data.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top


CANADIANS HAVE A SPECIAL REASON TO JEER world currency markets. Pressure on their currency is taking a toll on the national pastime: ice hockey. The Canadian dollar skidded 12% in the past year before rebounding slightly in September, putting Canada's six pro hockey teams in the penalty box. Why? The six pay players in U.S. dollars, but their revenue is Canadian. The loonie--nickname of the Canadian dollar--is now worth only 66 cents. "We've long been 30% behind the eight ball, now we're close to 50%," says an Edmonton Oilers spokesman.

The teams are waiting to see how much cash they'll get under the National Hockey League's currency-equalization plan, started in 1996, to address such problems. An NHL spokesman declined to say which teams would benefit, but added that up to $5 million will be available "based on need." He wouldn't comment on a report in online newsletter that Edmonton, Calgary, and Ottawa got money last season. But the pressure remains. While Edmonton has nixed a $100 million offer from a Houston businessman, Quebec and Winnipeg have fled to the U.S.EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top


THOMAS WEISEL, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF MONTGOMERY SECURITIES, will soon open a boutique investment firm following his angry departure from NationsBank, which paid $1.2 billion for Montgomery. Weisel, says a source there, is also leaving with a $100 million package. And he'll start his new firm where Montgomery was based, in San Francisco's Transamerica building.

Weisel and his cohorts were never happy at Charlotte (N.C.)-based NationsBank. Montgomery-ites say NationsBank promised them complete independence; the bank disagrees. NationsBankers irked Montgomery types by tagging along on sales calls and also trying, unsuccessfully, to trim 5% off the firm's $400 million annual-pay kitty. Weisel finally walked, friends say, when he lost control of Montgomery's junk-bond business to NationsBank's global finance chief, Edward Brown--who said he would quit if he didn't get it. The bank laments the resistance of "some individuals" to change. Weisel's sole public comment: "There was a difference in vision and strategy."EDITED BY ROBERT McNATTReturn to top

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