Goldman Sachs' glitzy new trading floor; Billionaire real-estate investor Sam Zell says now is 'the time to accumulate capital'


Hey Readers!

It's been a whirlwind week. From Uber's disappointing IPO, to trade war tensions with China followed by hopes of a deal from a "beautiful letter" received by Trump, the market was definitely a roller-coaster.

Apart from all the markets madness, hedge fund reporter Bradley Saacks spent the past week in Las Vegas at Anthony Scaramucci's infamous SALT Conference. But while the schmoozy conference has been known in the past for its hedge fund headliners (and wild after parties), investing titans like Steve Cohen and Bill Ackman were conspicuously absent this year from the event. In their place were a number of former Trump administration officials, like former chief of staff John Kelly and former attorney general Jeff Sessions.

If you're new to the Wall Street Insider newsletter, you can sign up here.

The shift away from a focus on hedge funds comes as the industry grapples with performance issues. 2018 was a rough year for the market and even as funds gained an average of 5.4% in the first quarter of 2018, nearly $15 billion left the industry in that period.

This means it's also getting harder for more rank and file hedge funders to attend SALT, Bradley reported, as travel budgets are getting tighter. ("It's easier to get approval for a conference in a convention center in Dallas over a Las Vegas casino," said one investor).

Vegas wasn't the ony place triggering bad hedge fund headlines. In Chicago at the Morningstar conference, AQR founder Cliff Asness said it's a "pretty crappy" environment for his firm's quantitative investing style (though he's sticking by the strategy).

As returns lag, hedge funds are getting creative as they look for any edge they can get. Stay tuned for more stories from us on this theme.

To all the moms out there, happy Mother's Day! Questions? Feedback? Please email me at ooran@businessinsider.com.

Have a good weekend!

Olivia


Goldman Sachs CEO David SolomonGoldman Sachs CEO David Solomon speaks at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit 2018Getty Images

Goldman Sachs' glitzy new London trading floor is the size of a soccer field - but traders worry they'll be 'caged in like battery hens'

Goldman Sachs has told its staff to "get 'move ready' now" for the transfer to the bank's new 1.1-million-square-foot London headquarters, around the corner from St. Paul's Cathedral and within the ancient Roman walls enclosing the Square Mile.

The building, in Plumtree Court in Farringdon, cost an estimated £1 billion and will host about 6,500 employees. The plush trading floor is the site's centerpiece. It's the size of a stadium soccer field. The bank boasts that it's the biggest trading floor in the UK capital.

According to an April 29 "Plumtree Court Newsletter" to Goldman's London staff, seen by Business Insider, the bank called on workers to shred documents in need of shredding, take home umbrellas and other items, and clear workspaces before the big move starting in the summer.

READ MORE HERE>>

Wall Street banks have seen electronic trading chip away at their control of the corporate bond market. Now they're fighting back.

Investment banks that help big money managers trade corporate bonds are looking to lead the next great change in the rapidly evolving fixed-income markets.

The US corporate bond market, which stood at $9.2 trillion in 2018, according to data from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, has traditionally traded over the phone because of its size and complexity.

In recent years, however, an increasing amount of volume has begun to trade electronically thanks to the rise of electronic trading marketplaces like MarketAxess and Tradeweb. These types of venues handle roughly 26% of all US corporate bond trading, the vast majority of which involves smaller bonds that are easier to transact on and therefore considered more liquid.

Now, numerous leading investment banks are looking to trade corporate bonds electronically with their clients directly, potentially cutting out these electronic trading marketplaces.

READ MORE HERE >>

BlackRock is quietly building a team of 30 data scientists to create a next-generation stock-lending platform

The world's largest asset manager is on a mission to automate and innovate through its growing artificial-intelligence team.

BlackRock founded a Palo Alto, California-based group called AI Labs last year, directed by the Stanford professor Stephen Boyd. Now, according to job postings reviewed by Business Insider, the 30-member team is tackling projects including next-generation lending platforms and automating human tasks.

READ MORE HERE>>

Billionaire real-estate investor Sam Zell says now is 'the time to accumulate capital' for future real-estate buys as a glut approaches

The billionaire real-estate investor Sam Zell is building up his pool of cash, planning to put it to use in a couple of years.

Compared with four or five years ago, prices for real estate have become "less speculative" but are still too high for Zell's taste, the founder of Equity International told attendees of this week's SALT conference in Las Vegas.

"I think there's going to be an opportunity" in the next few years, Zell said, to buy cheap apartment and office buildings because of oversupply.

READ MORE HERE >>

CBD companies were courted hard by a unit of US Bank - but they got ghosted despite having a 100% legal business

Elavon, a payment processor that's a subsidiary of US Bank, courted CBD clients through intermediaries and dropped them months later, numerous CBD startup founders told Business Insider.

Elavon sent the founders a letter in the mail - a copy of which was obtained by Business Insider - citing federal uncertainty around CBD products.

The CBD founders were delighted to be working with a company with a reputation like Elavon's. When Elavon pulled out, it was a huge blow.

READ MORE HERE >>

The tech head at the $1.7 trillion investment firm Pimco tells us how a new tool is turning every employee into a data scientist

Pimco has plenty of data scientists - but now, the $1.7 trillion investment firm wants every employee to be one.

The firm's chief technology officer, Dirk Manelski, told Business Insider in a recent interview that the firm was building a data-science platform for all employees to use. While the firm has been integrating data science for decades, the centralized platform represents an evolution from the earlier days, when employees would ask particular groups for reports or numbers.

Now, Manelski wants each of the firm's 2,500 employees to be a "citizen data scientist," meaning they'd be able to use basic tools that fit their particular needs, regardless of position or location.

READ MORE HERE >>

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