Soros and Citadel's Griffin called for Uncle Sam to keep his tired old hands off of hedge funds, while Harbinger Capital’s Falcone and Renaissance Technologies’ Simons said a little more investment disclosure couldn’t hurt. The investors did agree, though, that more oversight of those dangerous little securities called credit default swaps would be helpful in staving off any of those crisis things.
Also in the news today was another bigwig who infamously took the stand not long ago, Lehman CEO Dick Fuld. Last night, Fuld and his wife, with the help of Christie's, auctioned off some of their prized paintings, and just like Dick's testimony in front of Congress, people weren’t buying what Fuld had to offer. But despite the trouble the Fulds had in ditching their Bacon (their Francis Bacon self-portrait, that is), they did manage to book a nice profit on Gorky’s "Study for Agony I," which they bought for $370,000 and sold for $2.2 million. (As a side note, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich had no trouble yesterday getting rid of his Basquiat, which he pawned off for a cool $13.5 million.)
As reports of finance job layoffs kept coming in (today’s unlucky winner was the Royal Bank of Scotland), a handful of hedge fund head honchos—including George Soros, Phil Falcone, Ken Griffin and James Simons—testified in front of Congress in connection with a federal investigation into the causes of the current crisis. The big-time investors, many of whom pocketed over $1 billion last year, were split on whether more regulation of the hedge fund industry is needed.