Westport Hedge Funds: The Sequel

Back in the day, Westport was the marketing capital of the world.

That was then. Hedge funds are now.

Though Bridgewater Associates gets most of the press, Main Street is home (metaphorically) to other firms that a few years ago would have been on Wall Street.

At the end of last year, Reuters reported on one:

Andy Hall, one of the world’s largest commodity hedge fund managers, has returned his Astenbeck fund to profit just before year end, helped by what he described as new winning positions in crude oil and corn.

Astenbeck

Until last month, the Westport, Connecticut-based Astenbeck, which has about $4.8 billion under management, appeared headed for a second year of losses after an unexpected slump in crude prices in October tripped up its long positions in oil. …

Its fortunes reversed with November’s performance, when it recouped almost everything it lost the previous month after a rebound in crude prices put its bullish bets on oil back on track.

I’m not sure how many Westporters — those not in the industry, anyway — have heard of Astenbeck.

They share the Nyala Farm office complex with Bridgewater. Unlike that bigger hedge fund, though — whose main headquarters are in the woods off Weston Road — Astenbeck has not gotten a sweetheart deal to move to Stamford.

The Nyala Farms office complex, near I-95 Exit 18. It's one of the hedge fund centers of the world.

The Nyala Farms office complex, near I-95 Exit 18. It’s one of the hedge fund centers of the world.

Yesterday, Astenbeck CEO Hall was back in the news. Bloomberg reported:

Andrew J. Hall, the former Citigroup Inc. oil trader whose pay package of about $100 million ensnared him in the fight over compensation at bailed- out banks in 2009, is selling handmade lavender soap and grass- fed Angus beef from a farm in Reading, Vermont.

There’s more to the story, of course. Bloomberg says:

He has torn down at least half a dozen homes in the 666-person central Vermont town and opened an appointment-only art museum there last year. His holdings, including Newhall Farm, are valued at more than $13.8 million, the records show.

Some townspeople think Hall’s work is “wonderful.” Others said they were “less sure, citing razed homes, the lower tax rate Hall pays on some of his land and a dispute with a next-door neighbor over power lines.”

Interesting. The truth — as it usually does — probably lies somewhere in the middle.

If you’ve got a Westport hedge-fund-that-usually-flies-under-the-radar story, click “Comments” to share.

25 responses to “Westport Hedge Funds: The Sequel

  1. i’m not sure i understand what you want…you want to demonize Westport hedge funds? to what end? Without business, Westport has no tax base…what would you like to happen, they all leave? typical liberal bashing

  2. Decades ago, my mother was with the Westport Red Cross blood bank and went for a blood drive to Stauffer’s when they were at Nyala Farms. Confronted by heavily armed guards in the entranceway, my mother quipped, “What’s with all the security – to guard STICKY BUNS?” The guard replied, “Ma’am, this is Stauffer CHEMICAL.”

  3. >> Demonize hedge funds … what would you like to happen? … no tax base?
    There’s a word for that: Weston.

    • exactly…is that what the goal here is? seems short sighted to me

      • Ask questions and seek answers

        Dan’s just doing his part to continue the liberal/democrat/administration meme as a good wanna be propagandist/ journalist to divide and conquer.
        Money is bad, green is good, capitalism is bad, socialism is good, guns are bad, gun free zones are good, personal responsibilty is bad/ nanny state is good…
        No original thoughts or counter thinking allowed. Just move along.

        • I desperately hope that we never meet

          • Doesn’t life get kind of boring, only hearing “yes”?

          • Ask questions and seek answers

            Me neither, since you are a greenie who prefers socialism to capitalism, gun free zones to real protection and a big ol’ nanny to your own personal decision making.
            You sound like a swell fella.

            • Hey, Dan, how’s that 20133 ‘06880’ civility thing working out?
              ; )

              • Ask questions and seek answers

                For Dan it’s working out well!
                A little controversy, different point of view fuels the fire. Keeps the hits coming on the blog; all good things for Dan.
                For everyone else they get to read another point of view the wouldn’t normally find in their usually circle of friends.
                And some may even say you stoked the flames a bit yourself.

              • John McCarthy

                This is uncivil?! Wow, we live in different worlds.

            • No, it’s because, as you just showed for the second time, you presume and generalize wildly. You have no idea if I believe any of the things you just listed.

              • Ask questions and seek answers

                Jake, you said you hope we never meet because I said what said.
                So I can easily infer from your response which side you’re on, now you want to claim I presumed too much about you.
                Hey Jake, pick a side, have some integrity and stick too it.
                It’s pretty damn simple, what I wrote wasn’t complicated.
                Then have an opinion! Strap on some balls and come out on one side of the issue or the other. I did!
                You can’t have it both ways. Can be offended by something someone says, then claim I don’t know how you really feel.
                Typical wishy washy liberal.
                Now Dan will probably ban me for telling you to man up and grow a pair or close comments because a grown up spoke up to another grown up.

                • Someone disagrees with you and says they don’t want to meet you and you can actually infer from that response that they are a “greenie who prefers socialism to capitalism, gun free zones to real protection and a big ol’ nanny to your own personal decision making” and they are a “typical wishy washy liberal”? That’s pretty damn impressive! Can you guess his astrological sign, date of birth, blood type and weight?

                • You’re just digging a deeper and deeper hole. I’m on the “side” of someone not being as deeply anti-social and nasty as you are. It doesn’t even come down to ideology. And you don’t even know if I’m a liberal, but you clearly have an irrational desire to attack “liberals.”

                  I thin we’re done here. Like I said, I don’t want to meet you and I surely don’t even want to type at you anymore.

                • Nope. I’ve never banned anyone. I think you’re confusing this with another. Feel free to continue posting under the many different aliases you use.

                • Axe to Grind?

                  You ascribe attributes and thoughts to people without any direct knowledge or evidence. And you seem overly impressed with your testicles. If this is where you do your thinking it would certainly explain your fertile imagination. Then again, you mostly shoot blanks (are your little thinkers all shriveled up?) and we are still waiting for a seminal thought from you.

        • This is Dan Woog’s 06880 blog, where Dan posts fun, informative and entertaining stuff about Westport-related things from his subjective perspective. Do you really come here seeking objective journalism on issues?

          Personally, I love Dan’s blog and his writing and hope his blog remains popular. But if you hate it so much, why do you so frequently visit the site and read it?

          But since it seems you can’t stay away, I have a question for you:

          Here’s what I read above:

          “Some townspeople think Hall’s work is ‘wonderful.’ Others said they were ‘less sure,’ citing ‘razed homes, the lower tax rate Hall pays on some of his land and a dispute with a next-door neighbor over power lines’ . . . Interesting. . . The truth — as it usually does — probably lies somewhere in the middle.”

          Am I missing something? How does that come across as “demonizing” — and how is it you perceive that as “liberal/democrat/administration meme as a good wanna be propagandist/ journalist to divide and conquer. Money is bad, green is good, capitalism is bad, socialism is good, guns are bad, gun free zones are good, personal responsibilty is bad/ nanny state is good…” etc.?

          Is it the presentation of two opposing views and his statement that the “truth probably lies somewhere in the middle” that made you think Dan’s a demonizing extremist?

          • TO EVERYONE:

            I don’t think Dan would deny that the “06880” blog has a left-leaning angle. Dan is a liberal (possibly a progressive?) and it peeks through, from time to time, in his posts. But in all fairness…it’s his blog. I always voice my disgust with it but also respect the man for it. It is what it is. Let it go.

            • Ask questions and seek answers

              Agreed, and I do like Dan and the service/entertainment/community gossip/etc he provides to us all.
              If I wanted “Fair and Balanced” I would tune in to FoxNews! 😉

  4. Madeleine Mercier

    This makes me sad. I realize it’s probably been a while, but I remember when first, Nyala Farm was a place anyone could go (kids, etc.), pet the cows, and enjoy the property. The farm supplied half-pints of milk for local school lunches — the barn was brought stone-by-stone from France. The property was sold with the caveat that it never be developed, except that the original buildings (house and barn) could be re-purposed, which they were, for offices for some time (but the land remained open). Apparently that didn’t hold up over time. Sigh. Happy for Westport, sad for another lost landmark. Thanks as always, Dan!!

  5. Axe to Grind?

    I just don’t see the negative in this blog entry. Please explain how this hedge fund has been “demonized”. The quotes are from Rueters and Bloomberg. Are they anti-business, anti-hedge fund or particularly liberal leaning? Dan does call the Bridgewater move to Stamford a “sweetheart” deal. That does sound negative to me, but then again you, too, are against CT spending tax payer money this way. .Dan’s comment about the controversy in Vermont seems balanced to me. People who have the money to make changes create controversy. Some people don’t like change, some do. Some people resent those who have the money (and the power that comes with it and some people appreciate when people with money spend it in their community.

    Please quote from “Westport Hedge Funds: The Sequel” something that supports your statements.

  6. Dan’s a good guy and all, but let’s be honest we visit to read the comments.

    • And there wouldn’t be comments to read if Dan didn’t write about controversial issues. Always with a left leaning view, that is.