He did explore some of the deeper causes of racial disparities in the world’s richest country, saying that more would be put into healthcare and the ability to raise business capital in minority communities.Later, in an interview with the generally friendly Fox News network, he described the “horror” of watching Floyd’s death on cellphone footage shot by a witness.But critics say he is incapable of embracing broader public fears, pointing to the contrast between shows of empathy from previous presidents during crises and Trump’s instinct for fighting and insulting foes, even in the midst of calamity.”For weeks we’ve seen President Trump run away from a meaningful conversation on systemic racism and police brutality. Instead, he’s further divided our country,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday.”Today’s trip to Texas won’t change any of that. President Trump is more interested in photo ops than offering a healing voice as our nation mourns.”Despite his poll numbers being underwater five months ahead of election day, Trump is betting that he needn’t change tack.His base has remained loyal throughout the extraordinary turmoil, and he has made clear his priority is getting back on the campaign trail.Immediately after his remarks in Dallas, the president heads to his first campaign fundraiser since the COVID-19 lockdown began — a $580,600 per couple event. Then he flies to his golf course resort in New Jersey for the weekend, another post-COVID first.On June 19 he will restart his mothballed series of rallies — raucous, often two-hour love fests between Trump the entertainer-in-chief and thousands of his most loyal supporters — with an event in Oklahoma. “We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear, but we will make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots,” Trump said.The Republican has struggled to find the right tone to address the explosion of protests over the last two weeks in the wake of the death of an unarmed African-American man, George Floyd, as he was arrested in Minneapolis.That crisis, coupled with the economic devastation of the COVID-19 shutdown — and the fact that the pandemic continues to kill up to 1,000 people a day — has left the country crying out for healing.Trump, whose political style is built largely on fierce division and exciting his right-wing base, faced pressure to encourage unity in Dallas. Magnet for controversy Some Americans may want calm after months of rancor, but that’s one thing the former reality TV star is not giving.Even the choice of Tulsa, Oklahoma, for his resumption of rallies generated controversy.June 19 is known as “Juneteenth,” the day marking the end of slavery in the United States. Tulsa, however, is notorious as the site of a 1921 massacre of African-Americans.As he left for Dallas, Trump lambasted Democratic leaders of Washington state, where he said “domestic terrorists” had taken over Seattle, referring to protesters.He also doubled down on his latest culture wars battle, insisting again he will refuse demands to change the names of US military bases honoring leaders of the slave-owning, rebel South during the Civil War.Back in Washington, there were new tensions between the White House and the military when the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, apologized for appearing alongside Trump during a controversial walk to a church on June 1, minutes after police violently dispersed protesters.”I should not have been there,” Milley said in his unexpected comments. Hitting the trail The choice of Texas for Thursday’s trip was notable because the state — Republican for decades — is turning in to a battleground. Trump won narrowly in 2016 and a Quinnipiac poll last week put him only one percentage point ahead of Biden.In 2016, polls and politics watchers in general got it wrong about Trump, who ran a chaotic campaign against the ultra-professional Hillary Clinton yet still scored a famous electoral college win.This has left many election watchers gun-shy. Even so, current polls make grim reading for the Republican.The FiveThirtyEight average shows Trump’s approval rating at just 41 percent, having taken a big hit from his handling of the COVID-19 and racism crises.The RealClearPolitics average for a presidential election match-up puts Biden at 49.8 to Trump’s 41.7.Worse for Trump — given his hope of repeating his electoral college win, even if losing the overall popular vote — Biden leads in almost every swing state. Topics : US President Donald Trump on Thursday rebooted his flagging reelection campaign with a speech starkly rejecting nationwide protesters’ claims of police racism, saying only a “few bad apples” are to blame.Far from reaching out to demonstrators’ searing anger, he offered only a vague proposal to “encourage” officers to meet “the most current professional standards for the use of force.””You always have a bad apple, no matter where you go,” said Trump, who is making law and order a new keystone of his bid to win a second term on November 3. “There aren’t too many of them in the police department.”
Hedge funds are facing a ‘critical period’ in wake of US pension fund’s decision to divest from asset class, writes Christopher O’DeaThe recent decision by US benchmark public-employee pension fund CalPERS to eliminate its entire $4bn (€3.1bn) hedge fund allocation signals the potential review of hedge fund holdings at all pension funds at a time when the vehicles are struggling to improve sluggish returns and reduce volatility that’s unsettling investors looking to them to dampen fluctuations in portfolios.While hedge funds represent only about 2% of CalPERS’ portfolio, the fund’s investing strategy is a widely watched barometer for how public-employee funds allocate their assets.“Hedge funds are certainly a viable strategy for some, but, at the end of the day, when judged against their complexity, cost and the lack of ability to scale at CalPERS’ size, the Absolute Return Strategies programme is no longer warranted,” said Ted Eliopoulos, CIO. CalPERS’ move has been in the making since this spring, when Eliopoulos took over as interim CIO, replacing his predecessor, Joe Dear, who died earlier this year. Eliopoulos, who joined CalPERS in January 2007 as senior investment officer for real assets, was named CIO just days after CalPERS announced it was terminating its hedge fund programme.The change will result in asset withdrawals from 24 hedge funds and six funds of hedge funds. CalPERS says it will take about a year to exit the funds in a manner that does not result in a negative impact on the value of its holdings.But CalPERS’ decision has already put a spotlight on the value of hedge funds to pension portfolios, says Frederick Rowe, vice-chairman of the Employees Retirement System of Texas and general partner at Greenbrier Partners, a money management firm in Dallas. Rowe believes it’s time for all pension funds to weigh the contribution of alternatives against the cost of holding hedge funds. “I think they should look,” he says.Meanwhile, Donald Steinbrugge, CFA and managing partner of hedge fund consultancy Agecroft Partners, says investors, as a result of the CalPERS news, can expect continued downward pressure on hedge fund fees for large mandates.Over the last five years, “there has been a strong trend of hedge funds increasingly offering fee breaks for large pension funds and the clients of institutional consulting firms”, he says.Managers initially discounted management fees only, but now discount performance fees as well.“For a typical hedge fund with a 2-and-20 fee structure, the discount is often 25% off standard fees,” he says. But he adds that, on average, pension funds will continue to increase their allocations to hedge funds.That’s because most institutions currently target an after-fee return assumption of 4-7% for a diversified portfolio of hedge funds – compared with core fixed income at only 2.5-3%.“As long as the expected return is higher for hedge funds than fixed income,” he says, “we will continue to see money shift from fixed income to hedge funds.”That’s held true so far. Hedge funds continued to garner assets at a strong pace in August, with more than $12bn flowing into alternatives, pushing total industry AUM to another all-time high of more than $3trn, according to eVestment’s Hedge Fund Asset Flows Report.With US equities at record highs, “alternative exposures to equity and credit markets make a lot of sense for today’s institutional investors”, says Peter Laurelli, eVestment vice-president of research.Yet, despite fee discounting, hedge funds just aren’t getting the job done. Hedge fund returns have lagged the S&P 500 by a wide margin over the last one, three and five-year periods ended in June, according to research firm Preqin.And while institutional investors look to hedge funds to dampen volatility, the sector got off to a rocky start in 2014 – the Preqin All Hedge Fund Benchmark posted a loss in three of the first four months of the year, leaving nearly one-third of respondents in the firm’s second-quarter investor confidence survey dissatisfied with hedge fund performance.While it may take some time for pension investors to alter their alternative allocations, Rowe says the industry has entered a critical period – and hedge funds face a fundamental challenge.“When you have a diversified group of managers,” he says, “it’s going to be hard to beat the market after expenses and fees.”And fee discounting only proves the point. “You start out behind, and it’s hard to catch up.”
A young man has been taken into police custody after he was caught with a quantity of cannabis in his possession while travelling in public transportation.The 24-year-old suspect of New Amsterdam, Berbice, was a passenger in a minibus on the East Coast Demerara (ECD) when the vehicle was stopped by police.Reports are that at about 15:00h on Friday, police ranks stopped the minibus at Vigilance Public Road, ECD, but as they looked at the passengers, the young man appeared nervous. This resulted in his belongings being searched and the drugs were unearthed. The Berbician was taken into custody. The cannabis weighed 1945.5 grams.He is being processed for court.In February, a duo was also intercepted by police ranks with a quantity of cannabis in a minibus.The passengers were en route to Georgetown from Berbice when the minibus in which they were travelling was stopped at Weldaad Police Station, West Coast Berbice (WCB).Based on a tipoff, the two passengers were searched during which 1986 grams of the illegal substance was unearthed.On January 15, another passenger was nabbed by ranks with some 3283 grams of cannabis concealed in seven taped parcels on the Weldaad Public Road, WCB.The suspect, a 28-year-old of Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam, Berbice, was intercepted at about 14:10h while en route to Georgetown.This publication understands that acting on information, the ranks stopped the vehicle in which he was traversing and searched him when the discovery was made.