Boots Asensio's Brokerage
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Manuel Asensio's Clients
Q. How many clients does Asensio have?
A. Four, according to his answer to a reporter in September 2001.
A. Hedge funds who apparently want to remain anonymous.
He does not disclose their names.
A. The site cannot speak for his clients. But it's clear that anonymity
enabled them to have simultaneous long/short positions without detection for many years.
It's also possible that being known as a supporter of Asensio's activities might
who cherishes a reputation as a respected businessman, professor, and/or
A. Reading the public record in the Hemispherx lawsuit. It contains a report by former SEC accountant Robert Lowry that namesBlue Ridge Capital (also known as JAG Holdings); West Highland Capital; Quilcap; and Paulson Partners as clients. Paulson told the Wall Street Journal that he ended his relationship with Asensio after receiving a subpoena.
Q. Who owns Blue Ridge Capital (aka JAG Holdings) and where is it located?
A. John Griffin owns the fund, which is located in New York city. Griffin is vice-chair of the board of trustees of the University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, a visiting scholar there, an adjunct professor at Columbia University, and a trustee of several foundations.
Q. What about Quilcap and West Highland?
A. Quilcap is owned by
Parker Quillen, who manages several hedge
funds under its umbrella (Little Wing and Tradewinds). The SEC has few filings
from Quillen's funds. They are probably small enough to be exempt from
quarterly filing requirements. Quilcap is located in New York City.
Some former employees now work for
Kingsford Capital Management. Kingsford originally operated from West Highland's office but now has its
own in Point Richmond (another Bay Area suburb). Former West Highland
portfolio managers David Scially and
Mike Wilkins own the fund, which they founded
Also noteworthy is that Asensio
claims to be a principal in a short-biased hedge fund. Naturally, he does not
reveal its name, despite his obligation to make full disclosure.
The hedge fund universe has only a handful of short-biased funds. Kingsford
is one, and Asensio is known to be close friends with co-owner
A. Yes. In a sworn deposition given in 2002, Asensio acknowledged that Mike Wilkins of West Highland Capital and Judy Stone and Parker Quillen of Quilcap assisted him "with everything" related to preparing his reports on Chromatic Color Sciences. In his words, "We worked closely together" [page 178].
That is the only admission we have from Asensio himself. However, our own analysis shows that certain reports he claims to have authored were obviously the work of his clients. We've also questioned whether clients drafted complaints about companies they were shorting that Asensio sent to regulators. The letters did not disclose that he represented hedge funds with large short positions who would profit handsomely from regulatory action against those companies.
Q. Does Asensio's compensation come from serving as broker to hedge fund clients?
A. Very unlikely. During the Hemispherx trial, he told jurors that his clients pay him "what they want to, when they want to, and how they want to." Similarly, Exhibit B of the Lowry Report
shows that his hedge fund clients used other brokers to handle their trades.
A. He told the jury: "We do research and we publish that research and people act upon that research. . . . They pay us based upon what they believe our research is worth over time."
Q. If clients sponsor his recommendations, why is there no disclosure of their support?
A. Asensio and his clients need to answer
the question—but haven't. That they have
evaded it reflects poorly on them and regulators, who have
minutiae rather than the most material issues in their complaints against
him. Everyone agrees it would be
fraud if a company sponsored an analyst recommendation without making
disclosure. Yet Asensio and his clients operate as if there is no
parallel when they engage his services to circulate
attacks on their problem short positions—attacks that in some cases
they have obviously written themselves.
A. Yes, several do. But it's obviously not possible to rule them in or out as clients based solely on these similarities.
Page Created 11/30/02 ● Updated 1/26/06 ● Updated 12/28/07