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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What Do Cliff Asness and Sports Moguls Have In Common?

News summary by MFWire's editors

Sports teams dreaming of new stadiums are the only businesses that taxpayers pay to stick around.

Cliff Asness' quantitative hedge fund and mutual fund shop, AQR Capital Management [profile], and fellow hedge fund giant Bridgewater Associates, have both been offered millions in financial incentives to stay in their home state of Connecticut and create jobs. Alexandra Stevenson of the New York Times highlights the incentives, as well as the controversy around them.

Cliff Asness
AQR Capital Management
Managing and Founding Principal
The incentive package for Greenwich-based AQR includes: $7 million in grants to help with an expansion; and eligibility for $28 million in forgivable loans (forgivable if AQR keeps 540 jobs in the state and adds up to 600 more over the next decade).

"This is a win-win job incentive program for both AQR and Connecticut that builds on our strong record of job growth in the state," an AQR spokesman tells the Times.

"Let me put it this way — usually companies don't call up and say 'We're going to leave if you don't pay us.' ... Between the lines, we understand that these companies are looking elsewhere," Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, tells the Times. "In this case, it was not overt but we wanted to provide something that would be competitive."

Yet like taxpayer-supported sports stadiums, Connecticut's aid to fundsters is not without detractors. The article notes that state comptroller Kevin Lembo voted against the aid for both AQR and Bridgewater, as he prefers supporting manufacturing jobs. Lori Pelletier, president of the Connecticut A.F.L.-C.I.O., also weighed in for the article. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor


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