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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Will Howard Present Keep Fighting?

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

It's still not clear what happens next for Howard Present, the co-founder and former chief of F-Squared.

As previously reported, on Friday in federal court, a jury found Present liable on all counts in the SEC's securities fraud case against him. There has been no word yet on any punishment associated with the case or on the possibility of appeal, and the SEC has so far been completely mum about the result beyond issuing a short statement on Friday night.

"While Mr. Present was surprised and clearly disappointed with the verdict, it is premature to determine if he will pursue an appeal," a spokeswoman for Hogan Lovells, the law firm representing Present, tells MFWire. "Mr. Present is also pleased that after several years, the facts of the case are now part of the public record. One such fact is that no investors suffered any losses from his, or his firm's, conduct."

Indeed, the public side of the F-Squared performance reporting scandal goes back about three years, while the performance reporting in question covers the years from 2008 to 2014. F-Squared's post-scandal fall from grace was dramatic — Present was replaced as CEO, and within a year of the revelations coming to light F-Squared's AUM had evaporated and one of its competitors was buying F-Squared's business assets out of bankruptcy. Yet the scandal and the SEC's case is about two levels of performance reporting problems (treating back-tested performance as live performance, and then inflating that back-tested performance), not about what F-Squared did with investors' money.

Back in 2014, F-Squared ended up settling with the SEC for $35 million. Yet Present himself wouldn't settle and insisted on a jury trial instead. 

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