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Fairfield Greenwich Group

Fairfield Greenwich Group
Fairfield Greenwich Group is an investment firm founded in 1983 in New York City by Walter M. Noel, Jr. (born 1930), a native of Nashville, Tennessee. Presently, he has a 17% ownership interest.[1] The firm is operated from Noel’s hometown in Greenwich, Connecticut. He had previously been a private banker in Lausanne, Switzerland, then worked at Citigroup before becoming the head of Chemical Bank’s international private banking practice in Lagos, Switzerland, and Brazil.[2] In 1989, he merged his business with a small brokerage firm whose general partner was Jeffrey Tucker, who had worked as a lawyer in the enforcement division of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also has a 17% interest in the firm. [3] Fairfield is primarily a distribution business, offering feeder funds of single-strategy trading managers.[4] Fairfield more recently started several fund of funds, each investing in a basket of hedge funds, though the offering of feeder funds has been the primary business of Fairfield. It boasted to its prospects that its investigation of investment options was “deeper and broader” than competitive firms because of Tucker’s regulatory experience. Though he is not nearly as prominent as the Noels, who move in the forefront of Connecticut society, Tucker benefited just as much from Fairfield’s success. In 2007, Tucker, chairman of Empire Racing, led the group of thoroughbred investors, who sought to bid for New York State’s horse-racing franchise. [5] Both Noel and Tucker are semi-retired. [6] Fairfield Greenwich’s web site says it "employs a significantly higher level of due diligence work than typically performed by most fund of funds and consulting firms."[7] It is an employee-owned firm with 140 employees, 21 of whom are shareholders. It manages $16 billion in assets.[8] It is reported that foreign investors provided 95% of its managed assets, 68% from Europe, 6% from Asia, and 4% from the Middle East. Each of Noel’s four daughters married into international families.[9]

Personal life
Noel met his Portuguese-speaking wife, Monica, 66, from the prominent Swiss Haegler family of Rio de Janeiro and Zurich, while she was studying at Wellesley College, near Boston. They have five daughters and 19 grandchildren. The girls graduated (in order) from Yale University, Georgetown University, Georgetown, Brown University, and Harvard University.[10] They married into international families that provided additional connections for the firm. The eldest, Corina, 45, who in 1989, married Andrés Piedrahita, a Colombian, lives in Madrid London and Manhattan.[11] Lisina, 44, who lives in Milan, married Yanko Della Schiava, the son of the editor of Cosmopolitan in Italy and of the editor of Harper’s Bazaar in Italy and France. Ariane, 42, who married Florence-born Marco Sodi, head of VSS’s London-based affiliate, Veronis Suhler Stevenson International, and a partner and managing member of Veronis Suhler Stevenson Funds,[12] lives in Notting Hill, London. Alix, 41, who married Philip J. Toub, the son of a director of the Saronic Shipping Company, in Lausanne, Switzerland lives in Greenwich.[13] Marisa, 31, who married Matthew Brown, the son of a former mayor of San Marino, California, lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Presently, Brown works for the family. In 1974, the Noels purchased a five-bedroom home for $225,000, borrowed from both of their families. [14] It has evolved into an 8,600 square foot 8-bedroom, 9-bath colonial home, valued in 2005 at $6 million, on two acres in Greenwich. They also own an apartment on Park Avenue in Manhattan, a home in Palm Beach, FL, a summer home in the Southampton, NY and a 42-room retreat on Caribbean island of Mustique.[15] [16][17]

Family Business
Reportedly, the family fortune is worth more than $14 billion. [18] Three of Noel’s sons-in-law eventually became partners in marketing, and spent much


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of their time promoting the firm’s funds in either their home countries or regions where they had their own family connections. Piedrahita, named a Fairfield founding partner in 2007, owns 22 percent,[19] is based in Madrid and London and became one of the firm’s dominant representatives of European and Latin American banking and investment. Mr. Della Schiava was based in Madrid and Lugano, Switzerland.[20] Piedrahita, Della Schiava and others, reaped many millions of dollars in investor capital from Europe. Toub was the “agent” for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the Safra National Bank of New York and the National Bank of Kuwait.[21][22] His niece, Bianca Haegler, a well-known Brazilian socialite, and her father, Alex, reportedly steered Brazilian investors to the firm, [23] as well as, Monica Noel’s cousin Jorge Paulo Lemann, Brazil’s richest financier, co-owner of InBev, Budweiser’s parent company. [24]

Fairfield Greenwich Group
The firm had 48 percent of its capital tied to Madoff.[32] According to Fairfield’s offices in Spain, Spanish investments totalled $89.1 million.

Bernard Madoff Investments
In 2008, an acquaintance recalled Walter bragging, "Everything I am, I owe to Bernie [Madoff]." The Noels were transformed from an upper middle class family to flashy decadence. They drove fancy cars and spent money on lavish, over-the-top parties, yet wanted to be seen as the old-money country club set, which they never really were.[25]. Tucker, a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Harvard Law School, and Fred Kolber, another original founder of Fairfield Greenwich and the stepfather-in-law of Manhattan socialite Tatiana Boncompagni Hoover, introduced Fairfield to Madoff in the early 1990s. It was Tucker’s wife, Melanie’s family, from Scarsdale, New York who knew Madoff and were made rich by him.[26] [27] It is alleged that in 2007, Tucker earned more than $30 million in fees from Madoff.[28] Even in down markets Madoff helped Fairfield earn steady returns. The firm set up feeder programs with such banks as Banco Santander, SA private banking unit, Banif, Swedish Bank Nordea, Zurich-based NPB Neue Privat Bank, Banque Benedict Hentsch and Cie of Geneva, all conduits of fresh money to Mr. Madoff which extended his global reach. [29][30][31]

Banif invested €19.5 million.[34] NPB invested $5 million.[35] Banque Benedict Hentsch invested $48 million.[36] Santander’s Geneva-based Optimal fund bought more than 3.1 billion in Madoff funds,[37][38] and earned $52.7 million in 2007 and $43.3 million in 2006 in "investment manager’s fees". [39] Union Bancaire Privée, invested less than $1.08 billion (of its $124.5 billion in assets) in Madoff funds.[40][41] In March, 2009 Genevabased wealth manager, Union Bancaire Privée, offered to partially compensate investors 50% of the money they initially invested with Madoff if they agree to stay with the bank for the next five years and promise not to sue.[42] On May 8, 2009, a lawsuit against the bank was filed on behalf of New York investor Andrea Barron by law firm Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossman LLP in Manhattan in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The lawsuit is seeking class-action status for investors in UBP Funds as of Dec. 11, 2008, and damages, including the return of management fees.[43] During the summer of 2007, several private-equity firms were discussing taking a large investment in the firm, but Madoff ended any potential deal by refusing to grant the potential investors access for due diligence. [44] In 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission, as part of an investigation into Madoff’s activities, determined that Fairfield Greenwich hadn’t properly disclosed that Madoff oversaw its investment decisions, though no evidence of fraud was found. Subsequently, Fairfield Greenwich began promoting its close relationship with Madoff – and in the process raised about $1.7 billion from investors in the US and Europe.[45] Fairfield’s fee arrangement earned them approximately $400 million from 2005-2008. The firm charged clients larger fees than most similar firms do, including a 20% share of profits on investments, about double what competitors charge that farm out clients’ money to a variety of fund managers. In October 2004, it also began collecting a 1% fee on assets under management.[46] Madoff


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didn’t charge additional fees, rather a commission on trades he allegedly executed. This arrangement raised suspicions and doubt among other money managers.[47] It is unconfirmed whether Noel was collecting additional fees from Madoff. [48] In August 2008, JPMorgan Chase pulled $250 million from this Madoff feeder fund account. Chase had become "concerned about lack of transparency", and had performed due diligence which had "raised doubts" about Madoff’s operation. [49]

Fairfield Greenwich Group
he’s the master.’ I trusted Andrés. I still trust him."[54] In early 2005, The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority invested approximately $400 million. After redemptions in 2005 and 2006, it continued to $132 million, 2% of the funds assets. One of the largest of the world’s sovereign wealth funds, its assets were estimated in early 2008 to be approaching $700 billion.[55] Korea Life Insurance invested about $30 million to $50 million in the fund.[56] Cathay Life, a Taiwan insurer invested about $12 million.[57] Samsung Investment and Securities invested about $6.3 million.[58]

Fairfield Sentry Fund
It is estimated the Noel family earned $500 million from this fund. A former employee described it as a "veil of secrecy".[50] The Fairfield Sentry fund required a $100,000 minimum investment and was billed as a way to tap Madoff’s trading expertise using "algorithmic technology" while Fairfield with due diligence conducted "systematic investment compliance".[51] It had more than $7 billion invested with Madoff, and became one of his largest victims. It was Fairfield’s signature fund, one of several feeder funds through which money from wealthy foreign investors could capitalize on Mr. Madoff’s investment acumen. Its marketing prospectus promised low volatility and steady returns, and boasted 11 percent annual return over the last 15 years, with only 13 losing months, a record that grew increasingly desirable over recent years of volatility.[52] The fund was backed by loans from banks including Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Nomura Holdings, which invested about $304 million.[53] The Mugrabis, extremely wealthy art collectors from Colombia who have lived in New York for more 20 years, and long time friends of Piedrahita (a Colombian who had married Mr. Noel’s eldest daughter, Corina), were investors. "We had very little money with the fund — just under a million dollars — so I am not that upset personally," said Alberto Mugrabi, a son of the family patriarch. "It was a very informal thing. We know Andrés (Piedrahita) since forever, from Bogotá, he’s a great guy, and he says to us, ‘This is the Madoff thing,

Lion Fairfield Capital Management
In 2004, the firm formed a partnership with Lion Capital of Singapore, now Lion Global Investors, and created Lion Fairfield Capital Management, a joint venture meant to introduce Asian investors to the firm. Richard Landsberger, a Fairfield parner is director.[59]

Stellar US Absolute Return
In 2006, Stellar US Absolute Return was incorporated in Singpore. It borrowed $3 for every dollar of investor money it received, in an effort to extract higher returns.[60]

New funds
As recently as December 11, 2008, the day Madoff was taken into federal custody, Madoff was working with Fairfield Greenwich to raise money for new funds, which promised about a 16% return, using more leverage than the 3–1 ratios, he "claimed" he used in existing funds. It has been reported by one client that Fairfield warned investors they would be excluded from any future Madoff product, if they declined to participate in the new fund and/or withdrew from any existing funds. [61] Wall Street financier Kenneth Langone, was sent a 19-page pitch-book, allegedly created by the staff at the Fairfield Greenwich Group. Madoff said he was raising money for a new investment vehicle, between $500 million and $1 billion for exclusive clients, was moving quickly on the venture, and wanted


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an answer by the following week. Langone declined.[62]

Fairfield Greenwich Group
Hentsch have immediately taken all appropriate steps in order to protect the interests of its clients and those of the bank.[65]

Auditor shopping
On February 4, 2009 Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos testified before Congress. In his prepared statement, on page 20, he discussed Fairfield Greenwich’s accounting practices regarding its choice of auditors and the frequency with which it switched them, giving the appearances of "auditor shopping." In 2004, the firm embarked on a three-year auditing shopping spree, the first, a small firm, Berkow, Schecter & Co. of Stamford, Connecticut. In 2005, the second was PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Netherlands. In 2006, the third was PricewaterhouseCoopers of Canada. A firm that chooses to switch auditors frequently, suggests that some deception is occurring. Changing auditors annually, breaks the sequential chain, prohibits the auditors from really seeing what the numbers look like year after year, and allows breaks and adding-in assumptions. This kind of activity can be devastating to credibility and accuracy.[63]

Fairfield Greenwich is the target of at least three class-action suits filed by angry investors in U.S. [66] On April 1, 2009, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts filed a civil action charging Fairfield Greenwich with fraud, breaching its fiduciary duty to clients by failing to provide promised due diligence on its investments. The complaint seeks a fine and restitution to Massachusetts investors for losses and disgorgement of performance fees paid to Fairfield by those investors. It alleges that in 2005 Mr. Madoff coached Fairfield staff about ways to answer questions from SEC attorneys who were looking into Harry Markopolos’ complaint about Madoff’s operations.

In September 2008, Banque Bénédict Hentsch, a private Swiss bank, managing $2 billion in assets, merged with Fairfield Greenwich Group, intending to yield an $18 billion venture in combined assets. Bénédict Hentsch, founder and chairman of the board of directors, stated that clients would gain access to Fairfield Greenwich’s funds, while Fairfield Greenwich clients would be able to access BBH’s wealth management services. Bénédict Hentsch and Robert Pennone became directors of Fairfield Greenwich Group and Charles Murphy and Mark McKeefry joined the board of Banque Bénédict Hentsch Fairfield Partners SA.[64] In mid-December 2008, it terminated the merger due to the Madoff crisis. It had $47.5 million of client assets at risk with Madoff. The founding shareholders of the bank have terminated their partnership with the Fairfield Greenwich Group. They have concluded an agreement with the latter whereby they have repurchased the total capital of the bank [...] Banque Bénédict

On April 13, 2009, a Connecticut judge dissolved the temporary asset freeze from March 30, 2009, and issued an order for Walter Noel to post property pledges of $10 million against his Greenwich home and $2 million against Jeffrey Tucker’s. [69] Noel agreed to the attachment on his house “with no findings, including no finding of liability or wrongdoing." Andres Piedrahita’s assets continue to remain temporarily frozen because he was never served with the complaint. The principals are all involved in a lawsuit filed by the town of Fairfield’s pension funds. The pension fund case is Retirement Program for Employees of the Town of Fairfield v. Madoff, FBT-CV-09-5023735-S, Superior Court of Connecticut (Bridgeport). [70] [71][72] On April 24, 2009 an amended complaint[73][74] to include fraud, was filed which is related to a class action lawsuit which was filed in the New York State Supreme Court by Pasha and Julia Anwar in December, 2008[75] The complaint accuses Fairfield’s fund managers of failing to manage the investors’ money with due diligence, leading to “avoidable losses” from Madoff’s firm. The investors also attack Fairfield for reaping “unjust” fees. [76] Fairfield is a defendant in a lawsuit filed in Miami against PricewaterhouseCoopers Ireland by investors in a fund marketed by defendant, Banco Santander SA, Europe’s


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second-largest bank by market value, which lost an estimated $3 billion.[77] On May 18, 2009, Picard sued Fairfield Greenwich Group seeking the return of $3.2 billion during the period from 2002 Madoff’s arrest in December, 2008. $1.2 billion was withdrawn in the final three months of the fraud. [78] Since 1995, the Fairfield funds invested about $4.5 billion with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, or BLMIS, through 242 wire transfersThe funds are Fairfield Sentry Ltd., Greenwich Sentry LP, and Greenwich Sentry Partners LP.[79] Spanish anticorruption prosecutors are investigating Fairfield Greenwich as well as Mr. Piedrahita to determine what they knew about Mr. Madoff’s fraudulent funds when they sold them to Spanish clients. [80] • • • • • •

Fairfield Greenwich Group
IRS Madoff investment scandal Ponzi Scheme Pyramid Scheme Stanford Financial Group White Collar Crime

[1] 2009/04/ noel200904?printable=true&currentPage=all [2] SB122947686926212703.html [3] 2009/04/ noel200904?printable=true&currentPage=all [4] [5] business/ 20madoff.html?_r=2&pagewanted=4 [6] 2009/04/ noel200904?printable=true&currentPage=all [7] SB122947686926212703.html [8] keyword/Walter+Noel/content/ 2451737417 [9] business/ 20madoff.html?pagewanted=5&_r=2 [10] issues/20090215/ Golden+Girls+Get+Tarnished [11] SB123845782470271683.html [12] senior_management/ index.asp?d_Bio_ID=11 [13] business/ 20madoff.html?pagewanted=5&_r=2 [14] 2009/04/ noel200904?printable=true&currentPage=all [15] connecticut/articles/2009/01/29/ managers_luxe_life_on_the_line_in_madoff_case/ [16] gossip/pagesix/ losers_delusion_of_normalcy_145345.htm [17] mustique-developer-noels-theyrefrightfully-badly-behaved-snobs

After Madoff
Walter Noel and Jeffrey Tucker recently sold a one-sixteenth shared interest in a Cessna 560XL private jet, purchased in late 2006. Tucker wants to sell his three horse farms, Stone Bridge Farms, in Schuylerville and Gansevoort, NY, which he bought in 2004 for $18 million. They each include furnished homes. Most of his horses have been sold. [81] Some hedge-fund experts predict the firm will not survive the Madoff scandal. Tucker’s wife Melanie, an avid bridge player, was accustomed to using her husband’s jet to fly herself, and the bridge pros hired to play on her team, to bridge tournaments across the country. She now has postponed attending tournaments requiring air travel.[82] Executive Charles Murphy is selling the 1882, 12,000 square foot limestone townhouse, located at 7 East 67th Street, Lenox Hill, Manhattan. He bought the residence from Seagram liquor heir Matthew Bronfman in 2007 for $33 million.[83]

See Also
• • • • • • • • • Accounting scandals Allen Stanford Bernie Madoff Con Man FBI Financial crisis of 2007–2009 Fraud Greenwich, Connecticut Hedge Fund


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Fairfield Greenwich Group

[18] [39] issues/20090215/ SB123940737747310069.html Golden+Girls+Get+Tarnished [40] [19] SB122947686926212703.html 2009/04/ [41] noel200904?printable=true&currentPage=all madoff_clients/table [20] [42] Bryan, Cassell (2009-03-23). "MadoffSB122947686926212703.html Stung Union Bancaire Regroups [21]". business/ 20madoff.htmlpagewanted=5&_r=2 SB123776596117909221.html. Retrieved [22] on 2009-04-26. business/ [43] CO-20090511-714664.html [23] [44] news/regionalnews/ SB122947686926212703.html madoff_a_ripoff_victim_146174.htm [45] [24] products-and-strategies/content/ 2009/04/ 3352847441/ noel200904?printable=true&currentPage=all [46] [25] SB123940737747310069.html issues/20090215/ [47] Golden+Girls+Get+Tarnished products-and-strategies/content/ [26] 3352847441/ 2009/04/ [48] noel200904?printable=true&currentPage=all issues/20090215/ [27] Golden+Girls+Get+Tarnished issues/20090215/ [49] Golden+Girls+Get+Tarnished article/0,8599,1887338,00.html [28] [50] 04/01/massachusetts-sues-madoff-feederissues/20090215/ fund/?ref=global Golden+Girls+Get+Tarnished [29] [51] SB122947686926212703.html products-and-strategies/content/ [30] 3352847441/ business/ [52] 20madoff.html?pagewanted=4&_r=2 business/ [31] 20madoff.html?_r=2&pagewanted=4 business/ [53] 20madoff.html?pagewanted=5&_r=2 products-and-strategies/content/ [32] 3352847441/ 2009/04/ [54] noel200904?printable=true&currentPage=all business/ [33] 20madoff.html?pagewanted=5&_r=2 SB122947686926212703.html [55] [34] business/ SB122947686926212703.html 20madoff.html?pagewanted=6&_r=2 [35] [56] madoff_clients/table business/ [36] 20madoff.html?pagewanted=6&_r=2 madoff_clients/table [57] [37] business/ SB122947686926212703.html 20madoff.html?pagewanted=6&_r=2 [38] [58] madoff_clients/table business/ 20madoff.html?pagewanted=6&_r=2


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Fairfield Greenwich Group

[59] [72] business/ Town-of-Fairfield-suit-against-NEPC-and20madoff.html?pagewanted=6&_r=2 KPMG [60] [73] CO-20090427-712619.html 20madoff.html?pagewanted=7&_r=2 [74] [61] FairfieldAC.pdf business/bernies_bravado_144757.htm [75] [62] "Madoff Sought, Got Cash in Days Before ClassAction-Lawsuit-Against-FairfieldArrest". SmartMoney. 2009-01-09. Greenwich[76] news/smw/?story=20090107105536. business/industry_sectors/ Retrieved on 2009-01-29. banking_and_finance/article5386021.ece [63] [77] newsmakers/ SB123491638561904323.html Audit_shopping_Waxler.fortune/ [78] index.htm?postversion=2009020414 business/19madoff.html?ref=nyregion [64] [79] keyword/Walter+Noel/content/ [80] 2451737417 SB123845782470271683.html [65] [81] keyword/ 7567 %22Fairfield+Greenwich+Group%22/ [82] content/3352807294 print.php?url= [66] seven/02092009/business/ SB123845782470271683.html madoff_sell_off_154171.htm [67] [83] sctfairfield/fairfieldidx.htm default.aspx?story=9683 [68] SB123859307450378115.html?mod=googlenews_wsj [69] • Commonwealth of Massachusetts news.cfm?BRD=1653&dept_id=686445&newsid=20299234&PAG=461&rfi=9 Admininistrative Complaint and Exhibits. [70] 4/1/09 news?pid=20601087&sid=apLMJ4p8DYyY&refer=home • Amended Class Action Complaint Anwar [71] et al. v. Fairfield Greenwich Limited, et al. domesticNews/ Case No. 09-cv-118 U.S. District Court, idUSN3150504420090331 Manhattan, filed April 24, 2009.

External links

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