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State Bond Commission Poised To Give Another Hedge Fund Money

by | Nov 14, 2016 3:08pm
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Posted to: Town News, Greenwich, Jobs, State Budget

AQR Capital’s website

After a controversial decision earlier this year to give $22 million to the world’s largest hedge fund, Connecticut’s Bond Commission is looking to give $35 million to a Greenwich hedge fund managing $172.4 billion in assets.

On Tuesday, the state Bond Commission is being asked to approve a $28 million loan and $7 million in grants to AQR Capital in Greenwich. In exchange for the help from the state, the company will retain 580 jobs and create up to 217 new jobs within two years, according to the Bond Commission agenda.

The first $13 million of the loan will be forgiven if the company retains 797 jobs for two years. According to its website, the company already had 744 employees as of Sept. 30, 2016, but not all of its employees are in Connecticut. The company also has offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, and Sydney, according to its website.

The company will receive an additional $15 million forgivable loan with the goal of another 189 jobs within five years. The company would also be eligible for $7 million in incremental grants if it creates and retains an additional 140 jobs for a total of 1,126 jobs.

When the state gave $22 million to Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, the deal was criticized by a number of people on both sides of the political aisle because it comes at a time when the state is struggling with its debt, which is taking up an ever-increasing part of the state budget.

In May, following a 7-2 vote in favor of giving Bridgewater Associates a forgivable loan, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Connecticut competes with other states for these companies and when the state started discussions with Bridgewater Associates in 2012, the company was looking to move its operations and employees to Westchester County, New York.

It’s unclear if there was any threat that AQR Capital would be moving without the loan. Phone calls to the company were not returned.

In a Nov. 9 press release from the governor’s office, John Howard, Principal and Chief Financial Officer at AQR Capital Management, said “We look forward to working with the State of Connecticut to further expand AQR’s positive economic contribution in the state. Participating in the program enables us to continue to attract and retain the best talent and serve our clients well over the long term.”

The economic incentives will support the firm in making anticipated infrastructure investments in Greenwich, including leasehold improvements and office space expansion, as well as technology enhancements to the firm’s data center in Trumbull, according to the governor’s press release.

“AQR and its employees have spent over a decade contributing to our state, and we’re pleased that the company has committed to expanding its presence and growing jobs here for another 10 years,” Malloy said in the Nov. 9 press release. “Fueling growth in our core industries is one of the keys to our state’s long-term economic success.”

A spokeswoman for Malloy said the deal isn’t simply about retaining jobs, but helping the company expand its footprint in Connecticut for the next 10 years.

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