July 6, 2020 / 9:53 PM / a month ago

Wall St investors scored emergency government loans amid pandemic

BOSTON, July 6 (Reuters) - Some investment firms, including those that run hedge funds or manage money for wealthy investors, are among the businesses approved for emergency U.S. government loans to help small businesses pay employees during the coronavirus lockdown, according to data made public on Monday.

They included Semper Capital Management LP, which bets more than $2 billion on mortgage and other asset-backed securities; Domini Impact Investments LLC, a mutual fund manager with about $2 billion under management; Brevet Holdings LLC, a $1.2 billion lending firm; and Truvvo Wealth Management LP, which manages more than $2 billion for large families and institutions.

Emails to the firms seeking comment were not immediately returned. The data does not track which loans were disbursed, paid back, or if they will qualify for forgiveness.

All told, the U.S. Small Business Administration said in a report on Monday that finance and insurance firms represented $12.2 billion across 168,462 loans, about 2.3% of the program’s total lending as of June 30. The figures for investment firms alone were not immediately available.

Many investment and wealth management firms are relatively small, and staff pay varies widely, often far from the stereotype of the billionaire jet-set financier. Unlike restaurants and hotels, many financial businesses remained open during the coronavirus-related lockdowns and shifted relatively smoothly to remote work.

Investment firms typically earn a percentage of assets under management and profits as fees. The markets rebounded sharply after hitting a low in late March, which would have reversed some of those losses.

The firms disclosed on Monday add to some already revealed in public filings.

Cohen & Company Inc, for example, said in May it had received $2.2 million under the PPP, noting its small market capitalization and lack of access to the public capital markets. The company declined a request for additional comment on Monday beyond its previous statement that, in part because of the loan, it “does not anticipate any significant workforce reduction or reductions in compensation levels in the near future.”

Some financial firms initially approved for loans quickly canceled or returned them amid additional guidance from the Treasury Department and media scrutiny. One was Metacapital Management LP, according to managing member Deepak Narula.

A spokesperson for another hedge fund listed as a recipient in Monday’s data, Advent Capital Management LLC, said it explored the idea of taking a PPP loan but never completed an application and did not receive any aid.

Reporting by Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Paritosh Bansal, Michelle Price and Dan Grebler

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