NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- John Paulson will make his debut at the Ira Sohn Conference on Wednesday, in a rare appearance where the hedge fund manager is expected to publicly discuss his investment view and maybe even dole out a stock pick or two.
His appearance is unusual since Paulson is among a reserved group of hedge fund managers who consider their ideas a "secret sauce" that leads to huge investment earnings. It also comes after his firm Paulson & Co. suffered embarrassing setbacks last year.
The conference, started in 1995 to honor Wall Street banker Ira Sohn, has been a popular venue for savvy investment managers to share their market views and favorite stock picks. Stocks picked by managers often shoot up or plunge within minutes of their mention. The event will be held at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.
Paulson's funds were mostly in the red last year, with one of his largest funds losing nearly 50% on an overly optimistic a view of the U.S. economic recovery. His firm also took a hit from Chinese timber company Sino-Forest Corp., which was accused last June of fraudulently exaggerating the value of its plantation assets. Paulson soon sold the whole stake at a net loss of $100 million to pacify his investors.
So far this year, Paulson--who shot to fame with a $5 billion personal windfall from shorting subprime mortgages--is having mixed results. His Paulson Enhanced fund was up 13.3% in the first quarter, but his main Advantage fund slipped 1.05% on gold's decline, Reuters reported earlier. He manages over $20 billion in assets.
Paulson has been making an effort to explain his investment decisions to investors. Last month, he started sending investors a one-page commentary accompanying the funds' monthly performance numbers.
The Queens, N.Y.-native is also increasingly visible in public.
In February, he jumped onto insurer Hartford Financial Services' HIG +0.52% quarterly-earnings conference call, telling executives they need to "do something drastic" to boost their stock price. The surprise appearance foretold his current push for Hartford to split its property-casualty arm from its life insurance unit.
Paulson's planned appearance at the Ira Sohn conference is another sign that he's trying to salvage his reputation as one of the most celebrated hedge fund managers in recent years.
Even apart from Paulson, this year's Ira Sohn lineup of 14 managers is star-studded.
Pershing Square Capital Management's Bill Ackman, who's enmeshed in a bitter proxy fight with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP, CP.T) will attend, so will commodity hedge fund Ospraie Management's Dwight Anderson and Lone Pine Capital's Stephen Mandel.
Making a reappearance at the conference is Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn. His analysis of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s undercapitalized position in May 2008 were among a few notable events that foretold the collapse of the investment bank later that year.The Sohn Research Conference Foundation is dedicated to the treatment and cure of pediatric cancer and related childhood diseases. Most speakers at the conference choose to donate to the cause.