$300 Million Grant to Retain Fortress Star

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Who says it's only the founders of hedge fund firms that have a shot at a nine-figure payday? Fortress Investment Group granted star macro hedge fund manager Adam Levinson 31 million shares of the publicly traded firm, valued at $300 million.

The grant places Levinson among five other executives who together hold a controlling interest in Fortress, says The Wall Street Journal.

Its purpose is to encourage the portfolio manager to stay aboard instead of eventually bolting to start his own company. The shares vest over time as long as Levinson remains with Fortress. He also agreed to relinquish portions of his profit-sharing interests in certain Fortress funds back to the company and its shareholders, according to SEC filing.

Levinson's windfall "highlights the quandary of publicly traded private-investment outfits," the Journal says. "On the one hand, they must compensate elite traders and dealmakers richly enough so they don't leave for a competitor or start their own firms... But public firms also answer to shareholders, who often look down upon outsize pay packages." At least one analyst, Citigroup's Prashant Bhatia, wrote that the move dilutes existing shareholders' interests by raising Fortress shares outstanding by 7 percent.

Levinson is the chief investment officer of the firm's $8.8 billion global macro hedge fund. That Fortress fund has returned 15% annually on average since inception in 2002. This year, however, it is down 2 percent through June, while other companies' global macro funds are up 6.5 percent on average, according to Hedge Fund Research.

The Journal article also details the 38-year old Levinson's around-the-clock work day. He's in the office by 6:10 a.m. each morning and apparently stays until around 10 p.m., taking a two-hour break soon after the U.S. equity market close. Even after going to bed, he answers anywhere from "a couple" to seven business-related calls on any given night.

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