Meredith Whitney, who built her own Wall Street advisory firm after winning renown for a 2007 call on Citigroup Inc., deregistered her brokerage unit after three unprofitable years and is setting up an investment fund, according to industry records.
Meredith Whitney Securities LLC ended its registration with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. on Aug. 28, Finra's website shows. In addition to her advisory firm, she's now chief investment officer and managing principal of a long/short fund, according to regulatory records that list Kenbelle Capital LP among her ventures.
Ms. Whitney, 43, registered Kenbelle with New York state's corporations division in April. It's an investment manager to a partnership based in Bermuda, according to a legal notice in a newspaper there.
A push into funds would add another twist to her career. She left Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. to start Meredith Whitney Advisory Group LLC in 2009, buying the brokerage that year with plans to expand into trading. She predicted a U.S. municipal bond apocalypse in 2010 that hasn't materialized, also saying she would hire hundreds for a bond ratings service.
Ms. Whitney didn't return calls for comment.
Her advisory firm hasn't posted research for clients on its website since Sept. 19, according to a page showing several posts per week before then. The Wall Street Journal reported that the company had only one full-time investment professional, Angela Cantu, as of June. She has since left for Blackstone Group LP, according to her LinkedIn profile. She didn't respond to messages seeking comment.
Ms. Whitney started the advisory business amid media coverage including a Fortune cover story crowning her “the woman who called Wall Street's meltdown.” Her brokerage's Securities and Exchange Commission filings list no revenue in the past three years and about $96,000 in expenses. The unit was inactive last year outside of maintaining compliance and “introducing its services to the market,” according to the most recent report.
After predicting muni defaults totaling hundreds of billions of dollars in a December 2010 segment of “60 Minutes,” she told Bloomberg News that it had been “a guesstimate” involving “fifth-derivative dimensions.” Instead of collapsing, munis became a star performer of 2011.
Long/short funds make bets that some prices will fall and that others will rise, sometimes using leverage and derivatives, to profit in a variety of conditions.
Ms. Whitney's personal wealth took a hit during the financial crisis despite her forewarnings about New York-based Citigroup, according to an interview she gave Bloomberg Businessweek this year.
“I think I lost between a quarter and a half a million dollars on financial positions,” she said. “I rode Lehman [Brothers Holdings Inc.] all the way down to zero. It's pretty ironic, right?”