After last year's SALT conference's speaker roster included former President George W. Bush, Colin Powell, former Senator Chris Dodd, Obama advisor David Axelrod, and hedge fund managers Steve Cohen, Citadel's Ken Griffith, and Dan Loeb, I did not think that Skybridge Capital's Anthony Scaramucci would be able to present as dynamic a conference. I was wrong.
Some of this year's speakers are Sarah Palin; Nobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore; the irascible T. Boone Pickens; former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Harbinger 's Phil Falcone and Third Point's Dan Loeb, two hedge funders that have been grabbing headlines this week. The SEC is giving an off the record session about regulation. Maroon 5 will be giving a private concert headlining Wednesday's night of philanthropy.
A night of philanthropy is part of Scaramucci's holistic approach to conferences. Like a good Jewish mother, he tried to remind those in the audience, who have been fortunate, that they should give back to their community.
Some of the conference attendees include legendary investor Leon Cooper, who called me sweetie; and Emanuel Friedman, the former head of Friedman Billings and Ramsay; and president of ASA Gold, David Christensen. Apparently no one can refuse Scaramucci.
Friedman, who now runs a $2 billion hedge fund, told me, " I could not say no to Anthony, Skybridge has $100 million with me."
Some highlights from the speakers:
Morgan Stanley Chief Investment Strategist David Darst: Politicians are going to have to make tough decisions. He praise the job that current Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu did as finance minister because he slashed welfare and government employee pension benefits. He recommended "Start Up Nation," a book about the Israeli hi tech scene. He also described visiting Occupy Wall Street in his three piece suits on the way to his CNBC appearances
Star economist Nouriel Roubini: AA ratings are the new size 6
Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel: It is the 1950's all over again.
Phil Falcone, who is more thoughtful and low key than press accounts would lead you to believe:
is very concerned about liquidity. He is looking to raise permanent capital. Regulation is hurting the markets. He would recommend the quasi public stocks that he holds in his portfolio.
In general. the speakers, so far, think that Obama is going to win reelection and gold is going up.