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Omega Advisor’s Cooperman, Under SEC Siege, Plays the ‘Trump Card’

April 11, 2017

Leon Cooperman, Chairman of Omega Advisors, is stuck ‘between a rock and a hard place’.  In September 2016, the SEC charged Cooperman and his hedge fund firm with insider trading – charges he claims are without merit. Unfortunately, many investors cashed out, to the point where the majority of Omega consists of Cooperman's personal capital.


In February, U.S. District Judge Juan Sánchez in Philadelphia deferred issuing a ruling on a request by Cooperman’s lawyers to dismiss the SEC civil case. The judge said he would take the request “under advisement.” This is one case that has Wall Street’s attention.


THE STORY.    Yesterday, Market Realist reported that Cooperman had some very nice things to say about President Trump in a CNBC interview.  Among other things, Cooperman said that:


… Trump’s pro-growth agenda and proposed policy changes have driven markets higher and that Trump’s focus on various economic policies could lead to higher job creation, since it has already improved investor sentiment.


… Trump is popular with most American citizens - despite his record-low popularity across reliable polls and his loss of the popular vote in November.


… Trump’s proposed changes in policy are what’s driving market sentiment, and Trump’s upcoming tax reform package could be a big advantage for the economy. If Trump can get his reforms through Congress, to be sure, it would create a huge transformation in the U.S. economy.


FINANCIALISH TAKE.    Leon Cooperman is a renowned investor and Financialish takes no sides in his case with the SEC. That said, Cooperman appears to be “playing his Trump card,” so to speak, perhaps in the hope that Trump will come to his rescue in the SEC insider trading case. The timing is right, given the likelihood that lawyer Jay Clayton, Trump’s nominee to chair the SEC, will soon be confirmed.


Such a gambit may work because Trump has an insatiable appetite for compliments and confirmations – they’re affirmations of his success in the White House. And, if it should not work out, then Cooperman is no worse off than where he started.