Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Insider Case Draws In a Surgeon Turned Banker

November 2, 2010, 7:53 PM
When FrontPoint Partners came to light on Tuesday as the unnamed hedge fund that federal authorities said had traded on inside information from a French doctor, so did the name of another doctor: Chip Skowron.
FrontPoint said late Tuesday that it had placed Dr. Skowron on leave indefinitely.  The firm’s announcement follows the arrest of Yves Benhamou, the French doctor accused of tipping off an unnamed fund manager about setbacks in a clinical drug trial by Human Genome Sciences.
FrontPoint, which is being spun off by Morgan Stanley, would not elaborate beyond its statement.  But the firm’s announcement of Dr. Skowron’s suspension provided an obvious No. 1 guess for anyone trying to figure out the identity of that mystery portfolio manager.
Dr. Skowron could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. No charges were announced against him or FrontPoint.
The criminal and civil complaints against Dr. Benhamou only describe the fund manager he is accused of tipping off as a managing director at an investment bank who co-manages six health care hedge funds.  The manager also had an apparent penchant for attending medical conferences; he once told Dr. Benhamou that he hoped to dine with him in Paris before heading to Milan to attend a meeting of the European Association for the Study of the Liver, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s complaint said.
Dr. Skowron, for his part, has a deep medical background. A one-time orthopedic resident, he holds a medical degree from the Yale School of Medicine and a Ph.D. in cell biology from Yale’s Graduate School.  He has also published several scientific articles.
Another thing known about Dr. Skowron: He has a long history of volunteer work for the nonprofit organization AmeriCares. An article about him in the trade publication AR Magazine last year opened with the scene of Dr. Skowron removing a tumor from the leg of a 6-year-old boy in Kosovo. (A decade ago, before his finance days, he also made a cameo in a New York Times article about the nonprofit.)
After switching from medicine to finance, Dr. Skowron worked as a health care analyst atMillennium Partners and SAC Capital, according to a biography posted on the Web site of AmeriCares, for which he is now a director.  From there, he moved to FrontPoint to co-found its health care team and also took on the title of managing director at Morgan Stanley.
– Thomas Kaplan

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