Third Point's Loeb cancels appearance in face of protest

NEW YORK Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:36pm EDT

Daniel S. Loeb, founder of Third Point LLC, participates in a panel discussion during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Daniel S. Loeb, founder of Third Point LLC, participates in a panel discussion during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Marcus

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb has canceled plans to speak at an investor conference in Washington D.C. on Thursday after certain pension funds threatened to confront him at the event.

Loeb said his appearance at the event was derailed by "false reports" on his position on defined benefit (DB) pension funds for teachers, according to a letter reviewed by Reuters.

Loeb, the founder of New York-based $11.6 billion Third Point, was scheduled to speak at the Spring conference of the Council of Institutional Investors (CII) on Thursday morning on a panel about hedge funds and corporate governance.

However, due to growing tensions over his alleged position on defined benefit pension plans, he pulled out on Wednesday.

"Over the past week, incorrect statements about my position on the issue of Defined Benefit Pension Plans ("DB Plans") have been made in conjunction with my planned appearance at CII's conference," Loeb said in a letter addressed to Anne Sheehan, the Chair of CII dated April 17. "I have never taken a position against DB Plans nor has any philanthropic organization I lead."

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has taken issue with Loeb as he is on the board of an organization called StudentsFirstNY, which AFT says wants to get rid of defined benefit plans for teachers.

"My support for and contribution to DB Plans is demonstrated by maximizing returns for union members who rely on us to deliver their pension goals," Loeb said in the letter.

Loeb, who is one of the more than $2 trillion hedge fund industry's best known names, manages money for several public pension funds, as well as other institutional investors and high net worth clients.

In a statement, Sheehan said she regrets but understands Loeb's decision to cancel.

(Reporting By Katya Wachtel and Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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