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July 11, 2018  

Scaramucci Plans Revival of SALT Conference

Two months after returning to SkyBridge Capital, Anthony Scaramucci is setting the stage for the next SALT conference in Las Vegas.

The future of the conference had been in doubt at least since January, when SkyBridge canceled what would have been the 10th-annual event in May. But last month Scaramucci hired an executive to revive SALT, scheduling the next conference for May 7-10, 2019. There’s no word yet on a venue for the event, which in the past was held at the Bellagio casino.

In recent years, Scaramucci relied on SkyBridge executives Victor Oviedo and Kelly O’Connor to produce the event. Indeed, Bloomberg reported last year that Oviedo and O’Connor would assume ownership of SALT once Scaramucci sold his stake in SkyBridge to China’s HNA Group amid plans to join the Trump Administration. But Oviedo and O’Connor left SkyBridge late last year or early this year as it became clear that the HNA deal was unraveling.

In their place, Scaramucci has hired Joe Eletto as a SkyBridge vice president with primary responsibility for SALT. Eletto, who started last month, will set the conference agenda, promote ticket sales and corporate sponsorships, and set a budget for what had been the industry’s premier networking event. Eletto previously worked at online retailer Jet.com, and earlier did recruiting for Google. Scaramucci said he also has experience organizing conferences.

Scaramucci and Oviedo launched SALT in 2009 with the aim of reviving SkyBridge’s fortunes following the financial crisis. The event quickly developed a reputation for attracting A-list speakers and big-name fund managers, not to mention some of the splashiest entertainment on the conference circuit.

The chemistry was altered in January 2017 when Scaramucci announced he was leaving SkyBridge to join Trump’s team. He served as White House communications director for all of 11 days before being dismissed.

Scaramucci returned to SkyBridge as co-managing partner in May after HNA dropped its bid to purchase his 44% stake in the business. At that time, Scaramucci said he intended to rebuild the SALT franchise.

SkyBridge manages $6.2 billion in funds of funds and advises on another $4 billion of nondiscretionary assets. In Scaramucci’s absence, the firm was led by Raymond Nolte.

In a July 9 interview with Bloomberg, Scaramucci said SkyBridge had suffered net outflows of $1.7 billion in 2017 and early 2018. But he said the outflows have since stopped amid high-single-digit returns across many of the firm’s funds. He expressed confidence that SkyBridge could have $20 billion of assets within five years. Scaramucci also said SkyBridge has inked a deal with HNA under which the conglomerate will distribute SkyBridge’s products in China. As part of that effort, SkyBridge plans to hire staffers for a new office there.

Shortly after SkyBridge canceled SALT 2018, conference organizer Context Summits announced it would fill the void by hosting a capital-introduction event in Las Vegas. The first event was held in early May. Now that SALT is returning to Vegas, it’s unclear whether Context will follow through with plans to host a conference there next May.