One of the big questions and one some of us are getting asked quite a few times these days is it already time to buy back or still better to wait was answered by a Californian hedge fund manager – Andrew Lahde – who made one of the biggest percentage profits of all time and bowed out of the business last Friday with a fierce attack on the “idiots” running big banks who were willing to take the other side of his bets.
He also demonstrated how to say good by in style (when you’ve made your profit).
Below a quote from the letter he sent out and published on the INet (link to full text below):
Today I write not to gloat. Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be entirely inappropriate. Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding. Instead, I am writing to say goodbye.
Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, “What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it.” I could not agree more with that statement. I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.
There are far too many people for me to sincerely thank for my success. However, I do not want to sound like a Hollywood actor accepting an award. The money was reward enough. Furthermore, the endless list those deserving thanks know who they are.
I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions. I have enough of my own wealth to manage. Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life.
So this is it. With all due respect, I am dropping out. Please do not expect any type of reply to emails or voicemails within normal time frames or at all. Andy Springer and his company will be handling the dissolution of the fund. And don’t worry about my employees, they were always employed by Mr. Springer’s company and only one (who has been well-rewarded) will lose his job.
I have no interest in any deals in which anyone would like me to participate. I truly do not have a strong opinion about any market right now, other than to say that things will continue to get worse for some time, probably years. I am content sitting on the sidelines and waiting. After all, sitting and waiting is how we made money from the subprime debacle. I now have time to repair my health, which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past two years, as well as my entire life — where I had to compete for spaces in universities and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management — with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not. May meritocracy be part of a new form of government, which needs to be established.
On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal. First, I point out the obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight years, which would have reigned in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions. These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen. This is an outrage, yet no one seems to know or care about it. Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving government. Capitalism worked for two hundred years, but times change, and systems become corrupt. George Soros, a man of staggering wealth, has stated that he would like to be remembered as a philosopher. My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the common man’s interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their interests or lifestyles. This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system, Linux, which competes with Microsoft’s near monopoly. I believe there is an answer, but for now the system is clearly broken.
- Financial Crisis 101: Why CDS could never work
- Humor: Music videos about the Financial crisis
- US Credit Crisis: Fed borrowing shown as a chart
- Quote of the day: Different minds
Many still call or describe CDS (Credit Default Swaps) as a kind of insurance policy against credit risk to limit the risk of the lender. Well that might be so in their dreams or it has been used as a camouflage by the bankers to persuade the investors of the quality – or to mislead them on the lack of it – and suggest that there would be an underlying asset.
And that’s were all the problems start. To issue or construct a CDS there was never a requirement to actually being linked to, i.e. having provided or taken out the credit or having an contractual agreement with these two parties.
Everybody could issue CDS completely unregulated and unlimited. This is of course the reason for the incredible amounts being pushed around and it also provides the reason that – in rare cases CDS might have been an insurance against credit defaults – but in general these papers were only betting slips if certain events might occur most similar to betting on horses or dogs races.
If these instruments would have only been allowed to use for …
Four music videos on the banking crisis based on some all time classics – from Elton John’s Candles in the Wind / Bankers in the Wind to Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire / Wall Street Meltdown
If you would like to see the “official version of how much money the Fed is pumping into banks and financial institutions recently, have a look at the chart below.
The gray shaded areas are times officially recognized as recessions. The underlying data is available at the St. Louis Fed web site together with a charting application that allows you to further customize the range and other parameters.
To better visualize the substantial change we have split the data into two charts:
The larger chart shows the borrowing from the FED for the period 1919 to 2007 and the smaller one data for 2008 only. As you can see during these almost 90 years borrowing remained continuously within a range of almost none to max 8 Billion USD per month.
Since the beginning of 2008 the numbers have drastically changed and are now at about 155 Billion USD per month. The monthly figures for 2008 in detail…
Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, 1884 – 1962, First Lady of the United States