(Originally posted on 15th of September 2009)
It would be irresponsible of me not to make any comment with the one year anniversary of what would become one of the biggest financial crisis in history. It was one of those events which was supposed to be a six sigma event. However those six sigma events are becoming more frequent. There are various theories which seek to explain these phenomenon but I will save it for another day. The collapse of Lehman,AIG, the selling of Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Scotland created a paradigm shift which changed the face of banking and the way people viewed bankers and people working in the financial industry. Last Halloween the hottest costumes were that of a banker and Sarah Palin. Suddenly bankers were placed on the same platform as Guy Fawkes, Osama bin laden and George W. Bush. The irony of these three names are that they are viewed as super heroes by some people and villains by others.
Hedge Funds are placed in the same basket and the recent ads by Stella Artois are a hit below the belt. My view was and continues to be that Hedge funds are the only instruments that could have eased the fall. However the brilliant members of the central banks of the world over decided to ban short selling. I liken that move to blaming an undertaker for making profits during an epidemic and preventing from digging graves to bury the body.
The big banks were a monarchy. They ruled the world. Now the people are fighting back. I cannot say whether their cause is just or whether they are even aware of what they are fighting for. The people will win this round but the big banks will be back to their behemoth best in some form or the other. In the mean time I continue to believe that Hedge Funds are one of the best alternatives. I end with a quote made about a person who was a prince in a lot of people’s hearts. Jennifer Grey paid tribute to Patrick Swayze on his death by saying “Gorgeous and strong,he was a real cowboy with a tender heart.” “He was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace” In my view Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing provides a good metaphor for hedge funds. Johnny Castle was exotic, attractive, kind,misunderstood and had humble beginnings. However he was the only one who had the strength to say “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”