Andrew Lahde is pulling up stakes, and the hedge fund manager isn’t looking back.
Mr. Lahde, hailed by The Financial Times as one of the best-performing hedge fund managers of the past two years, has told investors that he wants to wind down Lahde Capital while the going was good. In a letter sent to investors on Friday, Mr. Lahde’s only market prediction was that conditions would remain difficult.
But the letter also takes a wide-ranging and sometimes philosophical tone in the letter. Mr. Lahde, who says he will stick to managing his own wealth, says he doesn’t particularly care for a lasting legacy. “I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths,” he wrote. “Meanwhile, their lives suck.”
October 17, 2008
[QUOTE]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 good-bye.
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 of 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.
Lastly, while I still have an audience, I would like to bring attention to an alternative food and energy source. You won’t see it included in BP’s, “Feel good. We are working on sustainable solutions,” television commercials, nor is it mentioned in ADM’s similar commercials. But hemp has been used for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from petroleum products. Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa. Hemp is the male plant and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term. The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp. It was used as recently as World War II by the U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won. At a time when rhetoric is flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in this country? Ah, the female. The evil female plant – marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country. My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other addictive drugs,
than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers. This policy is ludicrous. It has surely contributed to our dependency on foreign energy sources. Our policies have other countries literally laughing at our stupidity, most notably Canada, as well as several European nations (both Eastern and Western). You would not know this by paying attention to U.S. media sources though, as they tend not to elaborate on who is laughing at the United States
this week. Please people, let’s stop the rhetoric and start thinking about how we can truly become self-sufficient.
With that I say good-bye and good luck.
All the best,
Many Hedgies are in trouble with clients pulling out assets. Hedge funds are undergoing massive redemptions and are unwinding many of the positions they've spent years building, notably in energy and commodities. This is a big reason that the market was pushed down so hard, especially right at the end of the day, a couple of times in the past two weeks. Look at the volume and you'll see what's happening.
In laymans terms, hedge funds have positions in stocks, bond, commodities and other assets. When a customer calls up and says, "I want my money out" then that hedge fund manager is forced to sell assets to come up with the cash for the redemption. Even if the fund manager thinks its a bad time to sell or that prices will move higher, he has no choice. He MUST sell in order to meet the cash requirements. This is one of several factors playing in the market right now and if you know where the look, it leads to good opportunities for the rest of us to start buying into some things that have been artificially devalued here.
Actually, it's the retail mutual funds whose redemptions are causing this immediate market selloff..at least in equities (stocks). Hedge Funds usually have 60-90 days to liquidate assets & return money to investors. However, the incredible amount of leverage these funds have put on has forced them to sell their fixed income positions (bonds & bank debt) as soon as possible- but there are very few buyers..that's why this is a "credit crunch"...stocks are always the last to sell off.
To me this letter signifies an end of an era. These hedge funds basically operated under their own rules. Govt accomodated them and there were even special ways where the hedge fund managers were taxed that benefited them great.
Unbelievable money was made and in many ways these guys pushed the envelope especially in the NY area in pushing up real estate, and other luxury expenditures.
It seems like Lahde didn't think it much of a life.
I loved what he had to say about alcohol vs pot. That issue is so symptomatic of what is wrong with our society now. When I went to the the Jet/Titans game in Nashville a few years ago my son and I went to see Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's plantation. His primary crop was hemp. I really didn't know much about it and my son explained it all to me. Revolutionary times were really dominated by it. Puritanical and corporate America then takes over after WWII and bans it.
Like he says. Is so much better for Americans to buy the crap put out by the pharmas and distillers. Such crap.