Monday, September 17, 2007

Hedge funds or Leverage funds?

One of the best examples of the word misnomer is "Hedge Fund". Hedge funds are about everything but hedge. Bloomberg recently reported blowup by the so called "quant" hedge funds in August (again). One Goldman's Golden Alpha fund - Which bet for the Yen carry trade and lost 22.5% in august. Interestingly, Japanese housewives, a group becoming prominent forex traders also lost money in the month of August thanks to carry trade (where they were Yen short an Australian Dollar long.), which means the complex mathematical models employed by Goldman's alpha fund are not much different than those employed by Japanese Housewives, who are without the luxury of enormous amount of computing power at their disposal. This is not to demean Mrs. wattanabe, but the point here is - There is no "complex mathematical model". Most of the Hedge funds lost an average of 1.6% in August while the S&P gained 1.5% in the same month. Hence if some of those hedgefunds had actually "hedged" their speculations against S&P a lot of their losses will be "contained".

Mish's weblog has got a few interesting posts to read about it.

This is plain simple speculation amplified by leverage. So what should the name be? Golden Alpha Obscene Leverage Fund?

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