Friday, December 23, 2011

- Hedge Fund 2011 Returns

I'll probably make someone angry by using a metaphor like this, but looking at these numbers makes me feel like one of the guys that survived on D-Day. The dead and dying careers are everywhere I look. These number are horrible, and for more than one person I think the linked report on the Zerohedge page will be the the final item on their resume.

Many of my former co-workers are listed here and a few of my friends are listed by name. That's got to be tough. Their numbers are all catastrophic. And thanks to the recent rise of economic populism, that will bring cheers of 'good riddance' from places like Freerepublic and the bastions of the far left.

But that's wrong. Even on the right people don't understand the value that Wall Street adds anymore, and the way things are going they'll all live to regret that lack of knowledge. These days wishing for the demise of anyone who works on Wall Street is the only real non partisan issue.

Not accounting for personal lives (where I can't speak for anyone but myself) the only sin that all these guys are guilty of is succeeding. And for far too many people these days, that's sin enough. But these aren't too big to fail banks. They're small private companies - the very largest of them no more than a few hundred people. And more than one will certainly be failing now.

I'm posting a gain this year - about 5% give or take a breath if things go close to expectations next week, but with a big chunk cut out of the middle of the year while I changed jobs. Annualize my daily or monthly returns and it works out to more like a 12% year, which is closer to my historic average.

But numbers are numbers, and that makes this the second 'single digit' up year of my career (the first was 2008). I still have never had a down one. The prospects are also looking great for me for next year. I'm in as strong a position as I've ever been career wise, working with people I like in a position that I'm well suited to. It can all be in flames in a minute, but all things considered the future looks bright for me personally.

But it's hard to be too jubilant. At best it feels like all I've done is survive when far too many didn't. What's worse, I've survived in an environment where many people out there would rather I had died with the rest of them.

Man. It's really been very a tough year.


Anonymous said...

The most amazing thing, perhaps, is that you came out ahead while many others, and I'm sure talented people too, didn't... and yet you still have time to churn out this blog with the kids and everything else I gander you have going on... Kudos.

Comments for a few of the last blogs... I can't even stay on top of all of them and I'm not as busy as you but...

The "bug-out" or "prepper"-thing has merit. For people like me that are doing it... it's not a solo project as it takes a community as they say and in my rural community there is a loose confederation of likeminded people who are going to circle the wagons. Your comments a few blogs ago, I believe in reference to Victor Hansen's piece, touched close to home as he lives not too far from me and I see Fresno in a different light. The San Joaquin Valley will not be the place to be if the SHTF but I concur, I don't think it will and it's interesting hearing your take on it and why it won't, coming from a completely different socio-economic and professional strata than where I reside.

I would still take the sticks here to central Jersey, any day.

There are some worrying trends... Black Friday was memorable not for sales stats but for the violence. Guns were purportedly the biggest seller that day.

The bigger concern for me is the sheer ignorance that's out there, from how to make a basic repair on one's automobile, to the workings of the federal gov't or the labyrinthine ways of the financial markets. People working in the service sector and that's a lot of people out here, with rough educations and no time, have no way of accessing this stuff but worse, the curiosity isn't there to engender the research and never was.

From my time in NY/NJ and repeated forays back due to family... I have to agree with one of the other anonymous contributors... The tri-state people and I think the coastal urban types on both coasts are a panic attack ready to happen. So long as the system is running normally else where, folks in say, NYC are going to know that if the going gets bad, the bad will pass.

There is a perception however that never before has our system been so exposed to or been so prone to failure and I have to concur that a highly complex and evolved system of trade, delivery, infrastructure, support, utilities, etc., is more susceptible to interruption and stoppage than it was in say 1930 or 1980 when the world was more analogue than digital.

The succession of events since Sept. 11... Katrina, the sub-prime implosion, a half-dozen near terrorist attacks, tornados where there didn't use to be tornados... whether a matter of just more people being around than there used to be or more news coverage and connectivity than there ever was, regardless, there seems to be a heightened sense of vulnerability where there didn't use to be.

What this contributor is feeling is a sort of foreboding like I haven't felt before (I'm in my late 30's), I have traveled OCONUS extensively, I am educated, have sense of history and historical perspective not limited to events in this country and I guess I'm detecting a feeling like things aren't just going not right, things are changing irrevocably and in a way which will diminish our standard of living, threaten our freedoms and lead to a US which will maybe not be such a nice place to be.

I was not around in the 1950's, or the other reportedly sanguine moments in US history but my guess is people weren't talking about impending collapse, survival of the fittest and "preppers" as that was still an era of expansion, idealism and patriotism.

It could be that all of this is just part of the historical flow in the rise and fall of nations and what we're undergoing is in no way unusual for a nation of our age, status and history.

It's just that, I've got this funny little feeling that someth'n here just ain't right.

Tom said...

See my next post for a response. thanks.