Entries by Simon Lack

Force-feeding Capital to European Banks

There can be little doubt that the European sovereign debt crisis has finally drawn the full attention of Europe’s leaders. After following events from a more than discrete distance, it is starting to look as if a consensus is evolving around three principles: 1) Greater write-down of Greek debt 2) More realistic stress tests of […]

Paulson's Paradox

My upcoming book The Hedge Fund Mirage explains how investors have not done nearly as well as the hedge fund managers to whom they have entrusted their capital. However, a handful of managers have genuinely created enormous wealth for their clients as well as themselves. Rick Sopher from  Edmond de Rothschild Group did some research […]

The Tyranny of Low Rates

Ultra low interest rates may be the Fed’s best bet at preventing the economy from sliding into another recession, but for savers they represent a stealthy attack on the real value of savings. Money market funds barely pay anything at all, and even ten year high grade corporate bonds only yield 4%. After taxes that leaves very little […]

High Frequency Trading's Social Utility

The New York Times reported yesterday that regulators around the world are examining High Frequency Trading (HFT) with a view to curbing its influence over short term market moves. The use of computer algorithms to execute short term trading strategies has resulted in physical proximity to stock exchanges being valuable so as to reduce latency in the transmission […]

The Principal Agent Problem in Private Equity

Peter Morris has written an interesting article noting the principal-agent problem as it relates to investors in private equity. Peter spent 25 years working in financial services and is the author of a report written for the Center for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI) called Private Equity, Public Loss? Peter and others have pointed […]

Why Comstock Resources Has Fallen Too Far

In sorting through the wreckage of the past quarter’s bear market, I’ve spent some time reviewing Comstock Resources (CRK). We own CRK – we liked it at $30 a share truth be told, although we did have the good sense to lighten up the position at those heady levels. CRK is a natural gas E&P name […]

How UBS mismanaged its way to a profit

The good news from UBS today is that they expect to post a modest profit for the third quarter.  This is in spite of losing $2.3 billion through the unauthorized trading of Kweku Adoboli. On top of that, the woefully inadequate risk oversight that Mr. Adoboli so painfully exposed has forced UBS to hasten the […]

The Sorry Math of Bonds

The equity risk premium (as defined as the earnings yield on stocks minus the yield on the ten year treasury note) is wide for good reason. 2012 consensus earnings for the S&P 500 of $105, which implies an earnings yield of 9.3% (September 30 S&P 500 at 1131) and a spread over the 1.90% yield on […]

The Credit Risk in Bank of America

Many perverse things are happening in financial markets beyond the easily visible carnage in equity markets. Take Bank of America (BAC) for example. Credit insurance for one year through a credit default swap (CDS) costs 4.35% (according to Bloomberg). One year LIBOR is 0.85%. How does Bank of America function in today’s money markets, where […]

Bank Debt is Attractive

We’ve recently started investing in some closed end funds that buy senior loans. The sector became quite overpriced in the Spring and several funds were trading at a premium to NAV. The last couple of months has reversed this, and now it’s possible to buy funds at discounts to NAV of 5% or more. On top […]

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