Hedge fund manager Andrew Lahde spectacularly departed the industry last month after his one-year-old fund returned 866 per cent betting against the subprime collapse. The Californiabased manager’s “goodbye letter” blasted the industry for its greed and stupidity.
The email has already been passed around more times than a credit default swap, but here are a few excerpts for those who missed it. “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 goodbye. What I have learned about the hedge fund business is that I hate it. 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 behaviour 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. Some people 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.”