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jerryking : elliott_management   2

Labels in finance have become meaningless     | Financial Times
OCTOBER 18, 2019 | Financial TImes | by Tom Braithwaite.

In the hunt for returns, investment banks now offer credit cards and hedge funds sell books

Some of Goldman’s investment bankers fear the company’s diffuse range of activities dilute its core role. Once, Goldman Sachs touted itself as “a leading global investment banking and securities firm” advising on mergers and trading debt and equities, Goldman is now: a venture capitalist investing in the likes of Uber and WeWork; a retail bank offering accounts and short-term loans to ordinary consumers; a credit card issuer in partnership with Apple; and a software developer with a suite of applications. ....The finance industry is now full of companies uncomfortable in their own skins and trying to adopt more fluid identities. Blackstone, notionally a private equity firm, today makes more money from property. BlackRock, famous as one of the world’s biggest owners of public equities, is now getting into private equity buyouts. Elliott Management, an activist hedge fund, has ended up owning a football club, AC Milan, and two bookstore chains, Barnes & Noble and Waterstones. Barriers are breaking down and labels are fraying......It is this yield-starved world that sends financial companies roaming far and wide in a hunt for returns.....the IMF has pointed to renewed risks from pension funds’ headlong rush into alternative assets. The allocation to alternatives such as property and private equity has risen from just over 5 per cent in 2007 to more than 20 per cent today. The IMF warns of Woodford-like runs on a grand scale when investors rush to withdraw assets from such “open-ended funds”, yet another misnomer. “Such runs could force fund managers to engage in fire sales, further depressing asset prices, inflicting losses on other market participants, and, in the extreme case, increasing the risk for the financial system,” the economists warned. Always read the label, but never rely on it.
alternative_investments  Blackstone  BlackRock  Elliott_Management  finance  Goldman_Sachs  layer_mastery  selling_off  special_sauce 
october 2019 by jerryking
Paul Singer, Doomsday Investor
August 27, 2018 | The New Yorker | By Sheelah Kolhatkar.

Paul Singer, ,
The head of hedge fund Elliott Management, has developed a uniquely adversarial, and immensely profitable, way of doing business.

Bush had co-founded Athenahealth, a platform that digitizes patient medical records and billing claims for hospitals and health-care providers, in 1999, and he had built it into an enterprise with more than a billion dollars in revenue. One of the firm’s marketing taglines was that it freed doctors and nurses to spend more time doing what they loved—practicing medicine—and less time on paperwork. Athena served more than a hundred thousand health-care providers...... Paul Singer, the founder of Elliott Management and one of the most powerful, and most unyielding, investors in the world. Singer, who is seventy-three, with a trim white beard and oval spectacles, is deeply involved in everything Elliott does. The firm has many kinds of investments, but Singer is best known as an “activist” investor, using his fund’s resources—about thirty-five billion dollars—to buy stock in companies in which it detects weaknesses. Elliott then pressures the company to make changes to its business, with the goal of improving the stock price.....Hedge funds, especially activist hedge funds, are established users of private-investigation services.....The investor acknowledged that Bush was far from perfect, and said that “there is a role for activists to hold managements accountable.” But the investor worried that the focus on the bottom line would undermine the innovative spirit that had made Athena successful. “.....The idea that companies exist solely to serve the interests of shareholders—rather than also to serve workers, customers, and the larger community—has been dominant in the business world in the past thirty years. As the field of activist investing becomes increasingly crowded, many investors are going beyond their original mission of finding ailing or mismanaged companies and pushing them to improve. Instead, some have been targeting larger, financially prosperous companies, such as Procter & Gamble, Apple, and PepsiCo. ......Often, activists advocate for measures that drive up the stock price but can have negative effects in the future, such as the outsourcing of jobs, the elimination of research and development, and the borrowing of money to buy back a company’s own stock. The wisdom of these tactics has come under increasing scrutiny. Some of the most successful businesses to emerge in recent decades have staved off short-term pressures, forcing their investors to be patient with uncertainty and experimentation. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, wrote in an early investor letter that building something new “requires you to experiment patiently, accept failures, plant seeds, protect saplings.” ........Over time, this lack of long-term vision alters the economy—with profound political implications. Businesses are the engine of a country’s employment and wealth creation; when they cater only to stockholders, expenditures on employees’ behalf, whether for raises, job training, or new facilities, come to be seen as a poor use of funds. Eventually, this can result in fewer secure jobs, widening inequality, and political polarization. ..........Bush spoke about his last day in the office, when he had sobbed during his final address to Athena’s employees. He had also written a farewell letter. “I believe that working for something larger than yourself is the greatest thing a human can do. A family, a cause, a company, a country—these things give shape and purpose to an otherwise mechanical and brief human existence,” the letter read. “The downside about things that are larger than ourselves, of course, is that we who have the privilege of serving them ourselves are fungible. It is the fundamental definition. You can’t have the grace of the one without the other......Throughout our conversations, Bush returned to a theme that consumed him. He talked about how investors like Singer—financiers who take the assets built by others and manipulate them like puzzle pieces to make money for themselves—are affecting the country on a grand scale. A healthy country, he said, needs economic biodiversity, with companies of different sizes chasing innovation, or embarking on long, hard projects, without being punished. The disproportionate power of the Wall Street investor class, Bush felt, dampened all that, and gradually made the economy, and most of the people in it, more fragile.
distressed_debt  Elliott_Management  financiers  hard_goals  hard_work  hedge_funds  investors  long-term  patience  Paul_Singer  profile  shareholder_activism  Sheelah_Kolhatkar  time_horizons  vulture_investing  Wall_Street 
august 2018 by jerryking

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