Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. US Housing Market Real Estate Crash The Next Shoe To Drop – Part II - Chris_Vermeulen
2.The Coronavirus Greatest Economic Depression in History? - Nadeem_Walayat
3.US Real Estate Housing Market Crash Is The Next Shoe To Drop - Chris_Vermeulen
4.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications and AI Mega-trend Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
5. Are Coronavirus Death Statistics Exaggerated? Worse than Seasonal Flu or Not?- Nadeem_Walayat
6.Coronavirus Stock Market Trend Implications, Global Recession and AI Stocks Buying Levels - Nadeem_Walayat
7.US Fourth Turning Accelerating Towards Debt Climax - James_Quinn
8.Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Britain's FAKE Coronavirus Death Statistics Exposed - Nadeem_Walayat
10.Commodity Markets Crash Catastrophe Charts - Rambus_Chartology
Last 7 days
The AI Mega-trend Stocks Investing - When to Sell? - 28th May 20
Trump vs. Biden: What’s at Stake for Precious Metals Investors? - 28th May 20
Stocks: What to Make of the Day-Trading Frenzy - 28th May 20
Why You’ll Never Get Another Stimulus Check - 28th May 20
Implications for Gold – 2007-9 Great Recession vs. 2020 Coronavirus Crisis - 28th May 20
Ray Dalio Suggests USA Is Entering A Period Of Economic Decline And New World Order - 28th May 20
Europe’s Coronavirus Pandemic Dilemma - 28th May 20
I Can't Pay My Payday Loans What Will Happen - 28th May 20
Predictive Modeling Suggests US Stock Markets 12% Over Valued - 27th May 20
Why Stocks Bear Market Rallies Are So Tricky - 27th May 20
Precious Metals Hit Resistance - 27th May 20
Crude Oil Cuts Get Another Saudi Boost as Oil Demand Begins to Show Signs of Life - 27th May 20
Where the Markets are heading after COVID-19? - 27th May 20
Silver Springboards Higher – What’s Next? - 26th May 20
Stock Market Key Resistance Breakout Is Where the Rubber Meets the Road - 26th May 20
5 Ways To Amp Up Your CFD Trading Today - 26th May 20
The Anatomy of a Gold Stock Bull Market - 26th May 20
Stock Market Critical Price Level Could Soon Prompt A Big Move - 25th May 20
Will Powell Decouple Gold from the Stock Market? - 25th May 20
How Muslims Celebrated EID in Lockdown Britain 2020 - UK - 25th May 20
Stock Market Topping Behavior - 24th May 20
Fed Action Accelerates Boom-Bust Cycle; Not A Virus Crisis - 23rd May 20
Gold Silver Miners and Stocks (after a quick drop) Ready to Explode - 23rd May 20
3 Ways to Prepare Financially for Retirement - 23rd May 20
4 Essential Car Trade-In Tips To Get The Best Value - 23rd May 20
Budgie Heaven at Bird Land - 23rd May 20
China’s ‘Two Sessions’ herald Rebound of Economy - 22nd May 20
Signs Of Long Term Devaluation US Real Estate - 22nd May 20
Reading the Tea Leaves of Gold’s Upcoming Move - 22nd May 20
Gold, Silver, Mining Stocks Teeter On The Brink Of A Breakout - 21st May 20
Another Bank Bailout Under Cover of a Virus - 21st May 20
Do No Credit Check Loans Online Instant Approval Options Actually Exist? - 21st May 20
An Eye-Opening Perspective: Emerging Markets and Epidemics - 21st May 20
US Housing Market Covid-19 Crisis - 21st May 20
The Coronavirus Just Hit the “Fast-Forward” Button on These Three Industries - 21st May 20
AMD Zen 3 Ryzen 9 4950x Intel Destroying 24 core 48 thread Processor? - 21st May 20
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis and Forecast - 20th May 20
The Credit Markets Gave Their Nod to the S&P 500 Upswing - 20th May 20
Where to get proper HGH treatment in USA - 20th May 20
Silver Is Ensured A Prosperous 2020 Thanks To The Fed - 20th May 20
It’s Not Only Palladium That You Better Listen To - 20th May 20
DJIA Stock Market Technical Trend Analysis - 19th May 20
US Real Estate Showing Signs Of Covid19 Collateral Damage - 19th May 20
Gold Stocks Fundamental Indicators - 19th May 20
Why This Wave is Usually a Market Downturn's Most Wicked - 19th May 20
Gold Mining Stocks Flip from Losses to 5x Leveraged Gains! - 19th May 20
Silver Price Begins To Accelerate Higher Faster Than Gold - 19th May 20
Gold Will Soar Soon; World Now Faces 'Monetary Armageddon' - 19th May 20

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter


We're All Hedge Funds Now!

Stock-Markets / Financial Markets 2015 Mar 21, 2015 - 10:23 AM GMT

By: John_Rubino


As negative interest rates spread from Switzerland, Japan and Germany to the rest of the developed world, people with money to invest face some life-defining choices.

Retirees who need to generate 6% to avoid dipping into principal can't get there with bank CDs. Pension funds that have promised an 8% return in order to meet obligations to future retirees can't get anywhere near that with government bonds. Same thing for insurance companies and money market funds, whose business models require positive returns with low risk.

This presents these guys with a dilemma: Either become something radically different or cease to exist. In effect, they have to become hedge funds.

A retiree, for instance, can either stop being a retiree -- that is, go back to work -- on invest a lot more aggressively to meet the required 6% return. That means loading up on equities and junk bonds, either blithely because she doesn't know what they are (only that they've been going up) or with trepidation because she's aware that every five or so years these things tend to crash.

Public companies are finding that building new factories doesn't pay nearly as well as borrowing money and using the proceeds to buy back their own common stock. Pension funds, meanwhile, have more options, though the end result is the same. They can, like our hypothetical retiree, load up on equities, as Japanese pension funds are reportedly doing...

Japan Pensions Sell Record $46 Billion Bonds to Buy Stocks

(Bloomberg) -- Japan's public pension funds, which include the world's biggest, accelerated their push to dump local bonds and invest the money abroad to a record pace.

The $1.1 trillion Government Pension Investment Fund and its smaller peers almost doubled net sales of Japanese government bonds to 5.56 trillion yen ($46 billion) in the fourth quarter, the most in Bank of Japan figures dating back to 1998. They bought an unprecedented 2.39 trillion yen of foreign stocks and bonds. Selling of JGBs and buying of overseas securities has continued for six straight quarters.

GPIF posted its largest investment gain in almost two years last quarter after shifting more money into stocks from Japanese bonds, as it came under government pressure to boost returns to cover payouts for the world's fastest-aging population. The Federation of National Public Service Personnel Mutual Aid Associations, last month said it will boost its investments in foreign stocks and bonds and cut exposure to domestic debt, matching the plan by GPIF.

...or they can wander even further into the "alternative" investing universe by hiring hedge funds to generate "alpha."

As Hedge Fund Returns Falter, Money Continues to Flow In

(New York Times) -- Another year, and another mediocre performance by hedge funds, to put it kindly. The Barclay Hedge Fund Index gained a meager 2.89 percent in 2014, while the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained over 13 percent and the Barclays United States Aggregate Bond Index rose over 5 percent.

Even as their high fees have minted scores of new billionaires, hedge funds have now substantially underperformed a simple blend of index funds -- 60 percent stocks and 40 percent bonds -- for three-, five- and 10-year periods. And the 10-year numbers cover the period of the financial crisis and the sharp decline in stocks -- the very calamity that hedge funds are supposed to protect against.

No wonder Calpers, the giant California retirement system, withdrew from hedge funds last year. I assumed that by now, many other big pension funds and institutions would be following its lead.

Hedge fund performance

Weak performance notwithstanding, "Investor interest in hedge funds has been continuously accelerating since the financial crisis," said Peter Laurelli, vice president for research at eVestment, "and it has really picked up during the past two years."

Mr. Laurelli mentioned two factors driving the trend: still-agonizing memories of the financial crisis and the persistent low interest rate environment. While the sales pitches for different hedge fund strategies vary, many funds promise to address both issues by blunting the impact of another market crash, while generating higher returns than United States Treasury bonds.

Institutions are not only pouring more money into hedge funds, but they also appear to be engaging in a classic pattern of many individual investors, which is to chase returns and shun losers. Last year, investor money surged into so-called event-driven strategies, like those pursued by the activist investors William Ackman and Daniel Loeb, who have had a string of recent successes. (A net $42.5 billion flowed into event-driven strategies, according to eVestment.) And after six months of strong results after years of underperformance, managed futures strategies (which make bets on commodities and other futures contracts) gained $4 billion in January alone.

At the same time, long-short equity strategies (funds that take both long and short positions in stocks) faced $7.5 billion in net outflows in January after far underperforming the S.&P. 500 in 2014.

"Most hedge fund investors are momentum investors," Mr. Lack said. "The only data they have is performance data, so they chase returns. You don't have many consultants out there saying you should invest in out-of-favor hedge funds. But there's never going to be a good outcome with that approach.

There's an enormous amount of research that shows hedge fund returns aren't persistent. They revert to the mean. Of all the hedge funds I looked at, only 7 percent were consistently in the top 40 percent. What chance do you have of picking them?"

In the world of aggressive investing, retirees, corporations and pensions funds are all "dumb money." They don't this kind of thing regularly so they have no institutional or personal experience to draw upon. The result, for pension funds and retirees, is the quintessential beginner strategy of trend following, buying what was hot last year because that's where the biggest returns are being generated, while public companies are being even dumber, buying stocks on margin (i.e., with borrowed money) without regard for valuation.

Similar things happened during the previous bubble, when individuals became real estate speculators, pension funds embraced alternative investments, and corporations ramped up their share repurchase programs. All got creamed in 2008. Will this time around be any different? Definitely. It will be much worse because the numbers are so much bigger.

By John Rubino

Copyright 2015 © John Rubino - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules