Massive trade (update)

July 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

We are seeing a massive trade going through. Euro-related, bond related, government-related…..multiple hundreds.

Rumours flying of a macro fund trying to unwind a sick position. No mention of Roger Jenkins at all. Could it be that finally the end is coming?

Watch this space.

UPDATE: Hasty post before. Too much info going through. Something like an electronic deal going awry. Volatiltiy is unprecendted…..will revert


Jamon Mammon

July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

While in Spain last week I brought back a load of Spanish ham. Not just any ham but pata negra– ‘black hoof’ ham.

This is cultivated from the leg of the finest pigs in the south of Spain. The pigs are fed on only black acorns and live a very happy life.

The ham itself is a delicacy. It is cured for a total of 36 months and is the sort of thing that just fizzles its way down your throat, like nectar. But it’s expensive. A kilo is about £40. The good thing is that these legs of ham are designed to be enjoyed for many months, even years, after.

Anyway why am I talking about pata negra on a finance blog?

Well the pigs are a redolent image of the financial markets these past four years. And, just like the fat pata negras, these countries have gorged themselves on the choicest black nuts in the market. But now, with the times turning bad, they are being taken apart limb by limb to be enjoyed– yes savoured– by the true blooded wealth of the West.

Some of you may have noticed that I am a conisseur of food and wine. In such light I have decided to open a recipe page for some of the finest delicacies in the world.

Dorien Fassbender: A portrait

July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

I went to an Italian’s party in the countryside during the weekend. It was a sprawling affair. But what took me by surprise was how many non-bankers were there. People from all walks of life. Hedge fund managers, politicians, private equity, even an artist– a real mix. As a hedge funder I choose my company more carefully.

The talk was all about European crises and UK recessions. Someone mentioned the Olympics and I thought I saw Seb Coe walking around but that was of subsidiary importance. The most interesting encounter I had was with an ex-schoolfriend of mine who’s been working at Lloyds of London for several years. Fifield is very traditional. His line of work takes him into risk assessment. But it’s the company he keeps that is most interesting, because he never grew out of the old school predilections.

At some point along the line he started to talk about Dorien Fassbender.

“He moved in some of the same circles. But he was rather a dirty uneducated chap. I wouldn’t have had any direct contact with him. Not my sort.”

“Did you hear any rumours? They say he was found in unusual circumstances.”

“Oh I don’t know. You always come across gossip. Not my scene if I am honest. Apart from that one particular foible– I heard he kept a catamite.”


“Tut-tut, you never paid attention in Latin did you? A catamite is a young boy who is taken into a friendship by an older man. It was a Roman thing.”

“Really? So Fassbender was noted for that?”

“He was a very depraved man.”

“But you were at the same party when he disappeared?”

“So I was. And I left in a drunken state. So did a lot of men.”

Fifield tells me he could not remember who else he saw. But one other thing catches my attention.

A very beautiful woman was seen at the event. Unusually she was neither pr nor a prostitute (quelle difference you say?).

When I got home late yesterday I reviewed facts: 

Dorien Fassbender, who was he?

An analyst

Apparently working on a big report and in the possession of some big information

Hedge funds were present at conference

Was last seen holding a bottle of champagne mumbling about the next year being the best of his life
Earlier seen in conversation with Sir Terry Laboum, chairman of MidEast sovereign wealth fund
Was not well liked in the industry due to his confrontational approach
Was wearing a signet ring, which wasn’t his

“Why this fascination with Fassbender,” you ask?

Well to tell you the truth, I’ve always been interested in crime fiction. I believe that in another life I could’ve made an excellent detective. Its a real passion of mine. I feel that this Fassbender case has all the elements of a classic whodunnit.

Late last night I called my old friend Dick Schneider who tells me a new move is currently being put into place by EU leaders

A total destruction of the Eurozone, he tells me. This confirms my earlier view on the affair. Unsurprising as I also know a number of people who stand to make a lot of money out of this.

Hedge Funds: The Truth

July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I will now tell you the only secret you ever need to know about hedge funds. Read carefully.

I haven’t spoken about the hedge fund in detail yet. There’s a good reason for that. Hedge funds thrive on secrecy. It’s paramount that no one uncover our trading strategy or they could replicate it or trade against it and in doing so, destroy it (see Iksil July 2012).

Secrecy is the most important thing for any hedge fund. It helps us to maintain our ‘edge.’ I really cannot stress how important it is that no one knows what we are doing. We cloak ourselves in subterfuge. (Mike originally wanted to call the fund ‘Mistikos’ — Greek for mystery– but in the end we decided on the safer MKT Capital LLC, to avoid any negative connotations).

We have our own trading pseudonyms. (Mike is Bigballs. Ben is Bigbear. Rajash is Bigbutt. I have been given the curious sobriquet of Haricots Verts).

Our trade ideas are couched in secrecy. The terms we use when executing, our macro views, the very jargon we use– its all done in a veil of befuddlement. No one understands it.

Infact sometimes we ourselves don’t know what we’re doing. For example the other day I was testing out a heavy long axe on some abstruse, slutty little LatAm country, obviously with a view to a deepening Euro crisis. I put out a couple of fanciful bids, just to test the water. A minute later I’d gotten lifted on three of these– utterly unrealistic marks. It was crazy. In a panic I tried to recall the trade but the jumped up MM on the other end starts washing me– anyway suffice to say I was shifting shit pretty big time.

Little did I know that Ben, who sits three desks down, had been amassing a short pos on same tinpot backwater for the past few days.

It was him lifting me! I thought He thought he’d got some sucker on the hook and was furious when he realised it was me all along. Luckily we ended market neutral, so didn’t lose much except for a little spread.

The secrecy of the hedge fund industry should translate into a myriad of ideas and diverse trade views. Unfortunately this diversity hasn’t translated into a diversity of performance these last few years. Look at the stats and you will see that, as an industry, we’ve been heading south pretty much unanimously since 07. But then again who hasn’t?!

I would argue that it’s fairly solid numbers to only be losing 5 or 6 percent when the rest are down 10 or 11. If you’re working for a bank benchmarks count for nothing. Lose 5 or 6 and the shareholders’ll be clamouring for blood. Don’t they understand that they caused this crisis in the first place?

Then there are the perks. You phone a restaurant and say it’s for 3 hedgies and they’ll give you a table anywhere. Last week I flew to the Jules Vernes on top of the Eiffel Tower, same day reservation, by the window. Country clubs, weekend rentals, good food, good wine, saunas and sausages– it’s all there for the taking.

Anyway now you know the truth just remember one thing– don’t tell anybody.

Dorien Fassbender

July 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

Those of you who have read this blog regularly will know about Dorien Fassbender. He was a rating agency analyst who was found dead in a canal last March.

The crime’s remained unsolved. I picked up bits and bats here and there. Mr Fassbender was a notoriously disliked individual in the industry. He had enraged a number of bankers, not just by his ratings antics, but by being a wormy little man.

Now Fassbender had been discovered partially tarred and feathered. The cause of death was uncertain though he was found to have been pumped full of different class A drugs.

At the time I thought– more in hope than reason– that it had been Goldman. His body had swelled up to such a degree that he looked for all the world to be an ex-Goldmanite. I wondered if this had been a part of some ritual. Anyway it wasn’t. But other troubling details soon emerged.

For instance, Dorien Fassbender had traces of a sexual activity on his body. He had apparently been with a woman that evening. This in itself is unusual for a ratings analyst, but more so in his case, given that Fassbender was such a huge…bender, famous for his insatiable appetite for junior analysts.

His body had been cruelly toyed with. When police examined him they found that he had been made to eat his own research papers. The weight of the paper– ratings agencies publish reams and reams of shit– combined with numerous drugs, had contributed to his swollen body.

Lastly on his finger they found a signet ring which police had trouble removing because his fingers were so fat (such irony for a man who lived to prevent this).

Now, in a twist, it turns out that the ring wasn’t his. The police discovered who it belonged to. However for obvious reasons they’ve kept it a secret. I know though. It’s all the gossip at the club.

It belongs to a chairman of one of the oldest and most venerable institutions in Britain. There’s something afoot.

Market update: Situation Critical

July 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

The most important thing in a man’s life is his health and family. We forget these two rudimentary facts when looking at the day to day grievances.

Even though the markets are shattered, Spain is defaulting, Libor is a lie, banks in ruins, the old money lost, bonuses frozen, hedge funds broke, taxpayers cheated, the good sacked, the bad ruined, the ugly prosperous, the low revolting, the high petrified, success decried, traditions dishonoured, bravery tamed, attitude embellished, clarity befuddled, honesty a lie…

…even despite these things, this foolish, cold, critical world…what am I to do but be thankful that I have my health and my family.

Hedge Fund Towers

July 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Life is good. I slept in today until nearly 6am. The commute into work takes me only 40 minutes and I am home at 8pm. This is the life. When I think back to all those useless hours spent at the bank I wonder what on earth I was thinking.

I trade macro meaning that I look at economic themes as they develop throughout the day. This can be anything from a European cluster fuck to a Saudi merger arb (conducted through a veil of secrecy). Whatever I feel. No more Tamagashi Sewing, speaking to some Japanese pension fund for me anymore.

Mike and I have resurrected that old spirit from our school days. We go around shouting at brokers how useless they are and then throw them a bunch of trades as apology. They happily take both.

Anyway a lot of you have asked about my severance pay. You’ll be happy to know it was good. Paul tried to shaft me with the old “your stock options are locked in for another 3 years” b.s. I pulled out a tape recording of him screaming orders to lower the Libor fix. He crapped himself there and then. After a long convo with Dean in NY he came out with a seven figure sum.

Over and out at HF Towers.

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