Ok, so it wasn’t a bar, it was lunch at the iGlobal Alternative Investment Summit, but it does sound like the beginning of an awful geeky financial joke, doesn’t it? As it turns out, it was the start of a very interesting conversation.
While weather may be polite small talk in normal circles, for us market climate chatter is much more common in these settings, and you just can’t get into the markets without talking about Europe. As we went back and forth about Greece and Merkel and more, the conversation turned to how our respective strategies were working in this atmosphere. The emerging markets guy started talking about how cheap Russia is (beware the value trap), when the global macro guy interjected that it’s cheap, but not as cheap as when Russia defaulted (after the aforementioned trap had snapped shut).
Both men had, according to them (we weren’t sharing audited track records, so these could have been fish stories), turned a handsome profit during the time period that brought Long-Term Capital Management to its knees. The emerging markets manager had made “a killing” in bonds (we’re not sure what that position was – long US treasuries, short Russian debt?), while the global macro manager had been on the right side of the ruble when the market took a nosedive. In-depth conversations about the way the Russian banking sector had functionally shuffled itself in the aftermath led the gentlemen to reflect on the similarities to what was happening in Europe and how to position their portfolios to potentially profit from it.
Meanwhile, the managed futures girl sat back and smiled as the two managers contemplated a world with another severe crisis so soon after 2008. For managed futures – which was up 8.72% in the wake of LTCM and 16.73% in 2008 – we won’t mind seeing another crisis. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of futures results.
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