MANAGING A HEDGE FUND? SIMPLE, IT’S LIKE DRIVING THE SCHOOL BUS

YOU’VE got to hand it to Glenview Capital hedge fund manager Larry Robbins – The Capitalist has rarely heard such a creative defence of a period of negative returns.

Robbins, in his latest newsletter to clients following a four per cent decline in his portfolio over the second quarter, touched on the equity markets and the wider economic environment, but boiled the performance down to a simple analogy: comparing his job to that of a bus driver.

Taking his Monday morning routine as an example, Robbins explained how driving his children to school in New York was actually a combination of alpha and beta – the latter being the flow of traffic each day, and the former his own “combination of knowledge, skill and luck, attempting to choose the correct lane, the alternate route, the best shortcut to weave along the 15 mile journey”.

“Our job at Glenview is very similar to my job as Monday bus driver,” he continued – with his investors’ capital akin to his precious human cargo, and his own mandate to reach their investment goals on time.

“While at any point and time it may appear as though one car is ahead while another is behind, it is the consistent drivers that utilise all of their tools of alpha that consistently end up leading the race at the end,” Robbins concludes, brightly. “Thus, while we are disappointed that the second quarter brought heavy traffic, we are satisfied with our navigational skills as a team, and we believe we are on pace to arrive at our common objectives safely and securely.”

That’s alright, then.

BOOK WORM
Vince Cable’s not having a good time of it of late, what with the thunderous reception to his “anti-business secretary” speech at the Lib Dem conference last week and all. Now budget hotel chain Travelodge has another piece of dire news – apparently, Cable’s book “The Storm: The World Economic Crisis and What it Means” is the third most readily-discarded tome in the group’s hotel rooms so far this year.

This for the man who, when interviewed by City A.M. earlier this year, couldn’t give away his work quickly enough, foisting the books on his hapless guest in any number of weird and wonderful foreign languages.

Still, at least he can take solace in the fact that Simon Cowell’s “Unauthorised Biography” and Ant & Dec’s biography were both placed even higher in the abandonment league table.

COLOUR FLASH
Word reaches The Capitalist that Deloitte is busy persuading all staff from diverse cultural backgrounds to wear traditional ethnic dress into the office on Fridays, as part of its diversity programme. Brings a new and colourful meaning to “dress-down Fridays”, doesn’t it?