Larry Robbins Sets New Standard For Quarterly Letters

As we have discussed many times in the past, the letter to investors is an art form, especially in a down month/quarter/year. All the best shops know deflection of responsibility + rationale for losses is essential. Got your ‘nads ripped off and shoved down your throat? Naturally the explanation there is that it was due “the market’s ridiculous mispricing of equity” and investors can take solace knowing it’s just a temporary reaction– you’re still right on the numbers. But…you know…that’s what everyone says. How does one set himself apart from the pack? One word: analogies. Eleven words: Analogies likening being a steward of capital to being a bus driver.

And hey, while you’re at it– and no joke, investors LOVE this– how about a nonsensical story about driving your kids to school wherein you debate the merits of taking the GWB versus the Harlem River?



What it basically boils down to is heavy traffic = not our fault. Investors will not only be thankful their money wasn’t involved in a horrific twelve car pile up involving a fuel truck explosion but they’ll appreciate your ability to explain things (e.g. losses) in ways they can understand. Might even thank you for it.

Glenview Capital Q2 Letter [PDF; also includes 5 paragraph analogy about how investing today is like bowling]

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Comments (69)

  1. Posted by Dart Monkey | September 24, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    Sweet Baby Jesus ! This guy manages peoples’s savings?!!

  2. Posted by Pfluger the Barbarian | September 24, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    Every single losing position I have ever been involved in was due to market “mispricing”. My models are flawless, but the market is imperfect.

    - Lehman Quant

  3. Posted by Chuddy | September 24, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    Why do all of his letters have grease and chocolate stains on them?

  4. Posted by Bill Gross | September 24, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    I would like to hear about Larry’s bathroom habits next month.

  5. Posted by Mr. Nobody | September 24, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    How does a bus driver generate Alpha?

  6. Posted by Larry Kramden | September 24, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    One of these days Alice- bang! Zoom! To the moon!

  7. Posted by AIG Quant | September 24, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    Every morning I decide how to play with your money while taking a crap watching the traffic cams.
    -L. Robbins

  8. Posted by A Callous Bastard | September 24, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Here’s an analogy for you, sir. You are a driver of a ‘Tard Cart. Whether or not you’re on time, you’re still a retard.

  9. Posted by Mr Tarkanian | September 24, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    Larry Robbins I love it! I’m actually gonna murder you!

  10. Posted by Anonymous | September 24, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    Did you watermark this?

  11. Posted by Anti DB | September 24, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    Thought the pirate spin off was pretty cool
    Larry robins
    MTA Advisors

  12. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    TMI. I like it better Bernie Madoff style where they don’t d!ck around with your money, lose it and give you this patronizing BS but rather they give you a reliable, +1.5% up every month report.

  13. Posted by AIG Quant | September 24, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    Managing money is like my morning craps. Whether the toilet flushes would be our alpha, and the flow out my rear would be the beta. Sometime we are so liquid and the beta so great, I feel as if I should be taking a crap standing up. Now these are great days as we are liquid, the flow is high, and the toilet always flushes; thereby generating you plenty of return. Other days I am pushing so hard, I feel as if I will go blind before it comes out. These days are not good as our liquidity is gone, the flow explodes, and the toilet only has a 52% chance of flushing.

    Now this makes me think about my taking my kids to school. My kids are a dual mandate as I want to generally beat the crap out of them, but fear someone will see me and report my actions.

    -L Robbins

  14. Posted by Anonymous | September 24, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    nope, my darling source did.

  15. Posted by CMBS 4-Life | September 24, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    they/it doesnt come watermarked. The bowling ally analogy was pretty solid. L-train’s analogies > GW Bush’s…which are hard to beat

  16. Posted by trojan | September 24, 2010 at 7:37 PM

    Trade of the Week: Long E-Zpass, Shortbus

  17. Posted by CMBS 4-Life | September 24, 2010 at 7:40 PM

    Adobe Professional editing software is sooooo nifty!

  18. Posted by The Margin Clerk | September 24, 2010 at 7:41 PM

    they guy is worth more than all of you clowns combined….

    suk it.

  19. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    LOL at use of the term clowns and also being a retard and not knowing who reads this site…

    “becoming a must-read not only for $250,000-a-year-bonus investment bank drones wondering which boss’s head is about to roll, but also among the corner-office types themselves. Financial powerhouses like JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, as well as hedge fund managers like Steve Cohen, Dan Loeb, and Ken Griffin, have been known to visit the site.”

    thanks for playing though.

  20. Posted by AIG Quack | September 24, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    Larry, can you tell me if trading is like eating? Juse need to ask as I see food stains, so I was trying to determine if you were attempting to make an analogy between the markets and food.

  21. Posted by trojan | September 24, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    quote of the day

  22. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    Someone forgot to eat more fibre?

  23. Posted by guest | September 24, 2010 at 7:53 PM

    I think he’s on to something. When he tanks in Q4 the GW will have been ice coated and enveloped in a white out, and the city will have no budget for snow removal. The best advice is to stay indoors and weather the storm … That should suffice to substantiate a good downside risk.

  24. Posted by xel | September 24, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    oh oh oh… in that case, bus is hard to maneuverer, an 18 wheeler is even worse so in case anyone is interested in investing with that guy, consider me on my moped, I’ll make you billions!!!

    - prop desk guy, started in the biz with $2000 security deposit

  25. Posted by Negative ROE | September 24, 2010 at 7:58 PM

    Analogy Analysis:

    Life is like a box of chocolates (Forrest Gump) > Investing is like driving a bus (Larry Robbins)

    Congratulations, Larry, you just lost to a retard.

  26. Posted by CoveredLong | September 24, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    Larry,

    Monday morning, meet me in Lane 3, I’ll be the guy in a meatsuit driving a lifted El Camino with a flying B hood ornament blasting Bad Romance. Fuck my tailpipe so I know it’s you.

    -Angry Investor

  27. Posted by CoveredLong | September 24, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    Yea, get a job you sparkling wiggles!

  28. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    1. “wow, i don’t think i’ve been witness to a more tasteless class of idiots commenting on an article in all my time reading dealbreaker”

    really?

    2. why don’t you stop hiding behind the net, Larry, and sign your posts like a big boy hedge fund manager (Cliff Asness knows what I’m talking about!)

  29. Posted by AIG Quant | September 24, 2010 at 8:35 PM

    Larry,
    I had a wonderful job where I was partying at the best rooftop bar in town, but while there was asked to do a trick on my skateboard. Well this is when it becomes embarrasing, as I had forgotten my skateboard at home. My boss did not think it was a forgiveable matter (unlike investors with bad PM’s), and fired me. Well that was not the worst of it, becuase when I had arrived home, I found my girlfriend (who for the record is a 7.5) in bed with some first year analyst that had “I only ride 8′s” tattooed on his chest. Now I am stuck at this place that makes me wear a pirate outfit, but that is not too bad. If only the damn parrot on my shoulder would STFU once in awhile, I would enjoy it here. I am hoping to get my CD license next week, and that should allow me to drive a bus. Upon completion of obtaining my CDL, I will promptly submit my resume to you (as a bonus I already know how to open the door on a bus).

    Your’s truely,

    Ex Skateboarding Trader

  30. Posted by xel | September 24, 2010 at 8:48 PM
  31. Posted by mom and pop | September 24, 2010 at 8:51 PM

    on that note what kind of decision is it to make between take the GWB and the Harlem River Drive?

  32. Posted by Aig quant | September 24, 2010 at 9:07 PM

    P.S. I am fucking awesome at Wii bowling.

  33. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    They shouldn’t he be able to hire a few a few of us clowns to drive his kids from Jersey to NY so that his performance can be based on financial instruments rather than parking lots?

  34. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 9:17 PM

    They shouldn’t he be able to hire a few a few of us clowns to drive his kids from Jersey to NY so that his performance can be based on financial instruments rather than parking lots?

  35. Posted by trojan | September 24, 2010 at 9:27 PM

    Larry, to be fair & non-sarcastic for a moment: I agree with your take on the idiosyncratic nature of lane traffic. Here after work it goes: 2 fastest, switch to 3, then maybe all the way to 4, then back to 1, before cutting into the exit lane right before the exit to screw the people who waited.

  36. Posted by Moron | September 24, 2010 at 9:45 PM

    Goldman’s? really?

  37. Posted by Anonymous | September 24, 2010 at 10:09 PM

    And you guys think what I write is nonsense. Seriously, I should get a job doing this stuff.

    http://proposition13.blogspot.com/2010/09/verint-systems-scenarios.html

  38. Posted by The Blacksmith | September 24, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    Doesn’t the doofus know that a stool only has three legs and that it’s a chair that has four? A four-legged stool would be rickety, much like his theses.

  39. Posted by RichardB | September 24, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    Glenview’s soft-dollar business is a scam

  40. Posted by Anonymous | September 25, 2010 at 12:01 AM

    This sort of writing happens all the time in business. There are people who draft “scenarios” exactly for this purpose: http://bit.ly/9Ev5bM

  41. Posted by Anonymous | September 25, 2010 at 2:20 AM

    This is exactly the stuff I was telling you about. They write up this nonsense and then peddle it in their marketing materials.

    http://proposition13.blogspot.com/2010/09/verint-systems-scenarios.html

  42. Posted by Guest | September 25, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    WTF? Why all the hate and scorn? It was a quirky letter, so f*cking what? I’d rather have this than some boring, mundane regurgitated macro crap which investor letter are filled with these days.

    ~Not the L-train

  43. Posted by Samari_Sam | September 25, 2010 at 7:02 PM

    Well if he doesn’t generate good ROI, his investors know where to wait.

  44. Posted by WhichLane | September 26, 2010 at 2:08 AM

    I bet the diagram is on the back of the page so you have to keep flipping BACK and FORTH trying to figure out just what the hell he’s getting at with all the damn #s

  45. Posted by Nothanks | September 27, 2010 at 9:58 AM
  46. Posted by A Nony Mouse | September 27, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Get back to work, bitches!

  47. Posted by 2020 | September 27, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    did you log in and “like” your own post 3 times? Sad.

  48. Posted by SAC | September 27, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    “these guys could buy your firm and fire you if they wanted….and if you actually mattered. ”

    O RLY?

    “…a must-read not only for $250,000-a-year-bonus investment bank drones wondering which boss’s head is about to roll, but also among the corner-office types themselves. Financial powerhouses like JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, as well as hedge fund managers like Steve Cohen, Dan Loeb, and Ken Griffin, have been known to visit the site.”

  49. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    I was hungry, misplaced my 5-hour energy. Was I not supposed to have done that?

  50. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 7:34 PM

    I was hungry, misplaced my 5-hour energy. Was I not supposed to have done that?

  51. Posted by LittleArborLoveR | September 24, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    COF was up over 200% last year, albeit after a down 65% ’08…but still. Larry is a godsend to the investment industry/women worldwide/bus drivers/homeless people/dolphins

  52. Posted by LittleArborLoveR | September 24, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    COF was up over 200% last year, albeit after a down 65% ’08…but still. Larry is a godsend to the investment industry/women worldwide/bus drivers/homeless people/dolphins

  53. Posted by guest | September 24, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    It’s a game. If he gets the money he wins, if the bus blows up he wins.

  54. Posted by guest | September 24, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    It’s a game. If he gets the money he wins, if the bus blows up he wins.

  55. Posted by Education: Try it, it works! | September 24, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    wow, i don’t think i’ve been witness to a more tasteless class of idiots commenting on an article in all my time reading dealbreaker… maybe if you guys push a little harder you could squeeze out an intelligent, and even slightly humorous line from time to time, in place of the turds you scatter on this site…stop hiding behind the net and go get a job

    -

  56. Posted by Education: Try it, it works! | September 24, 2010 at 8:14 PM

    wow, i don’t think i’ve been witness to a more tasteless class of idiots commenting on an article in all my time reading dealbreaker… maybe if you guys push a little harder you could squeeze out an intelligent, and even slightly humorous line from time to time, in place of the turds you scatter on this site…stop hiding behind the net and go get a job

    -

  57. Posted by Anonymous | September 24, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    What is the Palisades Expressway??

  58. Posted by Anonymous | September 24, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    What is the Palisades Expressway??

  59. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    What I want to know is how many traffic violations he’s been caught making.

  60. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    What I want to know is how many traffic violations he’s been caught making.

  61. Posted by Guest | September 24, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    This would never happen at Goldman’s. They’ve got their Queueing theory quantified down to the last EZ Pass lane.

  62. Posted by 2020 | September 27, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    I enjoy all the comments. Asinine or not, almost always amusing. When they are too non sensical, takes away the fun. Larry and a vending Machine, good joke. Dan Loeb and Mr. Pink, yee haw.
    But it cracks me up when people talk trash about the fund performance of PMs like Larry. Most of you probably have PAs which blow, if you’re even allowed to trade more than ETFs at whatever crappy firms you work at). In the words of Tepper, these guys could buy your firm and fire you if they wanted….and if you actually mattered. Good luck with the crappy jobs and the crappy PAs.

  63. Posted by Anonymous | September 27, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    LOL at the defensiveness and at you presuming–wrongly– to know anything about anyone who comments on here.

  64. Posted by 2020 | September 27, 2010 at 9:09 PM

    No, not RLY.
    BRB
    SAC
    LOL

  65. Posted by 2020 | September 27, 2010 at 9:11 PM

    it’s true i’m hating blindly because my own crappy job and good (but crappily small) PA. Great blue star next to your name. How did you get it???

    j/k

    Thanks as always for being the best source of manager information on wall street.

  66. Posted by AIG Quant | September 29, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Larry,

    Good news, I have my CDL. Where should I submit my resume? Do not worry, I will attach a copy of my CDL along with my MD degree from Barbados. I can create great models of roads, cars, and stuff with construction paper. I am hoping that I beat those from DE Shaw, JPM, Knight, and soon every other IB/HF in contacting you.

    Yours truely,

    Unemployed Ex Skateboard Trader.4

  67. Posted by Louvenia Godyn | May 10, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    Pleasant! There’s often somethig new to learn!

  68. Posted by Cathy | October 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Thanks for this article. I’d personally also like to state that it can often be hard if you find yourself in school and simply starting out to establish a long credit score. There are many students who are merely trying to make it and have a good or beneficial credit history can sometimes be a difficult thing to have.

  69. Posted by Jasper Keitt | November 8, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    At this time it appears like WordPress is the best blogging platform available right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?