92nd Street Y

As Paulson and Co employees, clients, and people named John Paulson do not need to be told, the past year and half has not been the most joyous of times for the hedge fund giant. After making billions shorting subprime mortgages, the firm ended 2011 down 55 percent, was down 16 percent through the first half of 2012, and as of July saw assets under management decline 44.9 percent to $21 billion from $38.1 billion, due to a combination of unfortunate performance and redemptions by investors so angry at the fund that they’ve felt the need to repeatedly tell anyone who will listen that parting ways with P&C was among the best if not the best decision they’ve ever made. One investor that hasn’t had to consider voicing its unhappiness to the press or even worry about losing money at all? The 92nd Street Y. Last November Paulson guaranteed that he would personally cover their losses, whatever they turned out to be, come year-end. And the generosity did not stop there: for this one investor only, Paulson offered his services pro-bono, waiving all fees. So while he probably didn’t expect representatives of the Y to rent a skywriting plane to proclaim their love and appreciation for him over midtown, lobby the city of New York to get 92nd renamed Paulson Street, or have his face tattooed to their chests, he probably also figured they wouldn’t turn around and hit him the mother of all slaps in the face. Read more »

When one is an investor in a hedge fund, letters from the top that include lines about being “disappointed,” “clearly wrong in our judgment,” and this year being notable for being “the worst in the firm’s history” are tough to take. Sure, they’re slightly more palatable than those that attempt to explain why the last month/quarter/year went ass-bleedingly bad by deflecting the blame with something like, “We lost it all but you can take solace in knowing it’s not us, it’s the market. The global financial markets are wrong, and we happy few at [insert firm here] are correct, in a way that has yet to reveal itself but rest assured, is coming” and/or offer a silver-lining à la,“Now hear the great news: we’ve turned every dollar you invested in the beginning of the year into 15 cents,” but whether you get a “sorry” or “sorry, we’re not sorry” letter doesn’t really much matter. In both cases, a whole bunch of your money is gone. Generally speaking. If you’re speaking of hedge fund Paulson and Co, however, such is not the case! According to the Times, the fact that the firm has suffered its worst performance since inception is actually of little matter to investors, as John Paulson has “guaranteed” he will be covering their losses, whatever they may be, come year-end. For the purposes of not getting anyone’s hopes up, it should be noted that the guarantee only applies to one investor. Everyone else, past performance yadda yadda still applies to you- better luck next year. Read more »