John Paulson

As you may or may not have heard, the last 18 months have not been the best of times for John Alfred Paulson. His Advantage Plus fund was down fifty percent last year, he got screwed big time by a bunch of fake trees, his proclamation that 2011’s losses were but an “aberration” has not exactly been helped by the fact that AP was down 10 percent through May 2012, Morgan Stanley’s prime brokerage put Paulson and Co. on a list of firms it warns clients not to invest with, some investors ” have expressed their growing unease,” and others have called it quits. But! JP can take solace in knowing that at least one Limited Partner, and probably more, are so not over him. Read more »

Dear Paulson Investors

Paulson, the billionaire hedge-fund manager seeking to reverse record losses in 2011, posted a 13 percent decline last month in his gold fund as bullion and mining stocks fell, a person briefed on the returns said today. The loss leaves the $1.2 billion fund, which can buy derivatives and other gold- related investments, down 23 percent this year. Paulson & Co., which manages about $24 billion, posted losses during May in its Advantage funds, Recovery Fund and Partners Enhanced fund. Paulson’s Credit Opportunities Fund rose 0.9 percent last month and 5.3 percent in 2012. [Bloomberg]

Bloomberg has this sort of surreal article today about Deutsche Bank basically quoting a bunch of people saying “we are way way too big to fail and it is awesome.” Like:

Banking consolidation “sadly” will be “one of the many potential unintended consequences of regulation,” [co-CEO-in-waiting-whatevs Anshu] Jain said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Jan. 26. When asked about the systemic risks posed by bigger banks, Jain said that “you have the tradeoffs of too-big-to-fail on the one side and the benefits of diversification on the other.”

So on the one side, if we screw up we’ll be saved by diversification, and on the other, if we screw up really bad we’ll be saved by you. Those tradeoffs are not exactly tradeoffs for DB. Or even better:

At the end of 2010, Deutsche Bank was ranked the world’s most systemically important financial institution by Japan’s Financial Services Agency and central bank, based on estimates about the impact a failure would have on the global financial system, according to Mainichi newspaper.

“On the one hand, it made us proud, but on the other hand, of course, we’re aware of the responsibility,” [current lame duck CEO Josef] Ackermann said at an earnings press conference in February 2011 when asked about being deemed the world’s most systemically important bank.

I imagine that Japan’s Financial Services Agency was not ranking “most systemically important financial institution” with the intention of giving them a prize, but I do love that Ackermann took it that way. “Yay we were voted #1 most likely to blow up the Western financial system.” Read more »

Bonus Watch ’13: Paulson And Co.

The bad news: even if Paulson and Co. turns things around in 2012, they might not get to collect performance fees, on account of potentially still being under water due* to last year’s annus fucking horribilis. The good news: John Paulson’s employees will still get paid, because that’s just the kind of guy he is. Read more »

Remember the Paulson & Co Sino-Forest investment? Turned out to be one of the fund’s less than stellar ideas? Will get you an hour in the office hole for mentioning it? Most people  affected by the trade have so far been willing to let it slide, perhaps preferring to focus their energies on bigger beefs with JP (such as why only the Platinum Level P&C Members got a check to cover their 2012 losses), and probably also chalking it up to Paulson having an unfortunate brain freeze for the majority of last year.  Hugh F. Culverhouse, not so much. The former investor, who filed suit against the hedge fund today, senses something more nefarious at play, the basis for his reasoning being that he doubts Paulson could be that stupid. Read more »

John Paulson Ditches Banks, Drums Up Some Business For Them

I think everyone who’s ever worked at an investment bank saw at least a little something of themselves in the Journal’s fat asshole article this morning. My own feelings are mixed since, for me, investment banking was a lifestyle improvement over a previous job that left me partially paralyzed from overwork (true story! I got better). So in a sense I don’t have that much to complain about, but I did, and do, constantly and loudly and now on the internet.

Part of what sucks about banking – that I think the Journal article missed – is the frequent pointlessness of your activity: you get on a plane, go see a guy, tell him about this awesome merger or financing or whatever you’ve got planned for him, shake hands, and fly away never to see him again. And by “never” I mean “not until six months later, after he’s printed a deal away from you, when you go and do the same thing, but this time maybe you don’t shave.” You’d probably still be a fat, stressed, overworked cabbie-puncher if most of your ideas actually got executed, but you’d perhaps be less suffused with metaphysical dread. That’s how I’d feel anyway. Then, I blog now.

Anyway, a thing that I don’t know anything about, and never ever want to know anything about, so don’t tell me, is the proper price-to-book trading multiples of life vs. P&C insurance companies and whether there’s a conglomerate discount for being in both businesses. So with that as a disclaimer I found this pretty damn convincing: Read more »