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Dinner, Too Much Wine And Alternative Investments

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The other night we were having dinner in Freeman’s with a young investment banker. She was wearing those toe-clevage shoes that women are wearing this spring, and something bright that predicted the Spring weather that the calendars confirmed which had not gone through the trouble of actually arriving. We were dressed in the ubiquitous uniform of young men these days—jeans, a blazer and a solid colored oxford shirt that was not too well pressed.
We had a thick, brown venison stew accompanied by a squash confection that looked almost like a pumpkin. She ordered a salad with its dressing on the side. It arrived fully dressed but she did not send it back, announcing that her appetite had been satisfied by the appetizer and the wine. The appetizer had been a pungent and delicious artichoke dip. The wine was something or other from California and we were on our second bottle of it when the main courses arrived.
“Ah reckon they jes ‘bout hed it,” she said. “The appetigh foor haydge funds and such je ‘about dry up.”
Her accent was one we recognized immediately. It was the sort a New York girl who had arrived from the South some years ago developed after too much wine. And perhaps too much of whatever else had killed her appetite during one of her three trips to the restroom. Ordinarily it would be unbearable but through the rosy spectacles of intoxication it was endurable. Almost charming.
We had invited her out to dinner because she was supposed to be something of an expert on hedge funds. But her opinion was disappointingly conventional. We had heard it all before. And we couldn't help think that like the Spring her clothing announced, the market shift she was pointing at hadn't gone through the trouble of actually occurring.
You know the spiel. It's the one that tells you that the age of alternative investments is already over. Blackstone means that private equity has reached a top. Hedge fund alpha has been exhausted. Investors will start turning elsewhere. It’s that last part that is the most risible because it leads to the question of “where?” Just where are investors going to go to fill out the more risk tolerant portions of their portfolios?
Well, for now, they’re still flocking to alternate investments. Hedge funds keep growing, Blackstone predicts a healthy appetite for it’s IPO, Goldman thinks it can raise $20 billion. And the super-rich investment club Tiger 21 just announced they are putting less money in stocks and more in alternatives. And they’re doing this (as we might say in the native accent that emerges after we’ve had too much too drink) “irregardless” of what the experts tell them.
Afterall, if the experts are so smart, why aint they rich?

Super-rich investor club shifts away from stocks
[Market Watch]