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Peacing Out And Patchouli At AQR

Last night we were thinking it'd been a while since we talked AQR Capital (and forever since any of the principals left a heated message for us). So we decided to see what was a poppin' up in Greenwich. Turns out a lot! A little bird brings us up to speed:

AQR's head of fixed income left yesterday. He was a star trader poached from Deutsche Bank three years ago. This is the second head of fixed income to depart the firm in a year.
They royally screwed people on bonuses last year and anybody who could has been walking out and even those without a back up are doing so. There have been at least five people who quit that place thus far this year without another job lined up. Probably because AQR enforces upon everyone (even junior analysts) a six month non-compete (so it's in your advantage to walk ASAP if you recognize that there will be no payout).
They only have $20B total under management (this time last year it was $33B). About $19B of that is in managed account which only yields about 40bps in fees. And we all know the returns aren't what they used to be.
Calpers completely withdrew its money. The marketing guys used to love to boast how they had Calpers (although it was in long-only managed account and not in hedge funds) to potential investors. They've probably gone quiet on the bragging lately.
Oh yes, one more thing. AMG, 25% owner of AQR, ordered Cliffy to get anger management counseling after his warm posting on your site. Since then he has been seen in his office walking around with no shoes on, incense burning, and occasionally engaging in meditation sessions behind closed doors.


Cliff Asness Wants To Be Thanked For Paying Taxes, Is Pissed Cash For Clunkers Didn't Involve Killing Nazis

Something you may or may not know about Cliff Asness is that by day, he is a hedge fund manager but by night he is the second coming of his hero, Captain America. Like the Captain, the AQR founder believes his duty is to defend America, only instead of fighting Axis Powers, Asness's enemies are liberal Commie Socialists hell-bent on destroying this country. Because his shield has been in the shop for repairs for the past couple years, Cliff has been forced to use other weapons to pummel his foes, namely writing amazingly witty1 emails to his friends and colleagues about how much Obama et al suck. Most recently, Captain Asness circulated "Some Useful Definitions to Understand Our Modern Progressive World," a little glossary of unalphabetized terms he put together sure to cut his adversaries deeply. (The Captain also helpfully pointed out in a footnote that many of the definitions were "written sarcastically as a faux left-winger, [while] some [are] just conservative/libertarian interpretations of what the left really means," in case that was lost on his audience.) They include: - The 1% Definition: Those who pay more than 1/3 the total federal income tax and are never thanked for it. More generally, they are responsible for all evil in the world today (unless they work in Hollywood or hitech in which case they are “honorary 99%-ers” regardless of income, tax rate, and lifestyle). - Cash for Clunkers Definition: What we came up to replace World War II as stimulus. Many perfectly good cars destroyed, no Nazis defeated. - Rights Definition: A more extreme form of “entitlement” defined above. Note that modern usage throws out the long tradition of natural rights only of a negative nature, that is, the right not to have something done to you, for rights of a positive nature, that is, the right to certain goods and services, like health care, Apple products, and soy milk. Since, no matter how important these items are, these modern positive rights must still be produced and taken from others, essentially the word “rights” now often stands for a system of slavery and theft.2 Some Useful Definitions [PDF] 1Definition: ... 2The fuck?