Get Cliff Asness A Job On Madison Avenue

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The AQR chief sure knows how to sell his industry, and is now continuing his somewhat less-than-full-throated “Hedge Funds: They’re Alright, I Guess” campaign on his own website. To sum up his masterpiece, “Hedge Funds: The (Somewhat Tepid) Defense”: Most hedge funds are crap and you should probably just invest in an index fund. But if you can find yourself a non-crap hedge fund manager—one C. Asness comes to mind—you’re probably better off with him or her. Either way, the most common criticisms of the industry are pretty off-base, and as such, can be added to the Asness Menagerie of Peeves.

Not surprisingly, that the CalPERS move has indeed inspired many others to also write on hedge funds. Unfortunately, a great deal of them suffer from the flaw I mention above. They focus on performance, sometimes very short-term performance, often, if not usually, confused by the beta issue….

Hedge funds are not meant to keep up with the S&P 500 one-for-one, certainly not when it soars. Of course some stars will keep up, either by luck or skill, but as a broad category it’s never been the case at such a time.

Hedge Funds: The (Somewhat Tepid) Defense [AQR]

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Chuck Schumer's Gonna Have To Do A Lot Better Than Dinner If He Wants A Piece Of Cliff Asness

Earlier today, Politico ran a story titled "Can Chuck Schumer win back Wall St. for Democrats?" Apparently the New York Senator recently "embarked on a fence-mending campaign with senior Wall Street executives, many of whom have grown furious with the Democratic party," in a charm offensive that has included "holding private dinners [including one put on by Pershing Square manager Bill Ackman], organizing high-end fundraisers for Democratic candidates and quietly pressing for super PAC donations." According to Politico, "the outreach appears to be working: Hedge fund and private-equity executives have held six different fundraisers for Democratic challengers and senators at Schumer’s request, sources say." Some financial services employees, however, are not so easy. Take Cliff Asness for example. The AQR manager happened to read the piece and here's what he had to say about it: From: Cliff Asness Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 01:08 PM To: AQR lieutenants, other top hedge fund managers Subject: Can Chuck Schumer win back Wall St. for Democrats? Good title question. Only if Wall Street is so f---ing stupid as to defy credulity, honor, and morality. So, yeah, probably. Best line: “Chuck Schumer is pro-business". Yeah, ones that buy him off in explicit crony-capitalism, but he wants to regulate and tax to death ones that don't. Don Corleone was also pro-business. You guys say this stuff with a straight face huh? C p.s. Sorry about the multiple emails, merging lists (though that is probably not the thing that upsets people) While the above response should come as a shock to exactly no one, we don't think Schumer should give up on Asness so easily. The guy just wants to be wooed. Start with some limited edition action figures, add some $700 bottles of wine, and go from there.  You whip out a Mego Elastic Batman, he's listening. You show up with a a matching Captain America shield tattoo but instead of on your forearm it's on your face? He's nominating you for President. You're welcome.