Scholars of the hedge fund letter to investors know that while any old investor relations professional can slap together some charts with monthly, quarterly, and, if desperate, cumulative returns, it takes a true artist to captivate an audience. Someone who says, "I'm not simply going to communicate our positions and how our theses are faring so far. I'm not some hack-- I'm an artist. I'm going to weave together entirely disparate narratives, pop culture references, anecdotes about my drive to work and the day I discovered the guest bathroom had a leaky shower head into one dazzling delight for the senses that will leave my readers begging for more. They won't know what hit them, but believe me, they'll want more from whence it came." Hedge fund manager Larry Robbins is one of these artists.
In the past, he's written about a Sliding Doors-type fantasy he's had about being a bus driver; sprinklers; toothpaste; Tommy Boy; and bowling. It turns out, these communiqués were merely preludes. Warm-ups. Practice runs, for the letter he'd been gearing up his whole life to write.
The one about the fish that nearly murdered him. Sayeth Larry:
The manager of $10.6 billion Glenview Capital Management told investors of a New Year’s Eve fishing trip he took with his son in Anguilla in the Caribbean, that ended with the 34-foot charter boat at the bottom of the ocean. Robbins, 45, said that he and his son Ryan, 11, and two local captains trolled for fish toward Prickly Pear Islands, along a ridge where seas drop from 60 feet to 700 feet, similar to the canyons where they fish offshore of Long Island. After hooking a big fish, the boat started to take on water, which isn’t usually a problem, according to the letter. However, the boat’s pump to push out water wasn’t working and the vessel started listing. Robbins said they threw the rod and everything that would float overboard, including an inflatable life raft, and prepared to evacuate. Ryan jumped first and Robbins followed. Less than a minute later the boat was fully vertical. The two paddled to the inflatable lifeboat 50 feet away and after about 10 minutes a rescue boat arrived. Robbins stayed in the water to avoid crowding the bathtub-sized lifeboat. “We will never know what type of fish pulled us down. From the location and the fact that it never surfaced, we think it was most likely a large tuna,” Robbins wrote.
Robbins goes on to say, touchingly, that the experience crystallized what was truly important (his son) and what was not (his iPad and phone). Still, he's pretty sure some rat bastard at the charter company is walking around the island in his swim trunks and boat shoes, while another runs up his data plan making 1-900 calls.
Robbins also realized he left his phone, wallet, iPad and lucky shoes on the boat. [...] “Despite marking the spot where the boat sank, the charter company has yet to recover the boat or our things on it (or so they say).”
Lousy cheating luxury Caribbean fishing-boat companies.