We know it’s been a rough few months (or years) for some of you little hedge fund prodigies. We feel your pain, Bill Ackman. John Paulson. Crispin Odey. But really mostly Bill Ackman. Just know that it’s not your fault. Those were some really top-notch ideas you came up with. They just didn’t work out—and through no fault of your own. That’s the important part. Keep dreaming big dreams. You’ll get’em one day, tigers.
Neither of these trades could be considered a dumb mistake. Valeant had been one of the best-performing stocks in the pharmaceuticals sector until last year. And speculating on a Chinese economic slowdown not only had a sound economic rationale, it was delivering the goods until quite recently. It all serves as a grim reminder that it is not always the bad ideas that do the damage. What you have to look out for is good ideas that have stopped working….
Mr Odey and Mr Ackman are strong-willed characters and both had a record which justified their self confidence. But all this goes to show is that it is not just mediocre investors who make mistakes.