Reports of the demise of the hedge fund may have been exaggerated. But so too were the hopes and dreams of an orange-tinted Golden Age for the industry under frenemy President Trump and his team of paper-pushers. You’d expect from all of the predictions of newfound glory in the wake of Nov. 8, 2016, that industry gatherings would be a non-stop party. Instead, they’ve all been depressing bits of nostalgia or collectivetherapy sessions if they’ve happened at all. This week’s Milken Global Conference has been no different. For in between some penny psychoanalyzing of Carl Icahn and David Solomon’s blow-out rave, the best the hedge funds can say for themselves is, “Not dead yet!”
Ricky Sandler, the founder of Eminence Capital, introduced himself as being part of “a dying breed" of stock-pickers. "But surviving," he quickly added.
Hedge fund professionals Sandler, Dawn Fitzpatrick, Dmitry Balyasny and Andrew Feldstein, speaking on a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, tried to be upbeat about the future of industry. They couldn’t manage for long -- quickly turning sour on fees, investor demands, the surfeit of funds and the cost of doing business.