Hedge Fund Panel: Tiger Management / Tiger Cubs ~ market folly

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hedge Fund Panel: Tiger Management / Tiger Cubs

Buck Woodford, author of ManyPeaks and Portfolio Manager of Teewinot Asset Management recently attended a discussion at the University of Virginia entitled "Investment Strategies in Turbulent Times," which consisted of a panel of five very prominent and successful hedge fund managers. The panel featured many ex-Tiger Management greats, including founder Julian Robertson. Also on board were some of his "Tiger Cubs," Paul Touradji, Chris Shumway, Rick Gerson (Blue Ridge Capital), and John Griffin (Blue Ridge). In the discussion, each was asked to present their best current investment thesis.

Here are their ideas as written by Buck,

"Chris Shumway said that buying stocks that were down huge primarily based mostly on hedge fund liquidations would be a long-term winning strategy. It’s always debatable why a stock is down, but this does make fundamental sense.

Paul Touradji layed out a thesis for shorting copper. He believes that base metals are priced based on the “velocity of money” - a measurement that’s likely to drop as the world generally de-leverages. Fair enough.

Julian - believe it or not - was bullish on a particular derivative bet. He believes the interest rate yield curve will steepen significantly, and discussed “steepener swaps” as his favorite investment right now. While chuckling, Griffin said that when Julian called to tell him about the idea, Julian joked that in his family this Christmas there would be “a steepener in every stocking.” Us finance people are really easily entertained. :)

Rick Gerson made a good point that United States corporations had really gone down the road of “professional” management — he compared it to outsourcing. Naming a few middle eastern companies that he deemed good investments, Rick made the case that in these frontier markets there are still plenty of “owner/operator” public companies in which the people running the show retain 70-80% ownership. He presumably has some of Blue Ridge’s money allocated to these situations.

John Griffin did not share any specific security that he liked, but ruminated that what he’d really like is the ability to “arbitrage time.” Basically that in a world dominated by short-term thinking, it’s hard to take a stand on a company or stock because even if you’re eventually right, the losses you may sit on during the interim can cause both your investors and employees to get hot & bothered. I hear what he’s saying, but that’s just the fact of life with public/listed company investing. If you don’t want a daily price quote, you’ve just got to get big enough (or partner with other funds) to buy the whole company and take it private. The practice of not marking to market is a different game."

Big thanks to Buck for his coverage of the event. If you are unfamiliar with some of the men mentioned above, or were just wanted more background on them, here are their biographies.

And, if you've missed them, we track numerous "Tiger Cub" hedge fund portfolios on the blog, including John Griffin's Blue Ridge Capital here, Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital here, and Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital here. Additionally, we noted that Julian Robertson recently made a media appearance in which he detailed some of his recent purchases.

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