Industry insider John Kay argues that the finance world’s perceived profitability is not the creation of new wealth, but the sector’s appropriation of wealth – of other people’s money. The financial sector, he shows, has grown too large, detached itself from ordinary business and everyday life, and has become an industry that mostly trades with itself, talks to itself, and judges itself by reference to standards which it has itself generated. And the outside world has itself adopted those standards, bailing out financial institutions that have failed all of us through greed and mismanagement.
We need finance, but today we have far too much of a good thing. In Other People’s Money, John Kay shows, in his inimitable style, what has gone wrong in the dark heart of the finance sector.
They were masters of the financial universe, flying in private jets and raking in billions. They thought they were too big to fail. Yet they would bring the world to its knees.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, the news-breaking New York Times journalist, delivers the first true in-the-room account of the most powerful men and women at the eye of the financial storm – from reviled Lehman Brothers CEO Dick ‘the gorilla’ Fuld, to banking whiz Jamie Dimon, from bullish Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to AIG’s Joseph Cassano, dubbed ‘The Man Who Crashed the World’.
Through unprecedented access to the key players, Sorkin meticulously re-creates frantic phone calls, foul-mouthed rows and white-knuckle panic, as Wall Street fought to save itself.
Picking up where Liar’s Poker left off (literally, in the bond dealer’s desks of Salomon Brothers) the story of Long-Term Capital Management is of a group of elite investors who believed they could beat the market and, like alchemists, create limitless wealth for themselves and their partners.
Founded by John Meriweather, a notoriously confident bond dealer, along with two Nobel prize winners and a floor of Wall Street’s brightest and best, Long-Term Captial Management was from the beginning hailed as a new gold standard in investing. It was to be the hedge fund to end all other hedge funds: a discreet private investment club limited to those rich enough to pony up millions.
It became the banks’ own favourite fund and from its inception achieved a run of dizzyingly spectacular returns. New investors barged each other aside to get their investment money into LTCM’s hands. But as competitors began to mimic Meriweather’s fund, he altered strategy to maintain the fund’s performance, leveraging capital with credit on a scale not fully understood and never seen before.
When the markets in Indonesia, South America and Russia crashed in 1998 LCTM’s investments crashed with them and mountainous debts accumulated. The fund was in melt-down, and threatening to bring down into its trillion-dollar black hole a host of financial instiutions from New York to Switzerland. It’s a tale of vivid characters, overwheening ambition, and perilous drama told, in Roger Lowenstein’s hands, with brilliant style and panache.
As Robert Shiller’s new 2009 preface to his prescient classic on behavioral economics and market volatility asserts, the irrational exuberance of the stock and housing markets “has been ended by an economic crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.” As we all, ordinary Americans and professional investors alike, crawl from the wreckage of our heedless bubble economy, the shrewd insights and sober warnings, and hard facts that Shiller marshals in this book are more invaluable than ever.
The original and bestselling 2000 edition of Irrational Exuberance evoked Alan Greenspan’s infamous 1996 use of that phrase to explain the alternately soaring and declining stock market. It predicted the collapse of the tech stock bubble through an analysis of the structural, cultural, and psychological factors behind levels of price growth not reflected in any other sector of the economy. In the second edition (2005), Shiller folded real estate into his analysis of market volatility, marshalling evidence that housing prices were dangerously inflated as well, a bubble that could soon burst, leading to a “string of bankruptcies” and a “worldwide recession.” That indeed came to pass, with consequences that the 2009 preface to this edition deals with.
Irrational Exuberance is more than ever a cogent, chilling, and astonishingly far-seeing analytical work that no one with any money in any market anywhere can afford not to read–and heed.
During his fourteen years as Yale’s chief investment officer, David F. Swensen has transformed the management of the university’s portfolio. Largely by focusing on nonconventional strategies, including a heavy allocation to private equity, Swensen has achieved an annualized return of 16.2 percent, which has propelled Yale’s endowment into the top tier of institutional funds. Now, this acknowledged leader of fund managers draws on his experience and deep knowledge of the financial markets to provide a compendium of powerful investment strategies.
Swensen presents an overview of the investment world populated by institutional fund managers, pension fund fiduciaries, investment managers, and trustees of universities, museums, hospitals, and foundations. He offers penetrating insights from his experience managing Yale’s endowment, ranging from broad issues of goals and investment philosophy to the strategic and tactical aspects of portfolio management. Swensen’s exceptionally readable book addresses critical concepts such as handling risk, selecting investment advisers, and negotiating the opportunities and pitfalls in individual asset classes. Fundamental investment ideas are illustrated by real-world concrete examples, and each chapter contains strategies that any manager can put into action.
At a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult to cope with the relentless challenges provided by today’s financial markets, Swensen’s book is an indispensable roadmap for creating a successful investment program for every institutional fund manager. Any student of markets will benefit from Pioneering Portfolio Management.