More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite

by Sebastian Mallaby
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Overview

More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite by Sebastian Mallaby

The first authoritative history of hedge funds-from their rebel beginnings to their role in defining the future of finance.

Based on author Sebastian Mallaby's unprecedented access to the industry, including three hundred hours of interviews, More Money Than God tells the inside story of hedge funds, from their origins in the 1960s and 1970s to their role in the financial crisis of 2007-2009.

Wealthy, powerful, and potentially dangerous, hedge fund moguls have become the It Boys of twenty-first ­century capitalism. Ken Griffin of Citadel started out trading convertible bonds from his dorm room at Harvard. Julian Robertson staffed his hedge fund with college athletes half his age, then he flew them to various retreats in the Rockies and raced them up the mountains. Paul Tudor Jones posed for a magazine photograph next to a killer shark and happily declared that a 1929-style crash would be "total rock-and-roll" for him. Michael Steinhardt was capable of reducing underlings to sobs. "All I want to do is kill myself," one said. "Can I watch?" Steinhardt responded.

Finance professors have long argued that beating the market is impossible, and yet drawing on insights from physics, economics, and psychology, these titans have cracked the market's mysteries and gone on to earn fortunes. Their innovation has transformed the world, spawning new markets in exotic financial instruments and rewriting the rules of capitalism.

More than just a history, More Money Than God is a window on tomorrow's financial system. Hedge funds have been left for dead after past financial panics: After the stock market rout of the early 1970s, after the bond market bloodbath of 1994, after the collapse of Long Term Capital Management in 1998, and yet again after the dot-com crash in 2000. Each time, hedge funds have proved to be survivors, and it would be wrong to bet against them now. Banks such as CitiGroup, brokers such as Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, home lenders such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, insurers such as AIG, and money market funds run by giants such as Fidelity-all have failed or been bailed out. But the hedge fund industry has survived the test of 2008 far better than its rivals. The future of finance lies in the history of hedge funds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594202551
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/10/2010
Pages: 470
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Sebastian Mallaby has been a Washington Post columnist since 1999. From 1986 to 1999, he was on the staff of The Economist, serving in Zimbabwe, London, and Japan, and as the magazine's Washington bureau chief. He spent 2003 as a Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and has written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and The New Republic, among others.

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More Money Than God: Hedge Funds and the Making of a New Elite 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
RolfDobelli More than 1 year ago
As hedge funds increase in size, variety and number, they also exercise growing power over central banks and national governments, as well as companies and industries. Unfettered by a fixed investment philosophy, hedge fund managers bank on the flexibility to buy assets and sell them short as dynamic markets dictate. Some hedge funds have succeeded spectacularly and some have failed, such as those holding too many mortgage securities when the U.S. housing industry collapsed in 2007. But over its history, the hedge fund industry's performance has been remarkably good. Here, business journalist Sebastian Mallaby forcefully argues that hedge funds contribute to economic stability by chasing the true value of mispriced assets. His richly detailed book centers on the successes and occasional missteps of famous hedge fund managers, including such luminaries as Stanley Druckenmiller, Paul Tudor Jones II, Michael Steinhardt, Julian Robertson and George Soros. getAbstract recommends this book as a vivid introduction to hedge funds for those who are unfamiliar with them, and as a valuable, often entertaining, reference for financial professionals. And if you want to know even more, read the illuminating footnotes. To learn more about this title, check out the following web link: http://www.getabstract.com/summary/14311/more-money-than-god.html
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BigBookWorm More than 1 year ago
I was recommended this book from a hedge fund manager when I first started in this industry. I thought it was a quick read on the history of hedge funds and extremely beneficial in gaining more knowledge in this field. Anyone with an interest should pick up this book to learn more!
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willyvan More than 1 year ago
Sebastian Mallaby, the Paul Volcker Senior Fellow in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Washington Post columnist, has written a most illuminating book on hedge funds. The top three hedge-fund managers in the USA get $1 billion each a year. The money comes from fees (often a fifth of the profits), short selling and leveraging bets with borrowed money. Then they apply the whole package to bonds, futures, swaps and options. Mallaby calls it a 'carnival of creativity and greed' Hedge funds claim that they make the market work. They believe the myths that the markets are always right, that they correct themselves, that the chaos after the credit crunch could only happen once every billion years. They base their models on assumptions of 'rational expectations' and 'efficient markets'. But the efficient-market theory crashed with the 1987 crash, the bond market meltdown of 1994, the Long-Term Capital Management bust in 1998 and the crisis that started in 2008. Currency markets, like equity markets, do not tend towards an efficient equilibrium. As Keynes said of those gambling on bubbles, "the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent." In reality, hedge funds are not about making markets more efficient or prices more accurate. They are all about seizing profits from other people's wealth-creation. They are parasites. Michael Steinhardt, for example, made his fortune by milking discounts offered by pension funds and mutual funds. His collusion with brokers harmed the funds, which would have got better prices for their stock if insiders hadn't fixed the market. So the losers were millions of ordinary Americans, the winners were the millionaires who invested with Steinhardt. Britain's membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (1990-92) gave speculators an opening. The Major government spent $27 billion of reserves trying to save the overvalued pound. After we left the ERM, the pound fell 14 per cent, losing the taxpayers $3.8 billion. The great philanthropist George Soros got $1 billion, in a 'vast transfer of wealth from taxpayers to traders'. In 1997, the hedge funds caused Asia's financial crisis. Soros' fund sold the overvalued Thai baht short. His fund made $750 million from the forced devaluation; Thailand's output fell by 17 per cent, plunging millions into poverty. Then Soros told South Korea it must 'restructure' by making it easier for employers to sack workers. As Mallaby sums up, "During the crises of 1997, hedge funds had profited by betting against governments that set illogically high prices for their currencies. In the hangover from those crises, hedge funds would profit by betting against governments that set illogically low prices for the broken jewels of their economies."` Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs boasted of their independence from governments, yet when in trouble in 2008 begged for government funds. The International Monetary Fund said the bailouts cost the taxpayer $10 trillion. Future crises are bound to happen. As Mallaby writes, "When banks can pocket the upside while spreading the cost of their failures, failure is almost certain." As he notes, "government insurance encourages financiers to take larger risks; and larger risks force governments to increase the insurance. It is a vicious cycle", which, he warns, "will go on until governments are bankrupt." Or until we stop them.
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