His Name Was John Paulson (And His Fund Was Down 20%)

Tyler Durden's picture

When Zero Hedge first reported that the fund most exposed to the Sino Forest collapse is the once fabled and infallible (especially when it gets to pick the CDO portfolio it shorts) Paulson & Co, we suggested that the fund has lost $500 million on this one investment, pushing the firm deep into the red, and further calculated that the firm's flagship Advantage Plus fund was down about 13% for the year. Boy were we off. As the WSJ's Greg Zuckerman reports, Advantage Plus fund "lost more than 13% in the early part of this month, through June 10, leaving it down 19.65% for the year, according to two investors briefed on the performance...One problem for Mr. Paulson: The recent collapse in shares of China forestry company Sino-Forest Corp. The timber company has tumbled 80% since late May, amid allegations by a short seller of questionable accounting, which the company has denied. That collapse has resulted in a paper loss of more than $500 million for Mr. Paulson's firm, based on holding figures as of April 29 from FactSet Research. Paulson & Co. owned nearly 35 million shares of Sino-Forest, according to FactSet." Which means that rumors that Paulson, in addition to being long the stock, is also heavily long the firm's bonds which last traded just south of 60, are likely correct, and the Chinese fraud may have well cost the firm almost as much as it made on the now infamous Abacus CDO. And to think Zero Hedge predicted back in November that the Chinese fraudcaps would snag some very high profile targets. Little did we know that the complete lack of diligence characterizing most retail momo investors would befall the one fund that up until this point had basked in the halo of invincibility. At this point we would not be at all surprised if LPs, seeing a 20% plunge in their P&L, pull their capital from Paulson and put it in Muddy Waters, whose flawless track record is based purely on research and not on allegedly shady manipulative practices or economies of scale.

And all of this excludes Paulson's now disastrous bet that financial firms would surge, with the butt of all jokes being Paulson's bet that BofA would be worth $30 by the end of 2011. Maybe after a 1 for 3 reverse stock split...

Lately, as investors have dumped banks and other financial companies, Mr. Paulson's holdings have resulted in losses. Mr. Paulson's firm owned more than 41 million shares of Citigroup Inc. as of the end of March, according to securities filings, the firm's third-largest stock holding. Bank of America Corp. was Paulson & Co.'s sixth-largest holding.

Citigroup has dropped about 14% since March 31, while Bank of America has fallen about 21% in that period. It isn't clear how many shares Paulson & Co. retains of those companies, but Mr. Paulson has told investors that he is still a believer in financial shares.

Not all are losses:

One Paulson wager that is working: gold. At the start of 2009, Mr. Paulson launched a fund to buy gold investments and has told investors that he placed a good chunk of his own money in gold. The yellow metal is up more than 7% so far this year.

To think - one could have read Zero Hedge in March 2009 and come to the same investment conclusion without paying 2 and 20 for two years in a row.

And to think something else: should Paulson, which likely all other hedge funds is probably levered to the hilt, suddenly experience a deluge of redemption requests, here is what will promptly be sold off. In size.

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baby_BLYTHE's picture

His name is John Paulson and yes, he deserves to have his neck stretched.

Everyman's picture

In FINANCIAL Death a member of Project Economic Mayhem has a name.


HIS Name is John Paulsen.

topcallingtroll's picture

Bring back the lampost dancing!

My top ten list includes blankfein and mozillo.

If these huge obvious crimes, the biggest thefts ever recorded in the world, cannot be investigated and punished perhaps a collapse will bring forth the neo-jacobins.

trav7777's picture

yeah; screw all these oligarchs

old naughty's picture

He lost 20%...You still think he is (Oh, I get it, you are saying he thought he was)? I guess DSK thought he was too.

Underlings (or the MIDDLE class?), don't get to wake up like sheeples, at all.

Korrath's picture

It may take anywhere from 5 years to 10; but I genuinely worry that somewhere in America right now is our own version of Robespierre, waiting to rise to power on the back of an American version of the Terror.  God help us all the day we learn his name.

zhandax's picture

There are several waiting.  Not a prayer in hell of it happening.  There is little chance the sheep will organize and discover they can choose someone other than the hand-selected presidential puppet candidates before the collapse.  There are too many participants on this site alone with the trading desk knowledge to, if given the office, suck every bit of illicit liquidity pumped into these leeches over the last 20 years out, bankrupt them, and replenish the to-date fictitious Social Security Trust Fund which was denied funding in the interest of these leeches' engorgement. Someone who will then, with fully-funded entitlement programs, gut the lot of useless federal agencies to give DC a bigger real estate glut and higher UE rate than now exists in FL, NV, or CA and leave this country with a tenable budget and no debt.  Someone who will then reinstate real money and swing the guilty from street lamps.  The ass-hats who really run things will crash the system if it appears there is any chance in hell of that outcome being realized.

Dugald's picture

You have already had him, J. Edgar Hoover......!

holdbuysell's picture

Paulson really needed some Junior Democratic Senators on his team.

Almost Solvent's picture

Did a cop pop a cap in his head too?

LOWNskater52's picture

ahahah Great title.  Laughed when I saw it.  Love the Fight Club reference. 

Jasper M's picture

Maybe he can make it all back on volume.


hedgeless_horseman's picture

Little did we know that the complete lack of diligence characterizing most retail momo investors would befall the one fund that up until this point had basked in a halo of invincibility.

That is the untold story I would really like to hear, Tyler.  Who failed (with Sino-Forest) and why?  Hear tell the finder's fee was historical.

aminorex's picture

You didn't quote the most risible part, about Block's "flawless track record" (which includes destroying excellent enterprises such as ONP) not being the product of "shady manipulative practices" such as defamation, stock manipulation, and outright fraud.   

buzzsaw99's picture

He should have stuck to defrauding usa pension funds with the squid.

Baptiste Say's picture

First how do one trick morons like this guy get trusted with billions in the first place?


Secondly why does he bother to make picks and risk loss when he can just buy inside tips like George Whoros?

holdbuysell's picture

"And to think Zero Hedge predicted back in November that the Chinese fraudcaps would snag some very high profile targets."


Rut roh, no inline hyperlink to the article that proves you called this?

JK...thanks for the excellent work.

Baptiste Say's picture

We recommend readers focus their non-momo attention (and actual due diligence) on Tianli Agritech, (OINK), Wowjoint Holdings (BWOW), China Shen Zhou (SHZ) and China Wind Systems (CWS).



We estimate that CGA’s value is no more than $2.85 per share, as opposed to its current market price of $9."


holdbuysell's picture

Got junked for that. Wow. Check how long I've been here. I saw those.

JK = Just Kidding.


Falling-Knife's picture

His name is John Paulson-and he has a Gulfstream 650; $17B in physical Gold-and he could care less what we think or say... 

Baptiste Say's picture

Proof of $17 billion gold holdings?


I just looked him up and my comment about one trick pony was unfounded, "On January 28, 2011, it was reported in various news media on television and online that John Paulson earned at least $5,000,000,000 (five billion USD) in 2010.[30][31]"

Falling-Knife's picture

$17B was just a guess, Forbes list his net worth over $12 Billion, but who's counting.  He is a self made investor, you know if we think holding real Gold is smart, he is way ahead of us...

ProdigyofZen's picture

Paulson most certainly is not a one trick pony. He has been running his own hedge fund since like 1993 and consistently had decent returns. Fortunately for him he saw a huge opportunity and seized it.

kito's picture

oh, GLD is physical gold?

Falling-Knife's picture

He probably has more physical Gold than all of us ZH's combined...and you watch, through some miracle, those financial stocks he's holding will sky rocket while we sit here to scared to pull the trigger...

kito's picture

the famed investor who bet the real estate market and financials were ready to zoom back up doesnt strike me as the type to be storing physical gold. i'm not seeing paulson as a doom and gloomer

Falling-Knife's picture

You must remember, he is one of the 'chosen one's'...

Ergo's picture

I speculate:  There's clients who want to invest in banks, so they have a fund for that.  There's clients who want to invest in China, so they have a fund for that too.  Same for real estate, and tech, and biotech, etc.  That's what happens when you get big and famous.  But the master gets 2 and 20, so give 'em what they want, and take your profits.  Meanwhile put your own profits into gold (and I'd suggest farmland, but no idea what Paulson does).  Real assets, just like banks always try to grab.

Max Cynical's picture

Deliveries of the Gulfstream 650 won't occur until 2012...

Number 156's picture

This is the kind of thing that pushes guys like him to either jump out of a window, or commit even more fraud and subterfuge to claw his way back to being whole again.

I pick the latter over the former.

Atomizer's picture

John Paulson needs to appear on CNBC Squawk Box. Becky can go under the table to rub down John's needs, while Carl and Liesman can spin the losses into investment opportunities.

Michael Victory's picture

One secret of happiness is to conclude how you want your life to be, for example to be free from guilt, and then construct behavioral patterns that do not result in guilt, thus taking control of your future.



Sambo's picture

Very well said. We all control the future by our present action(s).

Michael Victory's picture

tru dat.

A thing to consider, rather than seeking freedom from blame, shame, guilt.. regrets.



Dr. Richard Head's picture

While this example may be on the micro level - http://www.youtube.com/user/ShakedownR3volution#p/a/u/0/CqW1pGqepkg (start in at 1:00 minute in) - the cost/benefit analysis of effort expended to be free in a private property sense and free from legalized extortion sense has been incalculable for me.  I find myself questioning the best avenue for the freedom I happen to seek in life, but is seems as if my time would be better spent trying to get legalized gay-male abortions.


Is it civil disobedience?  Trying to recite their rules back to them in a loaded-deck kangaroo court?  Shifting of monetary assets into physical currencies as opposed to Keynesian tampons of debauchery?  Withdrawing from the primary culprits of the full bore crime-spree?  Stiff the bankers and force them a hair-cut on unsecured debt?  Petition initiatives in which we ask for permission from our overlords to keep our property? 


I have hit each one of these avenues, yet the masses keep finger-fucking themselves in Amerika and I keep getting stuck with the fucking bill.  All of the while I am labeled crazy for throwing punches every chance I get to these mother-fuckers.  Every path I have taken has felt as if I am pissing into the wind.  At first the release feels great, but the spray back is a mother fucker.  I may provide some nice sound bites for my friends to get a chuckle over, but at the end of the day I am cornered from every piece of my fucking private property. 


Avoid the battle is the next plan.  I need some good sand to bury my head in.  LIESman make a pretty fucking mean sand castle from what I have heard.

StychoKiller's picture

Ever read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"?

NOTaREALmerican's picture

>and then construct behavioral patterns that do not result in guilt, thus taking control of your future.

Duplicity and self-delusion are much easier - which is why most people take that route. 

TruthInSunshine's picture

You can't replace lost capital.

You can miss out on the last big boom and still be in a position of relatively steady ability if you have maintained your capital.

Many hedge fund clients are going to rediscover the absolutism that one can't replace lost capital. This freight train has just begun the next leg down.

There's a good reason why so many truly credible and long time money managers closed shop in the last year and returned all client funds.

Bernanke and Fed Officials would literally have to rent those planes with trailing banners stating 'Go on, take the money and run,' to be any more obvious in telling those who piled in to equity markets in 2009 and 2010 that they're yanking support for equity markets for what could be an extended period of time.

A Man without Qualities's picture

What is the Fed looking for here?

Firstly, in the absence of QE, there needs to be demand for Treasuries, to keep yields at current, or lower levels.  

Get oil nearer to $75

Get gold and silver down (though this may be harder to achieve esp silver owing to genuine strong demand for physical and large short position)

Demonstrate that the Dollar is still the flight to safety currency.

The effect on the equity markets is secondary, but it will buy political support for more money printing.   

I suspect that they want to use the chaos as a time to introduce a "solution" to the foreclosure crisis (it's still there, and it's still big enough to bring down the global financial system).  They will force through in the chaos a very generous solution for the banks (it may seem harsh to those who don't understand the scope of the banks' risk), but nobody will be able to complain about tearing up the constitution and the independence of the states, because otherwise it will be TEOTWAWKI etc etc.

My gut feeling is the long term solution involves the Fed increasing it's balance sheet to north of $10 trillion (the numbers are absurd), followed by ending of the Fed in it's current form, whereby the debt held on balance sheet will merely be retired, and we may very well see a forced conversion of old Dollars into "Nuevo Dollares".  It's a simple choice - kill the banking system or kill the currency, but only by killing the currency can you hide many of the previous sins.

(As a side note, the Greeks are in such a mess because they used the steady devaluation of their currency to hide the continuous theft, but now they no longer own their currency, they cannot do this, so risk being exposed.  The Germans have finally understood this point.)

However, I don't think we will be at the kill the Fed and the Dollar stage yet, I think we go down pretty hard from here, probably revisit last year's lows, then the new monetary stimulus plan will be rolled out and we'll head back up again, for probably the last time in the current monetary regime.

Just my thoughts, but I know one thing for sure - we cannot grow ourselves out of this debt burden.

nmewn's picture

"Little did we know that the complete lack of diligence characterizing most retail momo investors would befall the one fund that up until this point had basked in a halo of invincibility."

A communist would never lie about the facts even if they had done due diligence...would they?

Sorry, I couldn't help myself ;-)

Oh regional Indian's picture

Public losses private gains. These figureheads couldn't care less.

This time, more than any other, force majure is IN force. 20%? Hah! Hedge Funds are shutting shop left and right.

Definitely smells like a shock-week. Wonder what we will be "gifted" before the weekend is out.



tickhound's picture

Yep... 'tis a "new" phenomenon, this widening gap. 

Cramer Ad-break ran "we'll tell you how... Companies are refining their positions to cater to this new reality... Jim will explore the phenomenon, and how it should effect your portfolio."

old naughty's picture


Public losses private gains. E-M-S.

E (+20%) = Middle figureheads (-20%) + Sheeples (0)

E (>20%) = M (-20%) + S (<-0)

Can the gift be towards the E end? Hummmmmm.

It will make me feel better, breathing easier and a bit more balanced.

Village Idiot's picture

"Ballson" Call him for what he is.Nuts across the nose.

Absinthe Minded's picture


Sorry, had to do it, from NH.