Institutional Investors

In Latest Blow To Hedge Funds, Largest US Life Insurer Is Redeeming Most Of Its Investments

Moments ago we the latest confirmation that the hedge fund business model is indeed suffering through an existential battle when MetLife Inc., the largest U.S. life insurer, said was seeking to exit most of its hedge-fund portfolio after a slump in the investments. According to Bloomberg, the insurer is seeking to redeem $1.2 billion of the $1.8 billion in holdings, a process that may take a couple of years to complete.

In Latest Blow To Hedge Funds, AIG Redeems $4 Billion; CALSTRS Says "2 And 20" Model Is "Off The Table"

The pain for hedge funds is only just starting: Chris Ailman, who runs investments at CALSTRS, said in a Bloomberg Television interview from the Milken conference that the hedge fund industry’s two-and-twenty fee model is “broken” and “off the table” for large institutional investors. And then the latest blow to the suddenly struggling industry came overnight from none other than the firm which started the bailout regime, AIG, which following its earnings report announced that the insurer - burned by losses on hedge funds - has submitted notices of redemption for $4.1 billion of those holdings. “As of today, we have received $1.2 billion of proceeds from those redemptions."

"Gold Isn't An Investment - Gold Is Money"

Probably the biggest misconception investors have about gold is that it's an investment. They'll listen to people on CNBC pick apart and analyze every $30 move in the metal, just as they would talk about a move in crude oil or stocks or bonds. They'll check the price quote every day... to see how their "investment" in gold is performing. That just isn't a useful way to view gold. Gold isn't an investment. Gold is money. Gold is real wealth you can hold in your hand, it's also "crisis insurance"... or "wealth insurance."

Italy's Bank Bailout Fund Already One Third Empty After First Bank Rescue

Italy's bad bank bailouts fund, "Atlas", is about to become the proud new owner of around 90% of Italy's Popolare di Vicenza after investors only bought a fraction of the mid-tier bank's €1.5 billion cash call, Reuters reports.  Popolare di Vicenza, which was due to announce the outcome of the public share offer later on Friday, said earlier in the day that it had raised €4.25 billion, at the lower end of a 4-6 billion euro range it had initially targeted, from 67 mostly domestic financial institutions.

The Enabler & The Lifeline: Diamond Resorts & Quorum FCU

Diamond has a good thing going with Quorum: they get access to ample credit, especially for those applicants with weaker credit profiles. From a Diamond investor's perspective, it would be a shame if anything changed. The post credit-crisis strategy of focusing on esoteric lending opportunities like VOI (as well as taxi medallions, hearing aids and fertility treatments) to generate revenues and membership has run into both a broader slowdown in the consumer credit cycle as well as more specific problems, like an increasingly worried regulator.

Volume Collapses As China Commodity Exchanges Ordered To "Curb Speculation"

We have been warning about China's speculative commodity trading bubble - spewing false signals around the world about the strength of the real economy - and now, as we suggested previously, Chinese authorities have decided to burst yet another bubble they created.Reuters reports that China's Securities regulator has ordered three major commodity exchanges to "control intraday speculation in commodity markets," ordering them to "curb trading for investors with no commodity industry background." Volume has crashed... and just as it did in the equity markets, price will follow.

Doug Casey Warns: "It's The Next Stage Of The Greater Depression..."

"What these central banks and governments are doing is incredibly irresponsible and stupid, printing these currency units up by the trillions... so there’s going to be a panic into gold. ...They’ve created a super-bubble in bonds, a bubble in stocks, and meanwhile commodities have collapsed and are below production costs in many cases. ...The economy is going to be very, very bad... It’s the next stage of what I call the Greater Depression."

"This Is The Most Crowded Trade in History"

"Instead of looking for manager’s and investment opportunities to beat the market, investors are opting to be the market and are likely creating the most crowded trade in historyStagnant monetary policy fosters a groupthink outlook.  The Fed Put prompts the same positioning.  Computerized programs trade correlations and relationships established during an extended period of abnormal policy.  Active managers continue to retrench as the market diverges from the fundamentals, but the blind buyers continue to participate - it does not matter if the market is 10x, 15x, or 20x earnings, they buy for one reason, it is the market."

On The Impossibility Of A Soft Landing

Mind the terminal growth assumption. The warning signs are everywhere that what lies on the other side is not a world of 24.3X valuations.