The legends are abandoning the markets.
Stanley Druckenmiller founded his hedge fund Duquesne Capital in 1981. From 1986 onward he maintained average annual returns of 30%. He also managed George Soros’ Quantum Fund from 1988-2000. During that latter period he famously facilitated Soros’ “breaking of the Bank of England” trade: the legendary trade which netted over $1 billion in a single day.
Druckenmiller closed Duquesne Capital in 2010, stating that he was no longer able to meet his investment “standard[s]” in the post-2008 climate (he made money in 2008 before the Fed began to alter the risk landscape).
Druckenmiller’s key strength has always been macro-economic forecasting. That he would feel the capital markets were not offering him the opportunities he needed says a lot.
Seth Klarman is another investment legend who is returning capital to clients. Widely considered to be the Warren Buffett of his generation, Klarman recently cited a lack of “investment opportunities” as the cause for his decision to downsize his legendary Baupost Group hedge funds.
Other legends or market outperformers who have returned capital to investors or closed their funds to outside investors are Carl Icahn and Michael Karsch. Indeed, even value legend Warren Buffett is sitting on the single largest amount of cash in the history of his 50+ year career as an investor, stating that stocks are “fully valued” at current levels (Buffett largely does not believe in shorting the market, so his decision to be in cash is a strong indicator of opportunities).
These men are masters of the capital markets. They are voting with their feet and pulling their capital out of them. Given that their personal compensation is closely linked to assets under management and profit sharing, this decision is akin to the choice to forego additional wealth that could be made quite easily (none of these individuals would have trouble raising several billion more in capital) rather than trying to find opportunities in a challenging market.
If they’re bailing on the market… what are the odds trouble is approaching?
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Phoenix Capital Research