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Hedge Fund Manager Is Done

Posted by ebowen On December - 21 - 2008

After making millions (presumably) running his extremely successful hedge fund, Laude Capital, Andrew Laude sent his farewell message ( out to investors and friends.  The note is funny and surprisingly honest (considering his profession).

October 17, 2008

Today I write not to gloat.  Given the pain that nearly everyone is experiencing, that would be
entirely inappropriate.  Nor am I writing to make further predictions, as most of my forecasts in
previous letters have unfolded or are in the process of unfolding.  Instead, I am writing to say good-

Recently, on the front page of Section C of the Wall Street Journal, a hedge fund manager who was
also closing up shop (a $300 million fund), was quoted as saying, “What I have learned about the
hedge fund business is that I hate it.”  I could not agree more with that statement.  I was in this
game for the money.  The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale,
and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking.  These people who were (often) truly not
worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such
as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government.  All of this behavior
supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to
take the other side of my trades.  God bless America.

There are far too many people for me to sincerely thank for my success.  However, I do not want to
sound like a Hollywood actor accepting an award.  The money was reward enough.  Furthermore,
the endless list those deserving thanks know who they are.

I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions.  I have enough of my own wealth to
manage.  Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth,
might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest.  That is fine; I am content
with my rewards.  Moreover, I will let others try  to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths.
Meanwhile, their lives suck.  Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months,
they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their
Blackberries or other such devices.  What is the point?  They will all be forgotten in fifty years
anyway.  Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten.  I do not understand
the legacy thing.  Nearly everyone will be forgotten.  Give up on leaving your mark.  Throw the
Blackberry away and enjoy life.

So this is it.  With all due respect, I am dropping out.  Please do not expect any type of reply to
emails or voicemails within normal time frames or at all.  Andy Springer and his company will be
handling the dissolution of the fund.  And don’t worry about my employees, they were always
employed by Mr. Springer’s company and only one (who has been well-rewarded) will lose his job.

I have no interest in any deals in which anyone would like me to participate.  I truly do not have a
strong opinion about any market right now, other than to say that things will continue to get worse
for some time, probably years.  I am content sitting on the sidelines and waiting.  After all, sitting
and waiting is how we made money from the subprime debacle.  I now have time to repair my
health, which was destroyed by the stress I layered onto myself over the past two years, as well as
my entire life – where I had to compete for spaces in universities and graduate schools, jobs and assets under management – with those who had all the advantages (rich parents) that I did not.
May meritocracy be part of a new form of government, which needs to be established.

On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal.  First, I point out the
obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight
years, which would have reigned in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct
institutions.  These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all
of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen.  This is an outrage, yet no one seems to
know or care about it.  Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there
has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving
government.  Capitalism worked for two hundred  years, but times change, and systems become
corrupt.  George Soros, a man of staggering wealth, has stated that he would like to be
remembered as a philosopher.  My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for
great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the
common man’s interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best
and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their
interests or lifestyles.  This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system,
Linux, which competes with Microsoft’s near monopoly.  I believe there is an answer, but for now
the system is clearly broken.

Lastly, while I still have an audience, I would like to bring attention to an alternative food and energy
source.  You won’t see it included in BP’s, “Feel good.  We are working on sustainable solutions,”
television commercials, nor is it mentioned in ADM’s similar commercials.  But hemp has been used
for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from
petroleum products.  Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa.  Hemp is the male plant and it grows
like a weed, hence the slang term.  The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our
Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp.  It was used as recently as World War II by the
U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won.  At a time when rhetoric is
flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in
this country?  Ah, the female.  The evil female plant – marijuana.  It gets you high, it makes you
laugh, it does not produce a hangover.  Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife
beating.  So, why is this innocuous plant illegal?  Is it a gateway drug?  No, that would be alcohol,
which is so heavily advertised in this country.  My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that
Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other
additive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into
their coffers.  This policy is ludicrous.  It has surely contributed to our dependency on foreign
energy sources.  Our policies have other countries literally laughing at our stupidity, most notably
Canada, as well as several European nations (both Eastern and Western).  You would not know
this by paying attention to U.S. media sources though, as they tend not to elaborate on who is
laughing at the United States this week.  Please people, let’s stop the rhetoric and start thinking
about how we can truly become self-sufficient.

With that I say good-bye and good luck.

All the best,

Andrew Lahde


One Response to “Hedge Fund Manager Is Done”

  1. Tom Humes says:

    Nice Site layout for your blog. I am looking forward to reading more from you.

    Tom Humes

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