DISCUSSION POST – SOCIAL CAPITAL
Some of you found hedge funds interesting, not worth the cost, in need of regulation, play an important role, manager pay is right on if the market accepts it, pay is too high, not easily replicable, how do they do it, Warren Buffett argues sub-par performance, what’s all the fuss… There has clearly been a push back on hedge funds, including some by pension funds that are demanding fee changes. The 2/20 management and performance fees are being pushed down by recent investor requirements that funds exceed high water marks, payment on performance fees only for returns that exceed Libor plus the fund’s management fee, and decreasing management fees as the size of an investor’s allocation to the fund grows. These changes will help in realigning the fee structure and perhaps increase net returns, while some hedge funds are shutting down (see the attached recent article “Quitting while they’re behind…” and tongue in cheek article on “The lexicon of hedge funds…”
Many of you expressed some agreement with the idea of borderless investing, while others had some reservations. Related to this borderless investing approach, there has also been an explosion of country ETFs (exchange-traded funds). According to BlackRock (a financial firm quoted recently in the Economist), late 2000 year-end ETF assets under management topped the $1 trillion mark for the first time — whereas the industry’s assets were just $40 billion at the end of the late 1990’s. Emerging markets and commodities were among the fastest-growing ETF types in the late 2000s.
Our focus until now has been on financial products and markets, but there are clearly other forms of capital. The attached article, “A question of trust” discusses the role of “social capital.” It is clear that social capital matters on several dimensions. While the attached social capital article is from some years ago, is “social capital” important in business and capital markets? Do you have any insights in this regard from your personal or professional experience? I hope you have a great Thanksgiving later this week.