Friday, June 22, 2007

Why You Shouldn't Buy a Hedge Fund's Stock Offering

by Ken Houghton

Working on a longer rant, but why not leverage Mark Cuban at Blog Maverick?
I'm far from a sophisticated investor, although I guess I am an accredited investor because of my networth. As I have written before, I'm a big believer that whenever you do a business deal with people you don't know, particularly buying and selling stocks, you always look for the sucker. If you don't see the sucker, then you are the sucker.

Good basic rule. And more detail about why there is a severe principal/agent problem in the making:
Appeasing hedge fund investors is a very, very different business than making shareholders happy.

If a shareholder sells their share of stock, the hedge fund wont really care. Sure, they want the stock price to go up. They own shares of stock in the fund, and as the stock price goes, so goes some percentage of their networth. That should be enough for them to do whatever it takes to increase the stock price, right ? Maybe

Increasing the price of a share of stock is as much marketing to create demand for the stock as it is earnings of the fund.We also call this increasing the P/E of a stock. There are dozens of ways to increase the PE of a stock that is showing a profit. Hedge fund investors care about 1 thing. Cash. Money that is returned to them. Shareholders care about the price of the stock. One is capital returns, the other is capital appreciation.

That difference is just common sense, but its significant....

They can't be responsive to shareholders and investors with the same story

Read the whole thing, and think carefully about what it means when a Mutual Fund invests in a Hedge Fund.

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