31 Jul 2015

Buying a Hedge Fund is not so easy

Hedge fund firms are difficult to sell/buy as they depend - in general - too much on the style of a few individuals running the show. Quite often their mentality is not well suited to build a lasting institution. One of the main reasons - apart from the possibility of greater financial rewards - of starting a hedge fund was to be free of the bureaucratic constraints they experienced during their previous employment with a larger institution. So I am not surprised that Carlyle's acquisition of Vermillion asset management has hit rocky shores. (Wall street Journal, Paywall).

10 Jul 2015

Future of 'Universal' Banking Model in doubt

The sudden exit of another Bank CEO - now at Barclays Bank - is a stark reminder that managing a 'Universal' Bank requires near-superhuman skills, and a good portion of luck (or friends in high places as JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon or Lloyd Blankfein at Goldman Sachs would probably confirm).The business model did work quite well in a period of slow technological change, markets that were quite insulated and regulation that kept unwanted competition out.But a universal bank is basically nothing but a financial conglomerate and the conglomerate model - while offering certain advantages - is not one that has demonstrated that it is likely to be successful in the long run. Who still remembers names such as LTV or Gulf+Western? Both were high-fliers on the stock market until they hit the buffers as they become unmanageable, their mastermind retired or they hit unfavourable economic headwinds.