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    The Varoufakis Tape: Part Two Faille returns to the matter of a recorded conversation in which a former Greek finance minister talked about German ideas that ought to have the French government worried. Specifically, it is allegedly Werner Schäuble’s intention to scare the French into abandoning sovereignty. Greece is just a pawn.

    In the first part of our story, we observed that a tape of former Greek finance minister discussing the tumultuous events of his five-month tenure in that office has leaked out, despite the purported reliance on the “Chatham House Rule” amongst OMFIF members. Further, we discussed that minister’s, Yanis Varoufakis’ discussion in this tape of a secret team he created, at the behest of the Prime Minister, Alex Tsipras. This team created an [equally secret] plan for a transition for Greece out of the euro, to a renewed drachma. Finally, we mentioned that about 13 minutes into that 23:35 recording, Varoufakis stopped talking about the recent past and began sharing his views on the near future. That is where we pick up now. The Terrified French Wolfgang Schäuble, finance minister in Germany, on the one hand, and the IMF on the other, have a common interest. The “IMF does not want to have to violate its charter again and to provide new loans to a country whose debt is not viable.” Schäuble also ...

Featured Post


The Skorina Report: A Look at the New Investment Crew at NYU

Charles Skorina looks at the new crew at NYU.

New York University opened its doors in 1831 and it's now the biggest private college in the country by enrollment. But their $3.4 billion endowment is relatively small for a large private US university (it's only the 28th-largest) and its performance hasn't been very impressive. We've paid much more attention to their uptown rival, Columbia University, whose $9.2 billion endowment is bigger, higher-performing, and officially Ivy League.  We ranked Columbia and Yale tied for number one by 10-year performance in our annual ...


The Skorina Report: The Best, The Rest & Our Pick for Public Endowment CIO of Decade

Charles Skorina looks at the top public endowments and discusses performance with Erik Lundberg.

This month we are pleased to bring you our annual survey of endowment performance at the Public Ivys, including many of America’s biggest, most prestigious, and best-endowed public universities. We think the performance of these endowments ought to be of interest not only to the endowment and foundation community, but to the investment world at large.  They include some extremely talented people getting results which rival investment organizations anywhere. And, they are important clients for many for-profit money managers all over the ...

Guest Posts


The Skorina Report: A Look at the New Investment Crew at NYU
Charles Skorina looks at the new crew at NYU.

New York University opened its doors in 1831 and it's now the biggest private college in the country by enrollment. But their $3.4 billion endowment is relatively small for a large private US university (it's only the 28th-largest) and its performance hasn't been very impressive. We've paid much more attention to their uptown rival, Columbia University, whose $9.2 billion endowment is bigger, higher-performing, and officially Ivy League.  We ranked Columbia and Yale tied for number one by 10-year performance in our annual ...


Currencies

The Varoufakis Tape: Part One
In a newly released recording (of a conversation apparently intended to remain secret somewhat longer), the former finance minister discussed the cloak-and-dagger task force that had drawn up plans for a Grexit. And, looking forward, he talked about German ideas that ought to have the French government worried.

The Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) has released an audio recording of an interview of the former finance minister of Greece, Yanis Varoufakis. The interview seems to have been recorded immediately after Varoufakis’ resignation, yet to have remained unavailable to the public over the intervening weeks. The Greek newspaper Kathimerini published much of the transcript on July 26,, and in response OMFIF made the full transcript available the following day. How Kathimerini got its information isn’t clear, although on the tapes there is some half-joking discussion of how many ...

Forex

Overtrading and the Danger of Pro Rata
Guest columnist Ginger Szala looks at pro rata and what happens if...

By Ginger Szala The 2015 New Year surprise happened fast: the Swiss National Bank announced on Jan. 15 that the Swiss Franc would no longer be capped by the Euro and it jumped 41% in minutes. This black swan event happened just before a U.S. holiday when traders were already winding down for a three-day weekend. Those left trading included a combination of retail players, banks and some prop firms. And the market went into a frenzy. The losses were still being calculated into the next week and beyond. Several retail forex firms ...

Currencies

PwC on Mergers and Acquisitions Activity
"Not moving is more risky than moving," said one CEO asked about mergers and acquisitions. "We will make more acquisitions, but they’ll probably be larger in nature, more transformative. "

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ recent review indicates that the mergers and acquisitions market in the United States will continue to gain steam through the second half of this year. It offers the same lesson we took from John Paulson’s remarks at Delivering Alpha. But the subject is important enough to deserve some detailed reinforcement. Martyn Curragh, PwC’s U.S. deals leader, said in a statement, “Corporate boards are deploying record amounts of cash to increase returns, and high stock prices are emboldening buyers and sellers. The strong U.S. economy and rising confidence signals a strong ...

Institutional Investing

7 Messages Family Offices Give Emerging Managers
Guest columnist Diane Harrison examines the relationship between family offices and emerging managers and why some managers get money and why others don't.

By Diane Harrison After attending a recent conference where experts discussed prevalent issues family offices struggle with in terms of their investment management activities, it struck me that there is a certain disconnect in the communications aimed towards and emanating from these family offices. The number of family offices in the United States is roughly the same as the number of emerging managers looking to family offices for investments, and that current figure is in the thousands. Why then are these managers finding the prospects for placement of their funds so ...

Investment Management Fees

The Strength of Multi-Strat Is No Mystery
Credit Suisse Capital Services says that appetite has increased of late, among institutional investors, for multistrategy funds. Faille offers some thoughts as to why.

A midyear survey by Credit Suisse Capital Services says that most institutional investors plan either to increase or to maintain their level of hedge fund investment through the second half of the year, 2015. That was the headline finding of the study. Two things that caught my own eye, though, were another point from the survey, and the commentary thereon. First, the CSCS survey says that appetite has increased of late in particular for multistrategy funds. ...

Institutional Investing

Crisis? Tempted to Flee to Shelter of Big Funds? Bad Idea
The authors of a new study of the relationship between fund size and performance employ a database consisting of 7,261 funds and their performance over a twenty year period (1994 to 2014). Spoiler alert: size is bad. Especially in a crisis.

A new report out of the Cass Business School, City University, London, indicates that investors, especially in times of crisis (that is, when the use of the adjective “hedge” in front of “fund” is most apropos), are better off investing with a small fund rather than a large one. This is counter-intuitive, in that it is precisely in times of crisis that the temptation to flee to the larger institutions is most powerful for many ...

Corporate governance

A New Look at Last Year’s Conference Board White Paper on Governance
Last year the Conference Board asked itself several questions germane to corporate governance. They were good questions. The odd thing about the report was the way the greybeards involved simply threw up their hands rather than trying to answer any of them.

You don’t need to be a weatherman (or a hedge fund’s star trader, a corporate board member, a securities lawyer…) to know at least a couple of things about the governance of public corporations in the 21st century. Specifically: activist shareholders have attained an unprecedented level of importance, often crashing the once-sedate garden parties of corporate board deliberations. Second, the institutional context in which they can do this has been molded and will be remolded ...

Private Equity

Alternative Investments By the Numbers: Top 5 2015 YTD Takeaways
Guest columnist Andre Boreas takes a look at the alternative investment universe year-to-date 2015 by the numbers.

By Andre Boreas, CEO, Quadsight Partners As the half-way point of the year passes, we thought it would be a good time to take a look and see where things stand with the hedge fund and private equity markets, including five important takeaways from the first half of 2015:   Capital raising continues to be strong across all asset classes. Total hedge fund assets topped $2.94 trillion in Q1 with $18.2 billion in new capital allocated according to ...