Hedge Fund Scum
I have seen the hedge fund industry painted with many broad brushes, but this one seems particularly interesting. Stephen Jarislowsky, a Canadian billionaire and CEO of investment adviser Jarislowsky Fraser, did not mince words in a recent interview with the Financial Post. He referred to hedge funds as "a bunch of scum who make deals fast and force companies into taking short-term decisions whether they are in the best interests of shareholders or not". While at times this may be true, to refer to hedge fund industry as a whole in such manner seems intellectually dishonest and emotionally driven (he's not happy about being forced off a board). The practice he is so upset about is so-called "activist" investing, which has become very popular with certain hedge funds over the last few years. However, many would argue the opposite point, that activist investing has led to more streamlined businesses with more focused boards and management thereby unlocking shareholder value. The point is, that painting investment strategies with a broad brush may entail less effort (especially when hedge funds are the target) but true analysis requires more critical thinking, lest you let your tunnel vision keep you from profitable opportunities.