Category Archives: Investment management

Rajiv Sethi: Spoofing in an Algorithmic Ecosystem

A London trader recently charged with price manipulation appears to have been using a strategy designed to trigger high-frequency trading algorithms. Whether he used an algorithm himself is beside the point: he made money because the market is dominated by computer programs responding rapidly to incoming market data, and he understood the basic logic of their structure.

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Ilargi: Warren Buffett is Everything That’s Wrong With America

I’m sure readers can add to this antidote to the pervasive Warren Buffett hagiography in American media. For instance, Buffett lavishes praise on the executives of Wells Fargo, when Wells engages in abusive servicing (see here and here for examples). So Buffett is part of the cohort that has held bank leaders as competent and deserving of their leadership roles, which serves to hide the fact that a big chunk of industry profits rests on predatory behavior, like gotcha terms in checking accounts and credit cards.

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Los Angeles Pension Fund Gives Up to $40 Million Approval Authority to Hopelessly Conflicted Consultant, Hamilton Lane

It often seems hard to fathom is how supposedly sophisticated investors like public and private investment funds give private equity firms so much discretion with inadequate oversight and controls. Try as they might, it is impossible for limited partners to find seasoned advisors, such as pension fund consultants and attorneys, who are not beholden to private equity sources of income.

We’ll look at a case study today, that of a top pension fund consultant and one of its clients, the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System, or LACERS. As you will see, the Hamilton Lane reports do not contain sufficient business and financial analysis for a potential investor to make a reasoned decision whether to risk a substantial equity investment. Their role is to provide due diligence theater.

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The Retirement Crisis

This interview, with Teresa Ghilarducci, who the Wall Street Journal called “the most dangerous woman in America,” discusses how and why pensions are under stress, and what can be done to fix them. While she agrees that the retirement crisis is real, she also argues that it is eminently fixable, particularly since there really is no free lunch. The alternative, of widespread poverty among the aged, also imposes costs on government and society.

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