Hedge Fund CIO: “Want To Make A Grown Nerd Cry? Run A 500% Rate Increase Through His Risk Model”
August is over, which means that Eric Peters, the CIO of One River Asset Management, is back to doing what he is so very good at: distilling the week’s events and latest financial and economic trends into pithy, one-paragraph aphorisms. Without further ado, here is an anecdotal excerpt from his latest weekend notes.
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I love movies. Scary ones especially. Keep your happy endings, give me chainsaws. Meat hooks.
I’ll never forget ERM in 1992. That was my first real snuff flick as a Lehman prop trader. The Italians never stood a chance in the film, they never do. Show me an Italian who can resist a dark woodshed and I’ll show you a hero in a hockey mask.
At least the Swedes put up a fight in the flick. Their central bankers raised overnight rates to 500%. Want to make a grown nerd cry? Run that interest rate through his risk model. But of course, not a single propeller-head imagined such a monster.
Anyhow, my next scary movie was Orange County, 1994. The great bond massacre brought terrified traders to tears.
Mexico devalued too; Tequila Slammer. So many strings inextricably woven into that tangled tale.
These intricate plots build over years, unravel in months. Asian Flu was released in 1997, classic zombie apocalypse genre. Just when the virus seemed contained, along came a sequel; Russian Flu in 1998. A month later they released LTCM, a documentary about the dangers of mixing academics and money.
Wall Street is remaking that classic as we speak; a big budget Black Monday II. Revenge of the Sock Puppet was released in 2001, followed quickly by 9-11.
Then things went quiet for what seemed like forever. But 7yrs later Haunted House came out – scared the crap out of everyone, even hardened criminals flipping cribs from cellblocks.
European Debt Crisis was released in 2011, a real nail biter, until some Italian saved mankind with a printing press. It’s been happy endings ever since.
Chick flicks, corsets, period pieces. Utterly boring. But in my three decades of watching scary movies, on average there’s been a blockbuster surprise every three to four years. And it’s been six since 2011.