Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A re-polarization in Risk Structure of Investors

Tadas Viskanta notes how hedge funds have survived the current crisis in his post The curious incident of hedge funds during the financial crisis Abnormal Returns. This refreshes an old idea I had earlier about polarisation of investor companies based on risks.

Capital providing institutions were divided into two based on this. Banks (low risk) and Equity investors (higher risk). But now we have finer risk classifications. The resultant business models were, in a crude way, spread across the risk spectrum. The downside was the risk demarcation became a little (a lot?) fuzzy. Large banks too moved towards higher risk assets (CDO etc) and were burnt. Equity investors came with low-risk schemes that have mostly lost money. The money-making strategies in current market situations align better with clear risk demarcation. That's why possibly hedge fund survive.

The investment rules getting too tight is basically a risk reduction strategy. It will be wiser, possibly, to remove constraints on fund managers. Money managers who manage their own book may be better off with the flexibility (provided their reading of markets is correct of course).