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Asia’s Victory Over U.S. Hedge Funds

Who gets the last laugh after the pull out of two leading hedge funds?

May 4, 2000

Who gets the last laugh after the pull out of two leading hedge funds?

Judging by recent protests in Washington, you could be excused for thinking the IMF is to blame for many of the global economic woes. But during the early days of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, Asian leaders were quick to make hedge funds the primary villains in the global economy. Now that two of the largest hedge fund families — George Soros’s namesake and Julian Robertson’s Tiger Funds — are on the ropes, you can almost hear Asia getting its last laugh.

On the power of hedge funds

“I am basically in business to make money. I cannot — and do not — look at the social consequences.”

(George Soros, February 1999)

Can one be a broker and a philantropist at the same time?

“I think there’s a built-in conflict between making money in public markets and improving the world.”

(George Soros, December 1998)

How did people review Mr. Soros’s book?

“The actual message of Geroge Soros’s new book, ‘The Crisis of Global Capitalism,’ might be described as, ‘Stop me before I speculate again!””

(Paul Krugman, MIT economics professor, November 1998)

On international financial markets crises

“Instead of reigning in the currency manipulators, they allowed them to destroy the economic tigers.”

(Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, December 1998)

What did Mr. Soros reply?

“Dr. Mahathir will be very depressed as he will not be able to blame his mistakes on me — he will have to own up to them himself.”

(George Soros, April 2000)

Were you relieved when the financial crisis was over?

“The global financial crisis is over. We can now start looking for the next one.”

(George Soros, June 1999)

Can the U.S. Fed be helful to fund managers?

“If the Fed acted as an intermediary with my creditors, it would have been delightful.”

(Fund manager, December 1998)

On investing in the “New Economy”

“There is an old adage. Don’t fight the market. Julian did — and lost.”

(Hedge fund analyst, on the demise of Julian Robertson’s Tiger Fund, March 2000)

Are fund managers optimistic about the New Economy?

“The current technology, Internet and telecom craze, fueled by the performance desires of investors, money managers and even financial buyers, is unwittingly creating a Ponzi pyramid destined for collapse.”

(Julian Robertson, March 2000)

What makes being a fund manager difficult in boom times?

“In a rational environment, buying the best stocks and shorting the worst functions well. But in an irrational market, where earnings and price considerations take a back seat to mouse clicks and momentum, such logic does not count for much.”

(Julian Robertson, March 2000)

And the last word goes to …

“All these countries have spent 40 years trying to build up their economies — and a moron like Soros comes along with a lot of money to speculate and ruin things.”

(Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, March 2000)