John Paulson, el "lince"

Los short sellers son gente especial, pocos queridos por indagar en lo mas profundo de las sombras de la realidad que nos embarca hacia futuros no muy lejanos. No son anti algo, son reveladores de verdades que nos negamos aceptar, pero jamas anti, porque nemeses de la verdad no hay. Son portadores de la racionalidad, pero más aun, del entendimiento. Ellos dejan que el mercado trabaje, pero son su limite. Son el ying, la luna, lo "negro", la contra-parte, aquella otra mitad que tanto hace falta pero que tanto nos negamos aceptar. Son el equilibrio....

Esta es una breve historia de John Paulson, alias el "lince". Muchos lo creen el responsable de destapar el tema subprime, de inyectarle "volatilidad no esperada" a los modelos de evaluación de activos. De darle sentido a la palabra incertidumbre. De romper la tendencia que hace a los actuarios perder millones, desaparecer bancos y hundir accionistas que no cuidaron sus activos. Hombre que demostró, que en el mercado la modelización de activos es una disciplina tan limitada como la creencia de "lo que no se vio, no existe". John Paulson héroe de un mundo perdido en la arrogancia de revelar el futuro en base a circunstancias presente "modelizadas". No hay estabilidad sin caos, y el orden no es mas que un aparente equilibrio donde los arrogantes son deglutidos por esa maravilla que mal hacemos de subestimar, llamada mercado.

Biografía:John Alfred Paulson (born December 14, 1955) is president of Paulson & Co., Inc., a New York-based hedge fund.

Paulson received his BS in finance from New York University’s College of Business and Public Administration, where he graduated first in his class, and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was designated a Baker Scholar, the school's top academic honor, for graduating in the top 5 percent.[1] Paulson began his career at Boston Consulting Group before leaving to join Odyssey Partners. He later worked in the mergers and acquisitions group at Bear Stearns.
Prior to founding his own firm, he was a partner at mergers and acquisitions firm Gruss Partners LP. In 1994, he founded his own hedge fund with $2 million and two employees (himself and an assistant).
Su historial:
Investors had recently gained a new way to bet for or against subprime mortgages. It was the ABX, an index that reflects the value of a basket of subprime mortgages made over six months. An index of those made in the first half of 2006 appeared in July 2006. The Paulson funds sold it short.

The index weakened in the second half. By year end, the new Paulson Credit Opportunities Fund was up about 20%. Mr. Paulson started a second such fund.

On Feb. 7, 2007, a trader ran into his office with a press release: New Century Financial Corp., another big subprime lender, projected a quarterly loss and was restating prior results.

Once-complacent investors now began to worry. The ABX, which had begun with a value of 100 in July 2006, fell into the 60s. The new Paulson funds rose more than 60% in February alone.

But as his gains piled up, Mr. Paulson fretted that his trades might yet go bad. Based on accounts of barroom talk and other chatter by a Bear Stearns trader, he became convinced that Bear Stearns and some other firms planned to try to prop the market for mortgage-backed securities by buying individual mortgages.

Adding to his suspicions, he heard that Bear Stearns had asked an industry group to codify the right of an underwriter to modify or buy out a faltering pool of loans on which a mortgage security was based. Mr. Paulson claimed this would "give cover to market manipulation." He hired former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt to spread the word about this alleged threat.

In the end, Bear Stearns withdrew the proposal. It was merely about clarifying "our right to continue to service loans -- whether that be modifying loans when people can't pay their mortgage or buying out loans when rep and warranty issues are involved in the underwriting process," says a Bear Stearns spokesman.

Events at Bear Stearns soon added to the worries: Two Bear Stearns hedge funds that invested in subprime mortgages collapsed in mid-2007. Suddenly, investors began to shun such mortgages.

As Mr. Paulson's funds racked up huge gains, some of his investors began telling others about the funds' tactics. Mr. Paulson was furious, worried that others would steal his thunder. He began using technology that prevented clients from forwarding his emails.

In the fall, the ABX subprime-mortgage index crashed into the 20s. The funds' bet against it paid off richly.

Credit-default swaps that the funds owned soared, as investors' perception of risk neared panic levels and they clamored for this insurance.

And the debt slices the funds had bet would lose value, indeed fell -- to nearly worthless.
Paulson hedge fund wins big in subprime fallout
Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:32pm EDT

By Dane Hamilton
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The meltdown in the subprime mortgage market has yielded strong gains for Paulson & Co., a hedge fund group that oversees more than $13 billion, a person familiar with the New York-based firm said on Tuesday.

The Paulson Credit Opportunities Fund surged 39.95 percent last month, giving it gains of some 129 percent in the first half of 2007 on bets the subprime market would decline, the source said.

Paulson, which is headed by investor John Paulson, also posted gains of 6.15 percent in its merger arbitrage fund in June, giving the fund gains of 27.7 percent year-to-date through June. Paulson is best-known as an event-driven hedge fund group, sometimes employing activist strategies.

Más sobre este "lince" de los mercados:
Paulson's gains come amid several high-profile collapses among subprime investors, most notably two hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns Cos BSC.N, where years ago Paulson was a managing director
Mr Paulson, himself a former managing director at Bear Stearns, stole the crown after setting up the $150m Paulson Credit Opportunities Fund in June 2006 to short sub-prime mortgage-backed assets.
Where other investors bet against the entire sub-prime index, Mr Paulson's team drilled down to the individual CDOs, delivering net returns of 590pc for investors in the fund by the end of the year.

Tambien fue por los bancos, y tambien gano:
Al concluir ese año, el financiero ordenó a sus analistas que examinaran los balances de las entidades financieras en aprietos, entre ellas muchas del Reino Unido. "Nos centramos en los bancos que tenían montones de hipotecas", dice Paulson.

"Cuando esas compañías cayeron, ampliamos nuestro enfoque no solo a los activos hipotecarios, sino a todos los tipos de créditos".

He aquí la recompensa: cuatro de los fondos de Paulson se situaron entre los 20 hedge funds de mejor evolución, y los 20 más rentables, en los nueve primeros meses del 2008, según datos recogidos por Bloomberg, otras firmas de investigaciones sobre fondos de cobertura y entidades inversoras.

Las alzas de los fondos de Paulson variaron entre un 15% y casi un 25%. Sobre la base de esos resultados, al 30 de septiembre se encaminaban a suministrar a Paulson & Co. 1.050 millones de dólares de ganancias.

Ahora... va por el oro:

Now we have the news that the mining group Anglo American has sold its remaining 11.3 percent stake in South Africa's AngloGold Ashanti for around $1.3 billion to Paulson & Co, the hedge fund run by John Paulson. You know, the guy who shorted subprime and made an unearthly fortune.

Here's the official statement from Anglo American (via FT Alphaville):

Anglo American announces the sale of its remaining 11.3% shareholding (39,911,282 shares) in AngloGold Ashanti Limited to investment funds managed by Paulson & Co Inc for $32.00 per share in cash, generating proceeds of $1.28 billion. The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. Consistent with Anglo American’s stated intention to dispose of this non-core holding, Anglo American no longer owns any shares in AngloGold Ashan
Como para no seguirlo....

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