September 23, 2006
Nocera on Hedge Funds
Joe Nocera as a piece in today's NY Times on hedge funds, "Curiosity Has Its merits and Its Profits." Maybe Joe is waking up. The piece describes how hedge funds find corporate misbehavior, invest, disclose the companies problems, and reap profits. Nocera, who is distrustful of hedge funds does not know what to make of this. Is it good or bad? He plays both sides, which for Nocera, is an improvement. The hedge funds are not .... public spirited... they are doing it for...profit. He quotes company spoke persons (with sympathy??) saying they are exploiting a "technicality" for a "quick buck" "to the detriment of shareholders." But the companies they have outed for problems.... such as stock backdating...smell. In the end, Nocera grits his teeth "The punishment ... may be harsh...but it's hardly undeserved."
He equivocation on legal hedge fund activity is comical. Hedge funds are bringing a new version of accountability to the market. Shareholders are better off with it and without. Hedge funds that act illegally can be a problem; but hedge funds that act legally...they are not.
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