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In a tough year for hedge funds, the top firms still crushed it

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Looks like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays. It’s Dan DeFrancesco and here’s hoping you made it through the weekend with your New Year’s resolution intact. But even if you didn’t, who cares? No one’s keeping score. Just get back on track. 

On tap, we’ve got stories on a billionaire returning to the helm of a company he created (but probably not the one you’re thinking of), more trouble in crypto land for a key industry player, and inside the biggest modern house in the US

Also, Goldman Sachs is expected to start one of its biggest rounds of redundancies ever this week, with as many as 3,200 jobs to go.

But first, we’ve got hedge fund returns.


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Photo of Citadel CEO Ken Griffin

Citadel

1. The good, the bad, and the ugly of the buy side.

It’s returns season for hedge funds, and boy is this year a doozy. 

Insider’s Alex Morrell has a breakdown of how some of the flagship strategies at top hedge funds like AQR, Citadel, D.E. Shaw, and Point72 did

Alex’s story gets into the nitty gritty — and more importantly, the specific numbers — but the big takeaway is this: While 2022 was a pretty awful year for the hedge fund industry, some of the industry’s top funds absolutely crushed it. 

And honestly, that’s how it should be.

If I had the type of money that allowed me to invest in a hedge fund — and one day I just might if a few of my 10-game parlay bets hit — I wouldn’t care about how well it performed when the market was up. I’d want to know how it did when everything was down. 

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, did well investing in 2021. You could have slept your way to a double-digit return.

This past year was an absolute minefield between interest-rate hikes, inflation, and the tech-stock apocalypse. And while it might seem impossible to figure out a way to make money in that type of environment, that’s exactly when I’d expect a hedge fund to step up. 

Because if that’s not the case, what am I paying you to do? 

PS- If you are at a fund and want to brag about your returns, you can drop Alex a line here

Check out the returns for some of the top firms in the industry.


In other news:

Will Smith played a fictionalized version of himself on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."Will Smith played a fictionalized version of himself on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

Warner Bros.

2. FTX spent $40 million on expenses over the course of 9 months. I haven’t caught up on my latest issue of Effective Altruism Monthly, but I’m not sure how that fits into the philosophy. Here’s a breakdown of where some of that money went. Meanwhile, Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX’s disgraced founder, would appreciate some of that $450 million Robinhood stake to fund his legal defense despite him allegedly having bought those shares with customers’ money he borrowed. 

3. The return of the king? Things are so bad at Amazon some insiders are speculating about a potential return of founder Jeff Bezos. I’m not sure why anyone with that much money would want to work again, but that type of mindset is probably why I’ll never be rich enough to be in that position. More on what a potential Bezos-sance would look like

4. A key player in the crypto ecosystem is having a tough go of it. Digital Currency Group, which owns a number of companies in the space, is winding down its wealth unit HQ. DCG is also in the midst of a beef with Gemini over whether $900 million Genesis, which it owns, borrowed from customers of the crypto exchange. Perhaps the two sides can smooth things over at a rock show by the Winklevoss twins, Gemini’s cofounders. 

5. FTX investors, the regulators would like a word. The SEC wants to know why investors in the bankrupt crypto exchange missed all of its red flags, Reuters reports. Perhaps Taylor Swift should hold a course on due diligence.

6. A Wells Fargo employee reportedly got so drunk on a flight he peed on a woman in business class. The bank fired the unnamed man, who was a VP with the firm and lived in Mumbai. Read more here

7. Looking to buy or rent? We’ve got you covered. Abdul Muid, a New York City broker, shared some advice for how to navigate the market and get the best deals. Here’s what you should do

8. Turns out it might actually have been the shoes. A pair of Jordan 11 “Concords” that Michael Jordan wore in 1996 recently sold for more than $92,000. Here’s why high-end collectable kicks might be an asset class worth considering

9. ETF = Exclusionary Toward Females. Only 11% of US fund managers are women in the $6.5 trillion US ETF industry, Bloomberg reports. Here’s how one fund is trying to change that with an all-woman exchange-traded fund investment team

10. A new throne for the prince of Bel Air. The biggest modern home in the US, clocking in at an incredible 105,000 square feet, just sold for $126 million to Fashion Nova’s billionaire CEO. Check out inside the Los Angeles megamansion


Curated by Dan DeFrancesco in New York. Feedback or tips? Email ddefrancesco@insider.com, tweet @dandefrancesco, or connect on LinkedIn. Edited by Jeffrey Cane (tweet @jeffrey_cane) in New York and Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London. 

 

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