Monday, January 31, 2011

The 5 Black Swans That Keep Société Générale's Dylan Grice Up At Night... (And How To Hedge Against Them All)

There's a fund for that.*
For folks new to Climateer Investing, we are fans of Grice's more chipper almost almost Panglossian [not -ed] partner-in-crime, Albert Edwards.**
From ZeroHedge:

With all the hoopla over Egypt some have forgotten that this is merely a geopolitical event (one of those that absolutely nobody, with a few exceptions, was talking about less a month ago, so in many ways this is a mainstream media black swan which once again exposes the entire punditry for the pseudo-sophist hacks they are), and that the actual mines embedded within the financial system continue to float just below the surface. Below we present the five key fat tail concerns that keep SocGen strategist Dylan Grice up at night, which happen to be: i) long-term deflation, ii) a bond market blow-up, iii) a Chinese hard-landing, iv) an inflation pick-up, and v) an Emerging Markets bubble. Far more importantly, Grice provides the most comprehensive basket of trades to put on as a hedge against all five of these, while also pocketing a premium associated with simple market beta in a world in which the Central Banks continue to successfully defy gravity and economic cycles. For all those who continue to trade as brainless lemmings, seeking comfort in numbers, no matter how wrong the "numbers" of the groupthink herd are, we urge you to establish at least some of the recommended trades in advance of what will inevitably be a greater crash than anything the markets experienced during the depths of the 2008 near-cataclysm.
But before we get into the meat of the piece, we were delighted to find that Zero Hedge is not the only entity that believes that providing traditional annual forward looking forecasts is nothing more than an exercise in vanity (and more oftan than usual, error).
At this time of the year we’re supposed to give our predictions for what’s in store for the year ahead. The problem is I don’t have any. Not because making forecasts is difficult. It isn’t. It’s just pointless. Instead, I suggest getting in touch with our inner Kevin Keegan, the hapless former England football manager who, facing the sack after a bad run of results famously lamented “I know what’s around the corner, I just don’t know where the corner is.” The more people construct portfolios on the assumption that they can see the future, the greater the opportunity for those building portfolios which are robust to the reality that we can’t.
That said, no matter how ridiculous the act of Oracular vanity ends up being, those who charge an arm and a leg for their "financial services" continue to do it, only to be among the first carted out head first when reality is imposed upon them and their blind belief that this time is different and the crowd is actually right. Few are willing to accept and recognize the humility that they really know little if anything about how a non-linear, chaotic system evolves. Which is once again why we believe that Grice is among the best strategists out there: in his attempt to hedge the stupidity of the crowd, he has coined a term that may well be the term that defines 21st century finance and economics: instead of foresight, Grice believes the far more correct term to explain the process of prognostication should be one based on foreblindness.
In financial markets, craziness creates opportunity. It affects only prices, not values. And one of the craziest afflictions I know of is our faith in our ability to see the future. Indeed, there isn?t even an appropriate opposite to the word ?foresight? in the English language. So I'?m going to make one up. And rather than build a portfolio based on the pretence we have foresight, let?s explore some ideas for building one that is robust to our foreblindness.
This is the kind of insight that one will never find from a TBTF "strategist"... And one wonders where all those softdollars go.

So now that we know that unlike the traditional cadre of sell side idiots who are always wrong in the long-run, Grice actually admits that he has no clue what will happen, which is precisely the reason to listen far more carefully to what he has to say.
Let's dig in...MUCH MORE
*Ex-Deutsche Bank Trader Weinstein Launches 'Black Swan' Hedge Fund

**Société Générale's Albert Edwards: "I Have Been Wrong – I’ve Been Too Bullish" (Jan. 17, 2011)