Now, before anyone accuses of calling the kettle black, we’ll readily concede that we like to pound on some of our favourite topics over and over again. We really like to unpack big stories.
Still, it’s a little bit odd the way the Wall Street Journal keeps flogging the same story about this Nassim Taleb-related hyperinflation fund over and over again.
On June 1, reporter Scott Patterson wrote: “Black Swan Fund Makes A Big Bet On Inflatoin“
The firm, Universa Investments L.P., is known for its ties to gloomy investor Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of the 2007 bestseller “The Black Swan,” which describes the impact of extreme events on the world and financial markets.
Funds run by Universa, which is managed and owned by Mr. Taleb’s long-time collaborator Mark Spitznagel, last year gained more than 100% thanks to its bearish bets. Universa now runs about $6 billion, up from the $300 million it began with in January 2007. Earlier this year, Mr. Spitznagel closed several funds to new investors.
And then on June 3, Brett Arends wrote about Spitznagel again:
There are plenty of reasons to be worried about the risk of inflation. No wonder “Black Swan” author Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Universa Investments’ Mark Spitznagel are launching a new fund to bet on it. They’re looking to gamble on likely inflation winners, like commodities and perhaps gold, and against the most likely loser — Treasury bonds. (Bonds fall when inflation and interest rates rise.)
Minimum investment? Around $25 million.
And then today, Patterson writes this: “Black Swan Trader Bets Reputation on Inflation“
Mark Spitznagel made a fortune predicting the “black swan” that hit markets last year. Now the relatively unknown hedge-fund manager is emerging from the shadow of his collaborator, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, with a big bet inflation will soar.
The 38-year old Mr. Spitznagel managed the Black Swan funds to triple digit returns last year with a bet on volatility. The returns have brought a flood of cash, sending assets for his firm, Universa Investments LP, rising to $6 billion from $300 million.
Ok, we get it, WSJ! Mark Spitznagel, Nassim Taleb’s long time collaborator at Universa is making a big bet on inflation! Repeat: Mark Spitznagel is making a big bet on inflation.
Is this some kind of SEO, linkbait thing that the WSJ is doing? We’ll admit, stories with terms like “Black Swan”, “Nassim Taleb” and “Hyperinflation” tend to do pretty well, still it’s odd that there are three stories on this in about half a month.
As Vincent Fernando noted yesterday, a hyperinflation fund is really just a marketing gimmick. And it seems that Mr. Spitznagel has done a great job convincing the paper that his bet on inflation is a story worth writing over and over again.
Anyway, for the sake of Mr. Spitznagel’s reputation (actually, for the sake of his investors’ money) we hope today’s extremely tame CPI reading isn’t a problem.