In Colorado fly fishing circles, the name Jones is oft mentioned when discussing a conspicuously maintained section of the lower Blue River.
Actually one of Colorado’s gold medal waters, this section of the Blue is accessible only by raft. The optimum flow conditions for a safe float are a closely guarded secret, and you best be a very experienced (and well insured) oarsman if you try. Reason? The river is littered with huge protruding boulders and man-made weirs, and you can’t stop and/or set foot in the stream bed as it’s almost all private property. By the way, those weirs were built to keep the river’s inhabitants happy, and the occasionally catches of some of the larger [cough, choke, cough, cough] denizens forced locals to nickname the stretch Jurassic Park.
I’ve heard this significant portion of one of the finest trout waters imaginable called the Dow Jones property, but it has nothing to do with the Wall Street-esque publisher. No, the Jones property is owned by one Paul Tudor Jones, an avid outdoorsman who also happens to be a pretty [cough, choke, cough, cough] wealthy hedge fund manager.
A PBS special on Mr. Jones, aired in the late 80′s, was on YouTube for a bit – it’s since been taken down due to a copyright claim, but I did get a chance to see the first clip which ended just before Black Monday, 1987. Anyone want to venture a guess as to how Mr. Jones and his fund fared that fateful day?
Following up on the bigger they are, the harder they fall micro-meme:
Former presidential candidate and billionaire H. Ross Perot’s family office is being sued by J.P. Morgan to the tune of three-quarters of a billion dollars. The problem – withering collateral against derivative contracts.
Media mogul Sumner Redstone is dumping assets to pay off creditors. The problem – piles of debt on top of slumping asset values (and the whopping hundred grand effort from the Midway sale makes it appear like someone is expecting a bailout too).
Hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones’s flagship BVI Global Fund Ltd. is freezing withdrawals and splitting in two. The problem – highly illiquid emerging market securities brought on by the credit crunch and plummeting commodities prices.
Former investment bank Goldman Sachs is posting big losses. The problem – a non-existent M & A marketplace combined with a proprietary trading businesses that is beginning to look like Global Alpha.
None of the above mentioned are going to have a problem putting food on the table anytime soon. Still, where would I place my bets?
Perot and Sumner dry up. For Perot it will be the much vaunted taste for municipal finance countered by a non-existent political profile, while in Sumner’s case it will be simple over-leverage in a dying industry. Meanwhile, Paul T. Jones and Goldman will become big winners as their ships right themselves. Their own bets are in – only time stands in their way, and that’s something they can both buy using planning and action (and a smattering of goodwill) as collateral.