Felix Salmon

Learning from Peter Thiel

Peter Thiel’s hedge fund, Clarium Capital, ain’t doing so well. Its assets under management are down 90% from their peak, and total returns from the high point are -65%.

Why do we have a debt ceiling?

Can someone please explain to me why we have a debt ceiling at all? Its existence seems to violate every tenet of risk management and good governance.

Should you open an FDIC-insured yuan bank account?

I’ve been looking at the instructions for opening a yuan bank account here in New York; it seems very easy indeed. Just like a normal US dollar account, it’s FDIC insured, and it pays no interest. So, should New Yorkers with dollar savings convert some part of them to yuan?

Counterparties

Look at how much Belgian CDS have gapped out since Thanksgiving on no new news — Reuters

Why do we need maturity transformation?

There’s a new flurry of commentary today on money-market funds: the Independent Directors Council has responded to the government’s report on the subject, as has Blackrock.

When hedge funds are too boring

Laurence Fletcher reports today on rich individuals with high risk appetites who are getting frustrated with modest hedge fund returns:

Art funds return

If proof were needed that the crisis is over and that we’re back to idiotic business-as-usual, then look no further than the fact that Dealbook—Heidi Moore, no less—is running a long story about art funds. These ludicrous creatures have strong claim to being the most ridiculous asset class in the world, no one should ever invest in them, and they invariably fail.

Algorithms vs retail investors

Anand Iyer, after reading the article I wrote in Wired with Jon Stokes, emails with a couple of questions:

What will replace unions?

Jim Surowiecki has an excellent column this week on the declining influence, and increasing unpopularity, of labor unions: