Monday, February 25, 2008

One smart guy

Mark Hulbert, in his column in the Times this Sunday, details a theory advanced by one Owen Lamont, ex-of the Yale Econ department and now with some think thank and a hedge fund too. I have no doubt that Lamont's theory probably holds water, is carefully considered and reflects its champion's considerable intelligence. Nor, indeed, did Lamont evince any doubt as to his intelligence when I met him at a hedge fund industry do in Greenwich.

When it was time for Lamont -- this professed behavioral economist -- to take the podium and address a couple hundred investor types, a key theme was how quantitative tools and behavioral insight gave hedge funds and Wall Street generally an edge over "the dumb money," which is to say retail investors, which is to say me. Now, all businesses want to take as much of their clients' money as they can by providing a certain level of service, but this was as cynical an attitude as I've heard taken. We may only hope that Lamont's insights will be leveraged by the even smarter money on the Street without getting him paid.

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