On Steven Cohen, an embattled hedge fund manager who is one of the biggest art collectors in the world:
"It was a startling request. The Art Collector wasn’t that interested in what we thought about companies or industries, competitive advantages or long-term growth. No, the Art Collector’s trading strategy was based on the thesis that one could make money trading stocks by anticipating whether Wall Street’s equity research analysts, collectively, were going to increase or decrease their estimates of how much a company was going to make the next quarter. The Art Collector didn’t invent the estimate revisions strategy. But the Art Collector had figured out that even if one worked tirelessly to discover the patterns of analysts’ opinions (or of the companies themselves), one still had no fundamental edge over other smart traders doing the same thing. What one could do—brazenly, unprecedentedly—was to pay the banks as much—more—than than any other client to get information first. This would potentially allow the Art Collector’s traders to hear some nuance from the analysts or the broker that would move a stock a sixteenth or two when the information was better propagated. This was not a restaurant’s biggest customer demanding a better table. This was a restaurant’s biggest customer demanding that other patrons get worse food."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 16, 2013
LENGTH: 13 minutes (3473 words)