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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Why there are no customers' yachts

Hedge fund and investment trust managers sit on a big pile of money and a small percentage creamed off still means a handsome living. But Daniel Amerman maintains that's not the biggest advantage they have over you. As he shows with worked examples, shrewd use of the rules of the game can turn a real investment loss into a substantial gain.

By borrowing money at preferential interest rates, and writing-off the interest as a business expense, they can multiply the amount invested, reduce taxation and massively boost the return on the original capital. All is well as long as prices go up, and Amerman sees this a huge incentive to continue the inflation in financial assets: the system demands it.

His conclusion, in general terms, is to ignore the usual fairytales told to the small investor, work out how the con really operates, and exploit it. He thinks you should be in tangible assets, and understand the implications of taxation and inflation for your portfolio .

Michael Kilbach echoes that with respect to commodities, though like me, he thinks there'll be a step back before the next jump:

In the long term we believe prices are heading much higher and we are therefore looking for pessimism in the precious metals market before adding to our positions. We sell into extreme optimism. We understand that we could miss out on an opportunity to have more invested for a short term move higher, and we are willing to risk losing that opportunity. Rather than trying to catch up to the current markets move we try to anticipate the next markets move.

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