As the curtain comes down on 2013, we look back at the
stories that earned the most page views in the past 12
Beating the Market Has Become Nearly Impossible, by
Julie Segal. With research showing that fewer and fewer
investment managers deliver superior performance after
expenses, Senior Writer Segal asks a provocative question: Is
alpha dead? Her reporting is a must-read in a year when few
managers succeeded in beating the nearly 30 percent rise in the
Standard & Poors 500 index.
Ian Bremmer and Nouriel Roubini Unveil the New
Abnormal, by Ian Bremmer and Nouriel Roubini. Just
when investors were gaining confidence in the global economic
recovery, analysts Bremmer and Roubini warn that the world
remained as vulnerable as ever to economic, political and
financial crises. The wise investor, they write,
is prepared to be surprised.
Wisconsins Public Pension Works to Spread the
Cheddar, by Frances Denmark. Senior Writer Denmark
shows how Wisconsins unique practice of having retirees
share in the ups and downs of the markets has
created one of the best-funded public pension systems in the
U.S., and one that could serve as a model for other states,
like neighboring Illinois, that are in need of pension
Blackstone Groups GSO Capital: Lenders of Last
Resort, by Julie Segal. The financial crisis was a
boon for distressed-debt specialists, and few have capitalized
on it as well as GSO Capital Partners. Segal shows how the
firm, founded by former Drexel Burnham Lambert executives
Bennett Goodman, Douglas Ostrover and Tripp Smith, has grown
its assets more than fivefold since being acquired by
Blackstone in 2008, and has become a key provider of capital to
Hedge Fund Manager John Burbanks Investment
Alchemy, by Jan Alexander. What do you get when you
combine macrotrader and hedge fund founder John Burbank III
with a team of quants led by former State Street Global
Advisors portfolio manager Tim Garry? The answer, reports
Senior Writer Jan Alexander, is a nearly $4 billion hedge fund
firm, Passport Capital, that has managed to smooth the bumps of
market volatility and deliver strong risk-adjusted returns.
The 2013 Hedge Fund Rising Stars, by Imogen
Rose-Smith. Our annual list of the best up-and-coming talent in
the hedge fund industry puts a spotlight on a diverse cast of
winners, including a former Iraq War combat veteran who is a
director of investor relations at London-based Capula
Investment Management and a Hong Kongborn
analyst-turned-fund-manager whos leading the
diversification of San Jose, Californias pension fund
into hedge funds.
The 2013 Tech 50: Masters of a Volatile Universe, by
Jeffrey Kutler. Our annual ranking of the leaders in financial
technology underscores the growing importance of social media
in the industry.
Understanding Apple Requires an Analysis of Fundamentals and
Psychology, by Vitaliy Katsenelson. Speculation about
the outlook for Apple was almost an industry of its own in
2013, which was not surprising considering the sharp fall and
subsequent rebound in the stock price of the worlds
most-valuable company. In his Inefficient Markets column,
Contributor Katsenelson contends that investors need to
separately weigh the psychology toward Apple, which can be
mercurial, and the companys fundamentals, which he says
will rely more and more on the broader Apple ecosystem as
competitors offer increasingly appealing smartphones and
tablets of their own.
Analysts Beware! A Machine Has Its Eye on Your Job,
by S.L. Mintz. The combination of big data and powerful
algorithms is enabling firms to crunch sales data, valuation
metrics and even Twitter sentiment for investment signals.
Contributor Mintz shows how computer analytics are giving
flesh-and-blood analysts a run for the money.
Fed Delay Spurs Market Disarray, by Thomas W.
Johnson. In a year in which markets swung wildly based on
whether participants thought the Federal Reserve Board would or
wouldnt taper its bond purchases, we identified the U.S.
research analysts whom investors rely upon to steer a path
through the volatility.