Pierre Saint-Laurent

The SWF world

In the 1966 Norman Jewison movie The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming, Soviet submariners run unwittingly aground off New England and go ashore to find a towboat, triggering village rumours of an invasion. You may be excused for harbouring similar feelings toward sovereign wealth funds (affectionately known as SWFs), the new, massive investment […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | February 1, 2009

4 min read

Hedge fund strategies: Making sense of it all

(July 2007) The hedge fund world is a universe in itself. There are many different strategies, with different objectives, but too often they are lumped together under the overarching “hedge funds” heading. Let’s make some sense of hedge fund strategies. First things first — there are three basic hedge fund strategies: a) Relative value strategies: […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | July 9, 2007

2 min read

Since You Asked: Defining alternatives

(June 2007) Advisor.ca is pleased to introduce a new monthly investment column by Pierre Saint-Laurent. “Since You Asked” will answer advisor frequently-asked questions concerning investments. Many advisors get confused by what alternative investments entail. Typically, one associates alternative investments, or alts for short, with hedge funds. However, there is much more to alts than just […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | June 18, 2007

4 min read

New trends in hedge funds

(April 2007) Alternative investments signify a fast-moving, opportunity-driven world. Now there’s alternative beta. Yes, alternative beta, as in the Capital Asset Pricing Model alpha and beta. You may remember the concepts of alpha and beta from studying CAPM in school. That’s when you were told that returns come from two sources (roughly speaking): Beta, or […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | April 4, 2007

4 min read

Hedge convergence

(January 2007) There is convergence between traditional and hedge investing, folks. Says who? Blake Grossman. Blake who? Grossman, chief executive of Barclays Global Investors, the world’s biggest money manager, that’s who. Says he in a recent Financial Times interview: “The notion that there is a traditional way of investing that is long only, and then […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | January 3, 2007

4 min read

Time-deprived bookworms, help has arrived!

(December 2006) Ah, modern life. We are better off, in so many ways, than our forebears, but the price to pay invariably seems to be the lack of free time — which translates into an ongoing quest for “quality time.” We are a lot more selective about how we spend the time we have, but […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | December 13, 2006

5 min read

Lifting the hood

(November 2006) You invest in mutual funds, good, solid, long-only investments that everyone can understand. No surprises, no mystery. Market goes up — money is made. Market goes down — well, the fund’s active manager has presumably preserved wealth through defensive (tactical) positioning. Plain and simple. Not so fast! Did you know that your plain-vanilla, […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | October 31, 2006

5 min read

Rational exuberance: The bubble that wasn’t

(May 2006) Here’s a fact: the late 1990s were a time of irrational exuberance (said Alan Greenspan, no less), with more froth than Lake Ontario in a hurricane. When the floor dropped on the markets many investors were mauled and markets are just now recovering from these historic lows. But this flies in the face […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | May 26, 2006

4 min read

Alt Assets: Name raiders

(March 2006) You use domain names every time you visit a website or google a term to find more information. But do you know what gives value to a name? Do you know how to assess that value? What you don’t know actually spells opportunity. Just as in financial markets, there are primary and secondary […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | March 10, 2006

4 min read

Risk 101: Systematic versus unsystematic risk

(January 2006) I’m a firm believer in risk management. That’s a bit like saying “I’m a firm believer in breathing.” We are all risk managers whether we admit it or not. And if that’s the case, I’d rather be more precise about it than less. The absolute basis of portfolio risk management is diversification. It’s […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | January 23, 2006

4 min read

What a difference 5 years make: Gaining perspective makes us humbler and wiser

(September 22, 2003) The NASDAQ index’s return between September 2002 and June 2003: 41.9%. A pretty big number, right? The S&P/TSX index turned in 13.3% and the S&P 500 index, 20.9% (all data in local currency) — equally impressive. It’s enough to push certain analysts into thinking that this rally has overshot and a correction […]

By Pierre Saint-Laurent | September 22, 2003

3 min read