They both believed in me from the start and both

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They both believed in me from the start, and both started sending my commentaries to their biggest clients, which was very gratifying. One of the MDs sent a piece of mine to Paul Tudor Jones and his team, saying, “This is from the real-money guru on my team—you’ll like this.” ( Real money , a term I liked, referred to the category of long-term-oriented institutional investors I covered—asset managers, mutual funds, and pension funds—and to sovereign wealth funds. Some also called it slow money —as opposed to fast money , which referred to hedge funds, which dealt in more leveraged instruments and quicker ins and outs of positions.) Tudor Jones actually wrote back, saying only, “Thanks,” but indicating that he’d actually read the piece. Coming from a hedge fund icon, that felt cool. What was cooler, though, was that the MD had had enough confidence in me as a commentator to endorse my piece and send it to his most important client. My ambition was to become the Real-Money Guy, the spokesperson for what the real-money clients were doing—in the same way that one of my MD mentors had become known for writing about what the macro hedge funds were doing and thinking. I tried to build a niche and become an internal expert at understanding flow of funds, a topic many people cared about. Who was buying and selling the market? Were retail investors adding money to mutual funds? Were pension funds reweighting their asset class distribution from fixed income to equities? Were hedge funds increasing their speculative short positions in E-mini futures? Could volumes or trends at certain times of day tell us anything about what direction the market might head in? I had found a way to consolidate these
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types of metrics into a thesis about what effect they could have on capital markets. By nature, the macro hedge funds were very interested in what real money was doing: Even though hedge funds do a lot of turnover (trading in and out of positions often), they represent only about 5 percent of ownership in U.S. equity markets. The real whales in the market are the mutual funds, pension funds, and sovereign wealth funds, with trillions and trillions of dollars in assets under management. The real money. When real money starts moving over a period of time, the whole market starts moving with it. And in similar fashion, my clients were very interested in what the hedge funds were doing because of the funds’ ability to impact the market over minute-to-minute or day-to-day periods. Then I struck gold. Writers everywhere will tell you they’re always surprised when something they’ve done catches on in a big way. This is especially true for someone who’s just a beginner, as I was. On December 11, 2008—my thirtieth birthday—I sent out my third piece of market commentary, and it got more attention both inside and outside Goldman than I ever would have imagined.
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