How to Lose Money in Derivatives: Examples from Hedge Funds and Bank Trading Departments
58 Pages Posted: 7 May 2014
Date Written: April 19, 2014
What makes futures hedge funds fail? The common ingredient is over betting and not being diversified in some bad scenarios that can lead to disaster. Once troubles arise, it is difficult to take the necessary actions that eliminate the problem. Moreover, many hedge fund operators tend not to make decisions to minimize losses but rather tend to bet more doubling up hoping to exit the problem with a profit. Incentives, including large fees on gains and minimal penalties for losses, push managers into such risky and reckless behavior. We discuss some specific ways losses occur. To illustrate, we discuss the specific cases of Long Term Capital Management, Niederhoffer’s hedge fund, Amaranth and Société Genéralé. In some cases, the failures lead to contagion in other hedge funds and financial institutions. We also list other hedge fund and bank trading failures with brief comments on them.
Keywords: hedge fund trading disasters, over betting, Long Term Capital Management, Amarath and Société Genéralé
JEL Classification: G01, G21, G23, G33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation