What's it say about hedge funds when Amaranth Advisors chief Nicholas Maounis looks to get back in the game a mere four months after the biggest flameout in the sector's history? Or when many of his subordinates have already been picked up by other investment firms?
It doesn't say much, argues Bloomberg's Matthew Lynn, who contends it won't look good if Maounis begins another investment business so soon after Amaranth lost more than $6 billion. And, he's not thrilled that many of the firm's alumni are now working at places like Goldman Sachs and Carlyle Group.
"Only one real safeguard is built into the system," writes Lynn. "Get it wrong, and your reputation goes out the window. Your investors abandon you. Your job disappears. Before long, you will have to start remembering the phrase 'Would you like fries with that?' if you ever want to work again." For so many of Amaranth's traders to be back at work so quickly "creates the impression of an industry where losing money doesn't appear to matter to anyone."
Dealbreaker's John Carney takes exception to Lynn's argument. He wonders if investors "are just more rational now."
Maounis, Carney notes, has a successful history as a fund manager - successful enough that many may not want to pass up the chance to invest their money with him. "We're still not sure Maounis will succeed in getting his new fund off the ground," Carney writes. "But assuming he does that seems a more reliable test of whether Maounis belongs back in the markets than whatever notions of justice journalists might have in their head."