Managing Money Ain't Easy

Back in January 2007, Bloomberg Markets magazine did a piece (pdf article) on Peter Thiel (pronounced “teal”) who made his mark in the tech sector and then focused his efforts on his own global macro fund. Peter Thiel was the co-founder of PayPal and led them to a monster exit when eBay bought them. The article has an ultra positive tone which was the vibe in the financial markets back in 2007, the article briefly mentions his Facebook investment.  Some great quotes from the article:

– If all goes well, Clarium might one day manage as much as $10 billion
– If Facebook one day pulls off a deal like YouTube’s, Thiel would pocket about $100 million.

Now in January 2011 the roles have reversed, most articles about Peter focus on his Facebook investment and don’t talk much about Clarium Capital his global macro hedge fund. Recently, Bloomberg online had an article about Clarium and the numbers they presented were jaw-dropping to say the least. Clarium’s assets under management (AUM) have dived 90% from a peak of USD 7.2 billion to USD 681 million, a combination of bad bets and customers hitting the exit button.

He is certainly trying to stem the losses, Peter hired Patrick Kenary from Man Investments. Man Investment’s is the mega alternative investment management firm that practically invented algorithmic trading via their AHL acquisition. Having someone with that pedigree is nothing to sneeze at.

In the end, I’m sure most people are sticking around with Clarium hoping that Peter might have another Facebook type investment where they can roll their assets into. Guys like Buffet, Roberton, Rogers and Soros make investing look really easy but when you got billions on the line it’s a very different ball game then trying to launch/run an internet company.

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