John Paulson (unrelated to Hank, ex-US Treasury Secretary), US hedge fund manager, shot to fame last year by capitalizing in spectacular fashion on the credit crisis by, amongst others, betting against a number of financial institutions.


The scoreboard shows his flagship Paulson Advantage Fund returning 36.7% net of fees for 2008. Total assets jumped from $12.5 billion at June 1, 2007 to $28.8 billion by the beginning of 2009.

A fascinating peep behind the curtain of the investment actions of the 78th wealthiest American on the Forbes 400 list comes to us courtesy of The New York Times’s DealBook, having obtained Paulson’s 28-page year-end report to his investors.

Paulson’s outlook for this year is summarized as follows:

“We remain bearish on the outlook for the US economy and believe that the recession will extend into late 2009 and likely into 2010. The sharp contraction in the global economy, the instability of the global financial system and the ongoing credit contraction are unlikely to be resolved in the first half of 2009. While the US stimulus package will likely cushion the decline, we don’t think it can halt the downturn and will likely have longer-term negative consequences.

“Although we are bearish on the economy, we are bullish on investment opportunities for our funds over the next year in the following areas:

Long Distressed Mortgages
Long Distressed Debt
Debt Restructurings
Strategic Mergers
Event Arbitrage
Financial Recovery

“We see attractive opportunities in all of these areas. Given our favorable liquidity position and expertise in these areas, we believe we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of these opportunities in 2009 and beyond.”

Click here for Paulson’s year-end report.

Source: Zachery Kouwe, The New York Times DealBook, January 30, 2009 (hat tip: Paul Kedrosky).

Did you enjoy this post? If so, click here to subscribe to updates to Investment Postcards from Cape Town by e-mail.