Pomegranate Capital Thinks Women Can Run Money Better, Is Wrong

by Johnny Debacle

InvestrogenSusan Solovay, a woman by trade, has started a fund of funds whose mandate will be to invest only in hedge funds run by women. Solovay is marketing this FoF on the claim that women manage investments better than men. (quotes from Business):

Solovay commissioned extensive academic research into the performance of hedge funds run by women and claims that it showed that women fund managers performed consistently better than those run by men.

Other examples of commissioned “academic research” show that:

  • Cigarettes taste great and are healthy
  • Lead is perfectly safe for the lining of our water pipes
  • Corn based ethanol makes any sense whatsoever for reasons other than padding the pockets of Archer-Daniels-Midland (NYSE: ADM) and making idiots feel better (wrongly) about the environment

More from the article:

She claims that the research showed that male-run hedge funds managers tended to shoot from the hip making big returns one year and poor ones the next.

So what Susan Solovay is saying is that the men she has been with have not had consistently “big enough” returns. In this case size does matter and obviously Solovay has not invested in Long or Short Capital. Along with our investment strategy of “not losing money”, we use the tactic of “making returns so big that the next year we can lose as much as we want, whenever we want”.

For non-abstract financial advisors and managers, performance problems are understandable and not infrequent. But these problems are not due to male analysts and portfolio managers alone. Women are involved in these funds too. If not where would the coffee come from? Who would do some of the back office functions and the bulk of secretarial work? And who would provide massages to male analysts and male PMs? And how would any large investment manager be able to adequately staff their investor relations department? Women are part of the performance of these funds and it is sexist to abdicate them from responsibility just because they are never put in positions to drive actual investment decisions or because nobody takes them seriously.

Recommendation: Setting aside my qualms about Ms. Solovay’s rampant sexism, Pomegranate Capital seems to be a dubious gimmick. As an investor, you have two layers of fees and you have a restricted pool of PM talent.

LoS has witnessed the success of our Satan’s Portfolio thesis against opposite minded strategies such as those embodied by PAX Fund and we see Pomegranate Capital as a similar opportunity. Although different in composition, we think a great play would be to go long the all-in return of the Vice Fund and short the all-in return of Pomengranate Capital, effectively creating a “PC spread” of sorts.

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