Lessons from a short seller

Ask any student of the stockmarket what they deem to be the ‘biggest disasters’ in corporate history and most people will settle for Enron, WorldCom, HIH and A.B.C. Learning Centres. These multibillion-dollar corporations at least appeared to go bankrupt overnight, taking with them billions from the portfolios of some of the world’s smartest investors.Many dismissed these spectacular failures as ‘black-swan-type’ events—completely unforeseeable. Not Jim Chanos, founder of Kynikos Associates. He not only predicted their demise, he profited from them. Just as he did when he ‘shorted’ Macquarie Bank in 2007 (see Steve Johnson’s Bristlemouth blog post, Chanos was right, I...

Ask any student of the stockmarket what they deem to be the ‘biggest disasters’ in corporate history and most people will settle for Enron, WorldCom, HIH and A.B.C. Learning Centres. These multibillion-dollar corporations at least appeared to go bankrupt overnight, taking with them billions from the portfolios of some of the world’s smartest investors.

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