1. What is the single biggest market risk right now?
The single biggest risk to the markets in my view is the structural risk presented by the insanely aggressive positioning of participants. This is not just the popularity of short vol trades, it’s the other selling of insurance trades like short puts and the selling of credit default swaps and literally catastrophe insurance.
It’s also all of the leveraged volatility targeting layered on top of that stuff. Risk parity is probably the most famous of these but it’s just one part.
2. Where do you think the most attractive opportunity exists for investors?
Cash now has a positive yield for the first time in the better part of decade. For the average investor, this should be far more attractive than the alternatives which very likely offer negative rates of return over the next several years.
But what makes cash most valuable today is its optionality. It gives you the chance to take advantage of opportunities that will most assuredly arise.
3. What stock would you avoid like the plague?
There is so much hype in the share price today that it almost guarantees a bad outcome for buyers at current prices. Full disclosure: I’m short the semiconductor ETF.
4. If you could travel back in time, where would you go?
I would go back to the 1929 bubble just to witness two things.
First, just to see first hand how similar it was to the bubbles we have been through over the past 20 years. And second, to look over Jesse Livermore’s shoulder as he traded the crash.
5. If you were an animal, what would you be?
I would be an osprey. I’m a very solitary person literally and figuratively and I look at the markets like an osprey watches a river.
6. Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts?
Dutch Bros (it’s an Oregon thing).
7. If you could listen to only one album for the rest of your life what would it be?
Solitude on Guitar, Baden Powell de Aquino
8. What really annoys you?
How popular logical fallacies have become in our daily discourse.
9. What is your favorite movie of all time?
Can’t pick just one. Finance: Trading Places, Drama: Goodfellas, Comedy: Team America
10. What are you watching on TV?
Sports: mainly hockey in the winter, golf in the summer and mixed martial arts year round.
11. What’s the most important book you’ve ever read?
When I first came into the business I believed there was only one way to be successful in the markets. This book disabused me of that notion and opened me up to a world of new ideas.
12. If you could tell your 14-year old self one thing, what would it be?
The journey is the reward. Don’t waste time in a job you don’t love, with people you don’t respect trying to get somewhere you don’t really want to be.
13. What is the greatest invention of all time?
14. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life…
15. If you were a car, what year, make and model would you be?
I would be a custom BMW cafe racer motorcycle.
16. Are America’s best days behind or ahead?
If we continue on the path we are on I believe our best days are behind us. Noam Chomsky’s “Requiem for the American Dream” makes a very compelling case.
17. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“To thine own self be true.” -Polonius, Hamlet
18. What’s your favorite quote?
“It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.” -Dag Hammarskjold
19. Who are your heroes?
John Wooden, Bruce Lee, Arnold Palmer, Richard Russell, Paul Tudor Jones, Carl Icahn, Stan Druckenmiller
20. What’s your favorite (and least favorite) word?
Least favorite: hate
21. What is your biggest fear?
Fear itself (anxiety).
What do you want written on your tombstone?
Nothing. I’d rather be cremated and my ashes strewn anywhere my family likes.