January 6, 2016

One hedge fund shutting down because data quality in India and China is not credible

Why $1.5 Billion Nevsky Capital Is Shutting Down: The Full Letter

One of the best managed hedge funds is shutting down at the peak of its financial success. There are many reasons but what I found surprising was the reference to India and China

Data quality has deteriorated
  • Data releases have become much less transparent and truthful at both a macro and a micro level. At a macro level the key issue is the ever increasing importance of China and India. China is the world’s second largest economy, but already much larger than the US in a broad swathe of sectors. India will be the world’s third largest economy within a decade. Unfortunately their rise is increasing the global cost of capital because an ever growing share of the most important data they produce is simply not credible. Currently stated Chinese real GDP growth is 7.1% and India’s is 7.4%. Both are substantially over stated. This obfuscation and distortion of data, whether deliberate or inadvertent, makes it increasingly difficult to forecast macro and hence micro as well, for an ever growing share of our investment universe.
  • At a micro level corporates have also responded to greater market scrutiny since the GFC to disclose less not more, on the basis that the less they reveal the less often they can be proved wrong by regulators, investors or law courts. This means the cost of capital relating to holding large company specific exposures has risen as the ‘headline’ risk of being proved wrong with regard our earnings projections is now commensurately higher.

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