Saturday, July 19, 2008

A "Penny-Ante Carl Icahn"

That's how the self-deprecating fund manager Phil Goldstein describes himself in this Fortune article by Telis Demos, "The Man who beat the SEC". Goldstein's investment strategy is as clever as it is simple: he invests in closed-end funds trading at discounts to NAV, and then he plays activist investor to try to unlock shareholder value, e.g., pressuring the closed-end fund's management to convert the fund to an open-end mutual fund (so it will trade at NAV). According to the article Goldstein's main fund has had about double the cumulative return of the S&P since inception in the early-mid 1990s1 and has never had a down year.

1Unfortunately, the article isn't too precise here. It says that Goldstein started his first fund in 1993, but doesn't specify if this is his firm's "main fund".

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