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The Alpha Exchange is a podcast series launched by Dean Curnutt to explore topics in financial markets, risk management and capital allocation in the alternatives industry. Our in depth discussions with highly established industry professionals seek to uncover the nuanced and complex interactions between economic, monetary, financial, regulatory and geopolitical sources of risk. We aim to learn from the perspective our guests can bring with respect to the history of financial and business cy ...
 
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show series
 
After a 6 week hiatus during which I was recovering from a serious jet ski accident, I am excited to bring you a fresh episode of the Alpha Exchange. And it was wonderful to spend time with Andrew Scott, a Partner and Head of Client Solutions at Bach Option. Our conversation is an exploration into the complex factors that drive the clearing price f…
 
On this episode of the Alpha Exchange, Dean had the pleasure of catching up with Erin Browne, a Portfolio Manager at PIMCO. Through their discussion, we learn of Erin’s introduction to the study of macro, a discipline she instantly found fascinating and has underpinned her more than 2 decades career in markets. At Moore Capital through the build-up…
 
A quarter-century ago, as the original tech bubble began in earnest, the American Stock exchange was full of action. Populated with an aggressive throng of option traders, the Amex was a critical liquidity venue during a period of heady growth in the US listed options market. It was here, starting as a clerk, that Dave Puritz began to hone the craf…
 
Greg King has spent his career creating vehicles that enable investors to access complex risk exposures. Part of the team from Barclays that designed the VXX ETP product in 2009, Greg went on to co-found Velocity Shares, a firm that was ultimately acquired by Janus and created both the TVIX and XIV, levered long and short versions of the VXX. About…
 
For Mark Friedman, the Founder and CIO of DLD Asset Management, the convertible bond market has always made for interesting study. Sitting at the intersection of critical asset classes, the convertible bond market requires investors to assess risk from many dimensions at once. And with valuation components derived from equity, interest rate, credit…
 
As founder and CIO of QVR Advisors, Benn Eifert spends his time looking for opportunities in volatility markets and helping his investors protect capital through periods of uncertainty. With the surge in volatility that has recently materialized in GameStop and a number of other stocks with high short interest, it was timely to have Benn back on th…
 
We take things in a different direction on this episode of the Alpha Exchange and focus on the importance of leadership and culture at large financial institutions. With this in mind, it was my pleasure to solicit the insights of Mark Miller, a personal mentor of mine and a capital markets professional whose sell-side career has spanned 4 decades. …
 
Mentored at Legg Mason under the tutelage of legendary investor Bill Miller, Samantha McLemore is a student of finding value in corporate equities. Now the founder and managing member of Patient Capital Management, Samantha shares her perspectives developed over two decades and through several cycles of the value factor. Our conversation is an expl…
 
Working as an architect in the 1990’s, Tania Reif saw first hand the devastating impact on local communities of the currency crisis events that occurred with some frequency in her home country of Venezuela. Gripped by the field of macroeconomics, Tania ultimately earned a PhD in economics from Columbia University, writing her dissertation on curren…
 
Gordy Lawrence, Director of Global Derivatives at Wellington Management, spends his days searching for value in optionality. With a framework geared toward assessing option prices on both an absolute and relative basis, Gordy and his team support portfolio managers throughout the organization with the aim of utilizing derivatives to improve the up …
 
Over more than two decades in markets, John-Mark Piampiano has traded his share of volatility. Managing derivative portfolios over the years from both the long side and the short side of the carry ledger and across the spectrum of listed and OTC products, John-Mark is a keen observer of change in market structure, trading technology and the provisi…
 
Cutting his teeth on the acclaimed mortgage trading desk at Salomon Brothers in the 90’s, Troy Dixon gained an early appreciation for the speed and degree to which market liquidity can turn. Now the CIO of Hollis Park Partners, a firm he founded in 2013, Troy shares the perspectives gathered in managing complex trading risk over more than two decad…
 
Over her 22 years at Citi Group, Anna Raytcheva managed complex trading risks through volatility regimes both high and low. The Orange County blowup on the back of Greenspan’s surprise tightening campaign in 1994 provided Anna with an early lesson on the vulnerabilities that arise from owning exotic securities, especially when they are positioned w…
 
Armed with a PhD in astrophysics, Josh Younger hit Wall Street in 2010 as the embers of the Global Financial Crisis were slowly burning out. With a decade of focus on modeling interest rate derivatives and with the perspective gathered through unique fixed income risk events, Josh brings exceptional insights to our discussion. Our conversation aims…
 
For Jordi Visser, market crisis events inevitably result in regime shifts. The pandemic of 2020 – a shock to the economy, deterioration in asset prices and an overwhelming response from the government and Central Bank – is no exception. In his role as Chief Investment Officer at Weiss Multi Strategy Advisers, Jordi is dispassionate in his assessmen…
 
When it comes to obvious asset class similarities, crypto and crude might seem to have little in common. But for Rich Rosenblum, there are linkages between them upon closer inspection. Seeing similarities in the diversifying characteristics of both assets in broad portfolios, Rich also notes the tendency for digital assets and crude to experience p…
 
In the words of former FOMC Governor, Kevin Warsh, “If you’ve seen one financial crisis, you’ve seen one financial crisis”. The uniqueness of shocks makes this so and the result is that policymakers need to constantly innovate in their response to episodes of heightened uncertainty. Now a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institute, Kevin shares with …
 
Widely considered one of the most gifted central bankers of the modern era, Raghuram Rajan is a highly prominent voice on monetary policy and the global macro economy and it was my distinct privilege to bring his insights to the Alpha Exchange. Now the Katherine Dusak Miller Distinguished Professor of Finance at Chicago Booth, Dr. Rajan was head of…
 
From Latin America in the 80’s to South East Asia in the 90’s, the history of emerging market dust ups is rich. And for Jay Pelosky, the co-founder and CIO of TPW Investment Management, these episodes of instability provided critical early training on the “never say never” world of EM. On this episode of the Alpha Exchange, Jay recounts his days at…
 
Michael Pettis is no stranger to episodes of financial crisis. Trading through multiple Latin American debt crises in the 1980’s, the Southeast Asia currency debacle in 1997 and, in its aftermath, the capital flight that engulfed Brazil, Michael has developed a rigorous framework for the how and why of these disruption events. Central to his approa…
 
Trading through big FX macro events in the 1990’s, Mike Novogratz is no stranger to market instability and the Central Bank response that is ultimately required to restore order. Our conversation is a retrospective on the long ago period when firmly positive interest rates were a thing and when market prices were discovered through supply and deman…
 
Within financial markets, derivatives have always been the stomping grounds of those inclined to entertain probabilities and models. Delving further within this space, you will find simpler vanilla products like listed options but also a realm of considerably greater complexity where counterparties engage in the transfer of alternative risk exposur…
 
As our crisis series of the Alpha Exchange continues, I was pleased to have the opportunity to engage with Jens Nordvig, the founder and CEO of Exante Data. After stints at both Goldman Sachs and Nomura, Jens launched his independent firm in 2016 with an eye towards using a highly data driven approach to help institutional clients make sense of glo…
 
The explosion in market volatility that resulted from the Covid crisis was all-consuming in March. Massive one-day moves in broad equity indices, correlations that approached 100% and a breathtaking crash in the price of oil were factors that left investors unable to consider much more than the wreckage in front of them. But for Jake Doft, the foun…
 
As our crisis series within the Alpha Exchange continues, it was a pleasure to catch up with Steven Englander, the head of G10 FX and North America Macro Strategy for Standard Chartered. We review the fast moving aspect of the March dislocation and the manner in which pricing relationships typical of normal markets ceased to hold. As many of our li…
 
As the economic collapse associated with the pandemic enters its second month, it was my distinct pleasure to have Howard Marks, the founder of Oaktree Capital, on the Alpha Exchange. A highly successful investor across many decades, Howard has prudently managed risk through a vast number of market cycles. His assessment of the complex mix of econo…
 
As markets continue to grapple with the vast uncertainty resulting from the corona virus, it was excellent to have Peter van Dooijeweert, the Head of Institutional Hedging and Portfolio Solutions at Man Group, as a guest on the Alpha Exchange. Our “crisis series” is aimed at uncovering the unique elements of the 2020 vol event, the extent to which …
 
On this special crisis series episode of the Alpha Exchange, I had the opportunity to solicit the insights of Chris Cole, the founder and CIO of Artemis Capital. Through a framework that gives much weight to the impact of financial products and the risk-taking built around them, Chris has a unique understanding of both low and high periods of volat…
 
As the special Crisis Series within the Alpha Exchange continues, it was a pleasure to catch up with former colleague, George Goncalves. A 20 year veteran on both the buy-side and sell-side, George most recently led the Fixed Income Strategy effort at Nomura Securities. Our discussion considers the post GFC regulatory landscape that emerged in the …
 
Our crisis series within the Alpha Exchange podcast continues and it was my pleasure to solicit the insights of Eric Peters, the founder and CIO of One River Asset Management. To be sure, this isn’t Eric’s first experience managing capital through a crisis, but in his words, “this is a unique one…amplified by a whole range of things including big f…
 
Welcome to the second episode in our special Alpha Exchange series focused specifically on the 2020 economic and financial crisis. It was my pleasure to have Vineer Bhansali, the founder and CIO of Long Tail Alpha, back on the podcast and hear his framing of the conditions that gave rise to so substantial an asset price sell-off in so short a perio…
 
Welcome to the first in a special series of the Alpha Exchange in which the 2020 economic and financial crisis is the specific focus. Amidst this protracted dislocation in markets, I am pleased to have Benn Eifert, the founder and CIO of QVR Advisors, share his views on the factors at work within the equity derivatives market and the important driv…
 
The price of vol, in single stocks, in equity sectors and across asset classes is on the mind of Stuart Kaiser. Now the head of equity derivatives research at UBS, Stuart spends his time helping the firm’s institutional clients find value on both the long and short side of the derivatives market. Landing at Goldman Sachs a stone's throw away from t…
 
When it comes to equity derivatives, few individuals have traded more options than John Succo. Across a career in markets spanning more than 3 decades, John has managed convexity risk on both the sell-side and buy-side, through high and low vol periods and across single stock and index options. During the course of our discussion, John shares many …
 
Managing portfolios over the course of two decades, Mike Green has developed a unique framework for assessing risk and opportunity. Trained in his early days to perform equity valuation, Mike came on the scene just as the tech bubble was imploding and the massive discrepancy between growth and value was coming undone. In a great seat to ride the sm…
 
The son of a physician and with a penchant for math, Andy Redleaf came upon options in high school, even before they were listed on the CBOE. Post college, Andy landed in an option trading role and was making markets on the CBOE during the 1987 stock market crash. In his rendering, the introduction of stock index futures dramatically increased corr…
 
In 1998, Scott Ladner hit the derivatives scene at First Union, just as LTCM was imploding and equity volatility was rocketing higher. No sooner would the Fed help contain that risk episode, then the tech bubble would be set in motion. An intense period of “stocks up, vol up” during which valuations expanded to unheard of levels, followed by an equ…
 
A nearly 30 year career has given Jon Havice exposure to just about every strategy across the spectrum of asset markets. A freshly minted Wharton graduate with a major in engineering, Jon came upon O’Connor Associates in the early 1990’s where he cut his teeth trading listed currency option markets. Pre-euro, Jon would experience seminal FX vol eve…
 
Earning his chops as a macro economist on the sell-side, Alberto Gallo has seen the pendulum of risk swing from extreme fear to euphoria. During his tenure at Goldman Sachs and then at RBS where he ran the Global Macro Credit Research product, Alberto provided buy-side clients with key insights on seminal volatility events like the Global Financial…
 
In 1999, as a new century was nearly upon us, the Euro was born and the US tech bubble was in full sway, Louis Gave hung a shingle to start an independent research firm with his father, Charles. Twenty years later, Louis remains CEO of Gavekal, a firm that has helped institutional clients distill global market risk throughout different cycles. Our …
 
Fascinated by markets at a very young age, Ben Melkman has spent his investing career thinking through the intersection of politics, macroeconomics and the price of options. After earning a degree from the London School of Economics, Ben hit the FX desk at Morgan Stanley, quickly establishing himself as an invaluable resource for the largest macro …
 
In the mid 1980's, and recently graduated from Marquette University, a young Jim Bianco scored an accidental meeting for a position with First Boston. Most fortuitously, his resume wound up in the wrong pile, leading him to be mistakenly invited in to interview for a spot supporting a senior analyst. As luck would have it, Jim got the job and so wa…
 
On this episode of the Alpha Exchange, it was my distinct privilege to be joined by Glenn Stevens who resided over the Reserve Bank of Australia as Governor from 2006 to 2016. Considered one of the most gifted Central Bankers of our time, Glenn successfully navigated Australia’s economy through the crisis without a recession. A 36 year career at th…
 
The onslaught of Tweets regularly lobbed at Fed Chairman Powell assumes at least some part of the mosaic of today’s unique and vibrant risk climate. But is Trump much different from previous Fed Chairs? In “The Myth of Independence”, Sarah Binder and Mark Spindel provide an important account of the political history of the Fed. And in this episode …
 
Nancy Davis, founder of Quadratic Capital, has spent her entire career trading options of all shapes and sizes and across all of the asset classes. She’s traded them listed, OTC, vanilla and complex in rates, FX, commodities, credit and equities. Over the course of nearly 20 years, Nancy has developed important perspective on risk cycles, trading t…
 
A voracious reader and a market professional for more than 30 years, Barry Knapp has seen his share of bubbles and busts. Starting his career in the early 80’s, he soon after experienced the crash of ‘87 and the mini crash of ‘89. The experience of multi-sigma events like these, overlaid on his careful study economic history, armed Barry early on w…
 
At first blush, market volatility and fragility would appear to be two sides of the same coin. But for Ben Bowler and his global team at BAML, the last 5 years has uniquely seen muted overall daily volatility punctuated by occasional but extreme market outbursts. In Ben’s role as global head of derivative research, he has studied this period - one …
 
Today’s derivatives markets – characterized by a vast array of complex OTC products, options with maturities as short as one day, and an ever increasing pool of non-equity ETFs – bear little resemblance to those of the 1970’s. In the earliest days of the listed options market, there were calls but not puts, limited expirations and just a sprinkling…
 
There is but one Convexity Maven in the world, a moniker that belongs uniquely to Harley Bassman. A 35 year career in financial markets has left Harley steeped in all things relating to the price of and characteristics of optionality. Our discussion on this episode of the Alpha Exchange starts with the early days of his career, including a position…
 
There’s not much natural intersection between the study of mathematics and Russian literature. But for the ever-curious mind of Ray Iwanowski, the Wharton School provided exposure to both. Ultimately, Ray’s interest in math and physics would lead him to finance where he came upon the Black-Scholes equation and option pricing theory. After a stint i…
 
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