Some Still Victorious During Economic Swoon


As large chunks of the financial world have been lashed by the credit crunch, there are still some out there who aren’t just holding steady, they’re doing just fine. A handful of hedge-fund managers and private equity veterans bucked the trend and added yet more zeros to their bank statements. And even fund managers who would have had noses turned up at them for coming up with returns in the single-digits are being lauded as brilliant (since the the MSCI World index fell 46% in the first 11 months of the year). Dominic Elliot of the Financial Times points out some winners, such as John Paulson, George Soros, Andrew Lahde, and private-equity practitioner Pete Peterson. It appears old-school banking has come back into vogue, like deposit taking, advisory work and cautious lending. For example, one of the crisis winners has been Greenhill. They’ve advised the U.S. government on banking rescues. And some of the bigger banks, like J.P. Morgan Chase, HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered, so far appear to have emerged stronger from the turmoil. Big Government also makes the list, as more power has accrued to politicians and mandarins, such as Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. The crunch also gave a new lease of life to European politicians such as U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Public perception of Brown and Labour’s management of the financial crisis has led to the prime minister closing the gap on Conservative party leader David Cameron to under 10 percentage points. Sarkozy’s approval rating turned positive in December for the first time this year. Elliot also cites financial literature as a winner.