Shining Light on Global Macro

Published on
May 18th, 2017
36 minutes

Shining Light on Global Macro

The Interview ·
Featuring Samuel Gruen

Published on: May 18th, 2017 • Duration: 36 minutes

Samuel Gruen of Lightfield Capital takes Jawad Mian through his career to date, including his investment process and approach to global macro, outlining how he identifies trades and manages risk, with insight into his influences and key positions. Sam also picks up the threads of the retirement crisis and how that could influence markets, as well as what productivity measurement means for economic recovery. Filmed on April 25, 2017, in Paris.


  • SH
    Syed H.
    16 May 2018 @ 18:09
    Who mics these people? I could barely understand what either of them were saying. Sheesh, I wanted to learn, but these two were unintelligible.
  • VS
    Victor S. | Contributor
    22 May 2017 @ 13:21
    Since im one of the people in the "New "Market Wizards and also traded for Soros successfully ... i want to comment on the world now being Centrally Planned and it will be different from your experiance.
    • VK
      Viresh K.
      27 May 2017 @ 21:13
      Victor Sperandeo? Wow.
  • CY
    C Y.
    24 May 2017 @ 20:22
    I like his awareness around how his experiences shape him. He's young but not naive which often happens. I think this will set him up for success. In other words KNOW THYSELF (and thy limitations).
  • RA
    Robert A.
    20 May 2017 @ 21:31
    Great interview and a nice filip to Michael Green's interview on the mandatory tax deferred distributions @ 70 1/2. The three potential thesis busters discussion was quite useful. If you told me that I'd consider putting money with a 28 year old prior to my watching his RV segment I think not. I thought so much of him however that I did inquire about putting money with him and although he doesn't yet have a platform in the US I will follow his progress closely. Anyone concerned about the younger generation should watch his interview, IMO.
    • pd
      preston d.
      24 May 2017 @ 16:18
      I don't subscribe to the narrative of mandatory 401k distributions leading to a market outflow. If I'm a retiree over 70 &1/2 and I hold JoeBlow ETF today but must perform a distribution, I'll sell some shares, buy them back in a non-sheltered account, and pay the tax in April. In such an event, the only net cash that comes out of the market is the marginal tax rate, and I'm not saying that's insignificant.
  • JK
    Jon K.
    22 May 2017 @ 16:37
    Thanks for the book mentions, it is always nice to come away with some additional resources or materials to explore.
  • JL
    Jinny L.
    20 May 2017 @ 22:41
    Good stuff. Sam: I am assuming you got stopped out of ur $ long position. Are you currently on the sidelines and looking to get back in lower? What levels are u watching? Thanks
  • PS
    PD S.
    20 May 2017 @ 22:32
    great "travels with jiwad" as always... :)
  • VK
    Viresh K.
    19 May 2017 @ 15:17
    Great interview. Enjoyed the insights provided, and wanted to ask you a question about your investment strategy that I had: Usually, as macro themes take a longer term time frame to materialise, how to balance that, with your shorter term trading, with tight time stop losses?
    • VK
      Viresh K.
      20 May 2017 @ 13:18
      I sent you an invite on LinkedIn by the way :).
  • GA
    Giedrius A.
    20 May 2017 @ 06:57
    Great interview. Want to see him once more sometime in the future. Thank you RV.
  • ML
    Michael L.
    19 May 2017 @ 04:09
    A question for Sam and Jawad, or any one who can answer: how does the act of shifting profit from corporates to labor mechanically increases productivity? Intuitively, if labor cost go up per unit of output, shouldn't unit productivity go down? or am I confusing different things?
    • SG
      Samuel G.
      19 May 2017 @ 10:34
      Your logic is completely consistent. The problem comes from the measurement of total factor productivity, i.e. as a residual, not as an actual “productivity” measure. I’m happy to go into the math details (by email) if you want, but the basic idea is that if firms are showing monopolistic tendencies (which implies they can have a greater mark up on marginal cost then a “normal” competitive market would) then it means they are using inputs less efficiently from a social perspective. Each individual firm is producing less than the amount they would under competition (where costs = marginal costs, i.e. where there is no mark up). It’s kind of an accounting gimmick if you will. Doesn’t say anything about “true productivity” just measured residual (total factor productivity).
    • GS
      Gordon S.
      19 May 2017 @ 15:11
      I would also be interested in any math details / good articles related to this topic of productivity. (I can imagine that many more would be interested, but if it has to be via email: Thanks for taking the time to reply to this interesting question!
    • ML
      Michael L.
      20 May 2017 @ 04:29
      Hi Sam, thanks I see what you're saying now. Not sure if you agree but I think maybe there's some 2nd order effects here. If I can assert that 1) real world productivity is about optimal allocation of resources, and 2) wealth inequality, by concentrating demand in the hands of few, mis-allocates resources. Then giving a bigger piece of profit to labor means -> less inequality -> better resource allocation -> better productivity. Addressing monopolistic behavior is one way to tackle that problem. Appreciate the interview and your answering. I followed you on twitter. I'm @mspacey4415
  • TJ
    Terry J.
    19 May 2017 @ 15:15
    Fascinating listening to two young gurus discuss investment markets. Very interesting to heart the thoughts on the UK real estate market which is all too rarely cited as being massively over valued! Not sure about UK interest rates heading higher in these deflationary times, but if they do the housing market will be in serious trouble!
  • EM
    Elvijs M.
    19 May 2017 @ 11:11
    Really good!
  • tW
    tgwtom W.
    18 May 2017 @ 21:41
    Can you briefly explain the frenchelection/strong dollar connection?
    • SG
      Samuel G.
      19 May 2017 @ 10:42
      Resumption of the bull trend of US dollars once the European existential risk had been priced out. Obviously this has been wrong as the prevailing narrative of stronger European growth/tighter ECB accompanied by disillusionment over Trump reform agenda has taken hold since.
  • GS
    Gordon S.
    19 May 2017 @ 09:16
    Central banks might not be making the headlines anymore, but are still buying at an all time high pace of $250 billion a month. And that is without any major "hiccup" on the road as of now. So I personally fail to see, how central banks are becoming irrelevant. (Also not sure how "foreigners" are accounted for, but there is probably lots of CB buying hiding behind that number too. c.f. SNB.) This is for example how the BOJ is doing it: and more generally from the WSJ Finally, I am increasingly septic about Trump being able to achieve anything. I highly recommend the in depth interview of Trump by the Economist: the lack of a rational and clear thought process is in my opinion beyond scary.
  • GG
    Gerald G.
    19 May 2017 @ 02:50
    One thing that reallly bothers me and, IMO, completely undermines the credibility of people like this is the blind and naive acceptance of government reports. In this case the belief in the government reports of a labour market that is almost fully utilized is absurd. First of all, if the labour market is as good as reported why is there so much dissatisfaction? This is a relatively obvious hint that things are not as they seem and would suggest that actually delving into the jobs report numbers might be prudent. Looking below the surface of these reports paints a far different picture than the rosy one that the government would have us believe. The quality of jobs is deteriorating, the number of part time jobs is increasing, and there are a disproportionate number of people leaving the labour market. All of these facts point to fact that this is nothing more than the same type of misleading statistical "engineering" alluded to in a previous RV epidode on "Creative Accounting". The fact that "smart" people don't have the good sense to even question the garbage we are being fed is disturbing and the fact that this is someone RV thinks is worth listening to is also equally distrurbing. So what if this guy has pulled off 20% returns in over the last 5 years in a market that has been so distorted by CB's that it can't really even be called capitalism any more. In the lead up to the 2000 dot com crash most every bonehead money manager was also pulling off massive returns ... that didn't make them geniuses or make them worth listening to.
    • ML
      Michael L.
      19 May 2017 @ 04:00
      I doubt there's anyone whos NOT already aware of the job report issues you cited, including the 2 managers in the video. I also think they are aware that traditional policy has run its course in improving that situation, and that's why they kept talking about shifting value capture from capital to labor.
  • GG
    Gerald G.
    19 May 2017 @ 03:22
    Ps. Gruen doesn't even seem to comprehend (or question) the danger of a Trump administration that plans to increase spending without regard for an increasing debt that is already beyond insane. To him it's just a continuation of the shell game he has grown up with and which today's young idiots appear to believe is normal and sustainable. Guess what...Mr. Gruen, debt means something... it means something to a household, it means something to a business, it means something to a corporation and it means something to a country. WAKE UP!!!!
  • JO
    Joseph O.
    19 May 2017 @ 01:00
    Great interviewee... But would have loved to see him opposite Grant or Michael Greene. Sadly, I don't think this interviewer allowed us to fully benefit from his insights.
  • DS
    David S.
    18 May 2017 @ 20:29
    Thanks for the endorsement on The Alchemy of Finance. I enjoyed The Soros Lectures. As a retired baby boomer, I see another possibility for the current rise in the market. Many baby boomers are still working and see that they do not have enough in retirement accounts. They are saving as much as possible in all possible accounts. Couple this with the current love of low cost ETFs and one can see that this could be a major driver in the stock market rise at very high P/E ratios. This certainly could offset required withdrawals plus add fuel to the fire. When the market changes, these investments can cause a lot of liquidity and volatility problems. DLS
  • AH
    Andreas H.
    18 May 2017 @ 19:38
    Super, very smart!
  • SC
    Shane C.
    18 May 2017 @ 16:56
    define productivity? Massive companies with the dawn of the financialization and securitization (driven by debt) There is a complete disconnect between the productivity of a company and the company's labor force. A company can essentially improve the value of their capital by financialization including tinkering with the balance sheet aided by super low rates. At this point, the company doesn't need technology or labor. In this scenario efficient capital, productive labor or technology is but a footnote
  • lD
    lance D.
    18 May 2017 @ 13:13
    That was actually one of my favourite interviews i hope this bloke comes back
  • DJ
    D J.
    18 May 2017 @ 12:08
    Excellent presentation - great insight!