The Jim Grant Series: Michael Steinhardt

Featuring Michael Steinhardt

The legendary hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt sits down with the dean of financial reporters for an unforgettable conversation. Steinhardt shares some of the secrets behind his incredible run as the manager of Steinhardt Partners, and discusses some of his most remarkable trades from that time. He also touches on the ways in which the hedge fund world has changed since then. Finally, Steinhardt delves into his evolving views about his own personal wealth. Filmed on May 24, 2018 in New York. (

Published on
13 July, 2018
Topic
Career, Investment Framework, US Economy
Duration
61 minutes
Rating
3

Comments

  • JD

    John D.

    19 7 2018 21:58

    0       0

    Jim likes to hear the sound of his own voice... Grant would have done a better job...

  • GS

    Gordon S.

    18 7 2018 23:17

    1       0

    "Between 95% and 98% borrowed." That's a leverage between 20:1 and 50:1. (Not sure if I interpreted the quote correctly since I don't know how one would be able to maintain such a leverage ratio...) I would be interested in the interest rate payed on these loans or the way the leverage was financially engineered?

  • PP

    Prashant P.

    18 7 2018 18:33

    0       0

    Mike has an amazing track. Jim should have asked him more specifics of his art collection where 50% of his wealth is now.

  • MH

    Michael H.

    17 7 2018 15:26

    0       0

    Fantastic and enjoyable interview. Great man and terrific investor. He has the track record to prove it. Well done.

  • AE

    Alex E.

    17 7 2018 03:47

    1       0

    Thank you, Mr. Grant and RVTV for an interesting interview. Mr. Steinhardt seems to have, over the course of the interview, come to the realization that his positions, i.e. investing, art, religion have changed over time. Did I detect a modicum of embarrassment in Mr. Steinhardt when he acknowledged that his Atheism is weakening? How do you blame the Creator for Humanity's childishness and cruelty? Believing in a higher power is a very Human thing...is it right, is it wrong, who knows...I just know that believing in Man-Made constructs can be very singling at times and thus can make one feel rather alone. Here endth the Theology lesson!

  • KH

    Kelley H.

    17 7 2018 00:02

    14       0

    I have tremendous admiration and respect for Jim Grant, and would gladly watch him be interviewed for hours on end. However, I feel he really leaves a lot to be desired as an interviewer. His need to control the conversation, constant interruption of the guest, and obvious fondness for hearing himself speak really detract from the conversation. It seemed as if Mr. Grant were more interested in illustrating his own knowledge as opposed to learning something new from Mr. Steinhardt.

    This was such a missed opportunity to go deeper and to elicit much more wisdom and information from Mr. Steinhardt. I feel Grant Williams would have done a far better job. He has a true gift of seeding the conversation in such a way as to elicit interesting dialog, is expert in guiding the conversation along in a thoughtful direction, but most importantly he knows when to keep quiet and allow his guest to formulate and express a full train of though.

  • NR

    Nuno R.

    16 7 2018 12:42

    4       0

    What a legend(s)... hugely impressed by Michael's level of humility.

  • SS

    Sam S.

    16 7 2018 12:36

    3       1

    Rauol, Kathleen makes some good points and she too has the right to express herself. The part about Mr. Steinhardt being in jail is the very frustration all of us feel with respect to overburden of regulations, yet nobody is prosecuted, just paying corporate fines and the hunt for taxation. Mr. Steinhardt did say he felt compelled to do anything to win and it sounds like he did. Other than a history lesson, how much did we get out of this interview. I vote that anyone can express themselves, but lets please keep it professional and not personal. Isn't that the contrarian view Mr. Steinhardt lives by??? As far as artwork goes, great way to place money with no claim by an third party, sort of like physical GOLD.

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    16 7 2018 07:48

    11       0

    Hi Raoul, Grant & Team - Would like to second Teresa’s request for an interview with Stan Druckenmiller. Would be awesome if you can make it happen guys!! Thanks.

  • MM

    Michael M.

    16 7 2018 06:16

    6       1

    This would have been better, if Jim had let Michael talk more and not interrupted so much.

  • JS

    James S.

    15 7 2018 21:46

    2       0

    Why are we watching a month and a half after the interview?

  • NS

    Nico S.

    15 7 2018 18:50

    8       1

    Very good interview. Clearly tells you how the advantages were received back in the day. It was all about information flow and being able to create that edge through soft dollar arrangements along with semi, I repeat semi, fraudulent connections. Clear as day, although I do respect his talent beginning back in the 60s. they all clearly got away with it given that the SEC was not fully formed as it is today. A bit more difficult to do what he did and a handful of others because it was all a new game back then. Now everyone’s in the mix and there are no edges to be had.

  • SD

    Sebastien D.

    15 7 2018 17:05

    9       2

    I'm sure somebody so well educated as Jim would stop interrupting his guest by thinking about it as being very impolite (it is in France, not sure about your side of the ocean...). I understand the need to give rhythm and have a conversation, but it is often outright interruption... Still an interesting interview, thank you.

  • cl

    chi l.

    15 7 2018 14:26

    2       1

    the successfully rich, do not say the bad side of their lives...seems too good to be true how they did good to achieve their status so far....

    • CM

      C M.

      15 7 2018 15:34

      2       0

      He talked about not being able to get out of the bed in the morning due to the pressure of investing. Rich or poor, everyone has bad times in their lives. He gave a sense of that as he discussed shutting down his fund in 1995.

  • MT

    Mike T.

    15 7 2018 13:24

    4       5

    ..... and the actionable trade idea is what?????

    • RK

      Robert K.

      15 7 2018 15:24

      3       0

      I took from it a few (maybe obvious) things:

      1. You better know your sh*t (have an edge) if you enter the trade
      2. If high conviction -> leverage up
      3. The future ain't what it used to be (being born later we've missed a very nice golden train). The SEC would be up your ass now doing similar things.
      4. Better stash your cash with Rotko rather than Uncle Sam

    • CM

      C M.

      15 7 2018 15:32

      0       0

      Some enlightment that he is in bonds (short term treasuries), very little stocks, and art. Art sounds like it has gratification benefits than just earning a return on investment, but it is a limited resource. The rest of his portfolio is in a very low risk, non-leveraged position.

  • MT

    Mike T.

    15 7 2018 13:24

    1       4

    ..... and the actionable trade idea is what?????

    • PD

      Peter D.

      16 7 2018 00:29

      0       0

      Stand pat....

      Forgive me, but standing pat can be a priceless idea.

      Trading only works when you have an edge....

      This guy made clear early in the interview that today's markets offer few such opportunities....

      BTW I think he mentioned that there were something like 8,000 hedge funds....that's a lot of funds chasing the same companies in the S&P 500.

      If you really think about it....one trade opportunity is to liquidate hedge fund holdings....

      .

  • VS

    Victor S.

    15 7 2018 11:46

    2       0

    Jim it was Franz Pick not lee Cooperman that coined bonds as “guaranteed certificates of confiscation “.... good interview ..wish you had talked about mikes opinion of the future though?

  • PB

    Pieter B.

    15 7 2018 09:21

    1       0

    Thanks a lot for your great conversation Michael and Jim!

  • KS

    Kathleen S.

    15 7 2018 07:40

    19       6

    Real Vision is just turning into CNBC -- where billionaires are fawned over and given soft ball questions. I wish this was more about telling the truth about investing and not glorifiying people that cheat-- Another notable thing Michael Steinhardt did, at least according to the SEC and US Department of Justice, was in April and May, 1991 (Steinhardt paid 70 million in fines) collude with another hedge fund, “Caxton”, to organize a scheme to manipulate the market in US Tresury Securities, a scheme which netted him tens of millions of dollars (Forbes put the number at $600 million) Crime pays well. Recently he got busted for buying stolen art work -- if we had the rule of law in this country this guy should be in jail.

    • MM

      Michael M.

      15 7 2018 13:23

      1       0

      I agree but how are you going to get these guys on if your proposition is essentially humiliation? Can't imagine they're being paid. I'm happy to listen to what they're prepared to talk about, in the hope I might learn something, not interrogate every dark corner of their soul in some futile quest for universal justice.

    • KS

      Kathleen S.

      15 7 2018 14:49

      7       3

      Who needs these guys on, do you actually think you are going to be able to get away with the cheating this man has done? I learn absolutely nothing from this interview - what is there to learn from a lying cheater, how to cheat? This guy is so dirty one of his associates he made deals with was Marc Rich (another complete criminal who should have died in jail, if it had not been Bill Clinton granting him a pardon, mind you in the last hours of his presidency, after his wife dontated money to the Clintons). I want real vision to give me REAL news on why the system is so out of whack and where are places I can legitimately invest money.

    • RP

      Raoul P.

      15 7 2018 15:00

      14       2

      Kathleen - why all the rage? Real Vision isn't a social justice warrior site. We are not here to judge others. We have NO agenda and NO editorial bias. We are just bringing the smartest people in the world to you, for you to learn from. If you arent so keen on a particular interview then thats fine or if you dont like or respect one of the guests, that is fine too. We arent here to give you "real news on why the system is so out of whack". some guests cover that, some dont see it that way or see no need to cover it endlessly. That is all fine. but attacking anyone personally you dont like, really isnt the spirit of Real Vision.

    • KS

      Kathleen S.

      15 7 2018 16:40

      16       2

      This is not rage and I am far from a snow flake social justice warrior; however, I am someone who values truth, honesty and hard work (I guess it is my middle class indoctrination) - so when I see a "puff" piece on someone who exemplifies the exact opposite I find it offensive. Look at the markets - if that is what you want to call them; they have gotten this way because there isn't even the semblance of a rule of law anymore - we are living in the days of complete financial plunder and those doing the greatest amount of plundering are glorified. Why have a comments section if you can't call a spade a spade - just bring guests on and they can tell their fairy tale stories of how they got rich and we as subscribers can be awed by their brillance. I think most people subscribe to Real Vision to get the truth about markets and how they can make money and protect their capital from the financial criminals. I respect you Raoul and it is your channel so I will abide by your wishes, just happy comments from now on -

    • SS

      Sam S.

      16 7 2018 12:33

      4       2

      Rauol, Kathleen makes some good points and she too has the right to express herself. The part about Mr. Steinhardt being in jail is the very frustration all of us feel with respect to overburden of regulations, yet nobody is prosecuted, just paying corporate fines and the hunt for taxation. Mr. Steinhardt did say he felt compelled to do anything to win and it sounds like he did. Other than a history lesson, how much did we get out of this interview. I vote that anyone can express themselves, but lets please keep it professional and not personal. Isn't that the contrarian view Mr. Steinhardt lives by??? As far as artwork goes, great way to place money with no claim by an third party, sort of like physical GOLD.

    • F

      Floyd .

      16 7 2018 22:45

      2       2

      Couldn't disagree more. If most of what you said was true others would have been as successful. What he did was more leg work than his contemporaries and won. Admitting when he got arrogant and the fall he took because of it was reflective and instructive. Excellent interview of an investing legend,respect the past and talent. Keep the political commentary to a more appropriate situation and platform.

    • RC

      RK C.

      17 7 2018 06:08

      0       0

      Sometimes you learn more from what is not said, as opposed to what is.

    • HM

      Hugh M.

      17 7 2018 12:35

      2       0

      This is an interesting thread. I'd not heard of Mr Steinhardt and having watched the interview I had the impression of a very successful trader who's now a genial grandfather engaged in philanthropy and generously imparting his wisdom. Just a tiny hint of scandal with reference to the unhonoured trades. Thanks, Kathleen, for the extra info, I've now googled and have a better idea of him. I see Raoul's point but certainly think the interview gave an inaccurate picture of the man. I guess the answer is to google any new names that crop up here on RV.

  • NI

    Nate I.

    15 7 2018 00:50

    17       1

    Jim, I love your clever wit and your depth of historical knowledge. You ask great questions, but please - be more careful not to interrupt your guests. Just about every time Michael was sharing a deep thought that might have really been something useful to add to our investment framework, he would be cut off.

    • HS

      Hubert S.

      15 7 2018 08:06

      6       0

      Indeed. Jim Grant is a great financial raconteur, combining financial past and present. He should be interviewed four times a year by Realvision.
      But as an interviewer, he spoils the crucial moments.

    • JS

      John S.

      15 7 2018 10:09

      7       1

      I hope Jim is reading the comments. He's tendency to interrupt is a persistent source of complaint

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    14 7 2018 23:50

    2       0

    Final thing (and apologies for the clutter of messages) — a few interviews of this quality easily justify my RV subscription (at the original asking price, not the new rate).

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    14 7 2018 23:46

    3       0

    ...cause to serve which is much greater than ourselves in order to have meaning in our lives. This seems true whether in finance or anything else.

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    14 7 2018 23:42

    1       0

    ...a sense of anguish from such a wealthy man and exceptional investor who now takes the measure of his life and finds it lacking. I believe we must all find a...

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    14 7 2018 23:41

    1       0

    ...Steinhardt was both gracious, humble and very forthright about his strengths and weaknesses. In a way, this was moving for me to watch because I strongly felt...

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    14 7 2018 23:39

    1       2

    This was absolutely superb. Jim Grant has to be one of the best (if not, the best) interviewer I have ever had the privilege to watch. I found this interview particularly fascinating and nuanced, and

  • JH

    Joseph H.

    14 7 2018 18:57

    1       0

    Great stuff. Steinhardt was a unicorn. The likes of him we'll never see again. Love Jim but my egg timer has him as the interviewee and not the interviewer. $1 into $500 tops seventy-seven times so I forgive him.

  • TJ

    Terry J.

    14 7 2018 18:28

    2       1

    This has to be right up there as one of the very best RVTV videos, and there has never been a shortage of candidates! Every interviewer on RVTV brings his or her own personality and charisma to the party, but James is just so refreshingly different, from his eccentric bow ties to his extraordinary wit, and encyclopaedic memory. Obviously it helps that James usually has such interesting and highly successful guests like Michael, but his series of interviews has been simply compelling viewing for me. I love it.

  • AD

    A D.

    14 7 2018 18:13

    6       1

    Jim Grant is a fantastic interviewer- so well prepared, equal level and not afraid to push or bring back on track! An eccentric style, yes, but in my opinion it suits him and is completely earned and owned! Loved it!

  • MU

    Maurici U.

    14 7 2018 16:00

    8       16

    I love these inteviews despite of Grant. I don't like his constant interruptions. I find him pompous and arrogant.

  • DR

    Daniel R.

    14 7 2018 14:23

    1       1

    Very enjoyable interview. What fun it would be to hang around with either Jim or Michael. Great wit and good conversation. Michael, keep asking questions about God and Jesus. You fine tuned your knowledge in the stock and bond markets. You changed your mind on art. You might benefit from pursuing more knowledge on the spiritual realm. Your current reasoning is sophomoric, so go deeper. You are not afraid of a new variant perception. Matthew 16:26

  • MI

    Market I.

    14 7 2018 12:38

    0       1

    I really enjoyed the interview, perhaps biased by the fact that I am part of the finance world. My question is about the overall objective of these interviews. Are they meant to be documentary-style (like this one), or dealing with current market issues in-depth? The quality is great, I just want to pin down what we are meant to take away from it. Thank you

    • DT

      Douglas T.

      14 7 2018 20:14

      2       0

      Each interviewer has his own style and objectives, so just enjoy them. However, I can't believe you really have to be told how to listen and understand it in your own way? That is its own reward.

  • AO

    Arthur O.

    14 7 2018 12:27

    6       2

    Grant chill out

  • JM

    John M.

    14 7 2018 02:38

    1       0

    I enjoyed the interview but would have appreciated a question regarding the equities he has invested in. He must feel that the market is overvalued which is why he owns so few equities but what sectors or niches of the market does he still find attractive and worth holding at this point? (just a general question for more clarity, not to get into specific stock picks - although by all means feel free!).

  • JF

    Jonathan F.

    14 7 2018 01:47

    2       0

    Great way to spend my shabbat!

  • FM

    Faris M.

    14 7 2018 01:39

    2       1

    WOW, one of RV best!!!!

  • FM

    Faris M.

    14 7 2018 01:39

    0       1

    WOW, one of RV best!!!!

  • PL

    Peter L.

    14 7 2018 01:37

    1       1

    Solid Gold! My favorite interview from RV for so many reasons.

  • rm

    russell m.

    14 7 2018 01:07

    2       0

    Another enjoyable. I wonder what witicisms Jim would drop at a cocktail party after tipping a few? Would pick up the tab to land a Jim unfiltered realvision segment.

  • WH

    W H.

    14 7 2018 00:40

    19       1

    Love these interviews, but just when you sense a real money line is coming from the interviewee, the interviewer interrupts to redirect the conversation. Quite irritating and diminishes the overall quality of the segment.

    • MS

      Michael S.

      14 7 2018 04:23

      2       3

      Indeed, he just sideswiped Steinhardt several times! It was the first time ever that, for a few moments, I didn't want to hear Jim Grant talk. I guess we're all human, even Jim. Love that guy and this series.

    • GS

      Gordon S.

      18 7 2018 22:59

      0       0

      Maybe it is also because of the time constraint? Maybe 2 - 3 hours would be a better format? :)

  • Bd

    Bram d.

    13 7 2018 22:26

    1       1

    Really great. Thanks to both for doing this!

  • RK

    Robert K.

    13 7 2018 22:14

    1       0

    What a Mensch.

  • LT

    Lucas T.

    13 7 2018 21:28

    2       2

    High quality guest!

    I took these things from this talk:

    •Success did not stave off the depression that came with failure, and he had some big failures. Even the best have low low lows. He did not care about the money, only the performance he was able to achieve.

    •Some old traders seem to have this vast wisdom that comes from all their many experiences, but some, like Steinhardt here, seem to just have had the grit and strength to live a life battling the trading elements.

    •His arguments for atheism are surprising considering that Maimonides, along with countless other authors, covered why there is suffering. I always find it interesting when Atheists posit arguments like they are the first to ever doubt and think of them...unlike all the faithful sheep. I wonder what he would think if he applied his same research methods to religion what he would find.

    I felt a bit bad for him towards the end. He had all this success and did not really feel it or care. He said at one point in the talk that he only cared about his performance, that was his all encompassing ambition. Seems pretty empty.

  • MA

    Mark A.

    13 7 2018 21:15

    2       0

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I got an email about this interview being on Real Vision while out for dinner and couldn’t wait to see it.

  • SS

    Sam S.

    13 7 2018 20:39

    24       2

    Mr. Steinhardt speaks slowly choosing his words carefully and with intellect. However, as he is explaining his views, Mr. Grant is like a kid in a candy shop, talking on top of the very thoughts and ideas Mr. Steinhardt is expressing. While I'm a fan of Mr. Grant in all respects, please wait for the complete response. I love learning not guessing as to what I think I've learned. All the best.

    • LT

      Lucas T.

      13 7 2018 21:29

      10       3

      Grant did a lot of talking in this one, and I too wish he had let Michael talk more.

    • MK

      Michael K.

      13 7 2018 21:51

      3       1

      I enjoy the true dialogue between Jim Grant and the folks he's known for decades. Jim Grant himself is a leader in the financial market outlook history. I did find myself noticing he was interrupting, but it felt thoughtful and engaged rather than dismissive.

  • RE

    Richard E.

    13 7 2018 19:55

    7       6

    Interesting to me that someone who is a risk manager by trade takes the very poorly skewed risk/reward view of being an atheist. The markets teach us the probability of any tail event is non-zero. Thus if there is a non-zero probability of there being a God and the reward is infinite, you would think he would be much less dogmatic as James seems to suggest he should be.

    • GS

      George S.

      13 7 2018 20:05

      4       0

      Very Pascalian of you...

  • DS

    David S.

    13 7 2018 19:19

    3       0

    Mr. Steinhardt, Thank you for sharing your life and wisdom in a wonderful interview. Your road to atheism is asking why the world is not better. Voltaire wrote Candide to address this issue after the Lisbon earthquake - a natural disaster vis-a-vis the Holocaust a man-made disaster. With a conscious mind, freedom of choice and intentionality, I agree with the existentialist that it is our job to control man-made disasters. Most existentialists were atheist. I find atheism and/or agnosticism insufficient for me. DLS

  • TT

    Thomas T.

    13 7 2018 19:18

    3       0

    Just an incredible interview. Jim Grant is superb as usual. Michael Steinhardt really opened up with great experiences and market insight.

  • AG

    Abhimanyu G.

    13 7 2018 18:01

    27       0

    Thouroughly enjoyed this, like I’ve enjoyed each and every Jim Grant interview before this one! Getting him to sign up for a series was a coup for RV, a real treat for me personally and I’m sure many others too. I signed up for Jim’s newsletter after watching him on RV, and would definitely recommend it to the RV audience.

    A small request if I may - Jim is hosting a conference with Stanley Druckenmiller in October. If you could get them both together for a RV segment, it would be absolutely fabulous.

    Thank you.

    • TB

      Teresa B.

      14 7 2018 01:36

      16       0

      I would LOVE to see an interview with Stanley Druckenmiller... this would set RV on fire.

  • BM

    Bryan M.

    13 7 2018 17:49

    3       0

    Thank you James for yet another great interview.

  • GL

    Geoffrey L.

    13 7 2018 17:28

    4       0

    Jim Grant is the funniest, smartest interviewer out there.

    "He, like you, gave financial journalism a try. Turned out he was not good enough for that line of work, so he went out and made a lot of money on Wall Street."

    The best.

  • GO

    Glenn O.

    13 7 2018 17:24

    3       0

    What a class act.
    He would unfortunately be uncomfortable in today’s world of inflated egos.
    This interview gave me a great picture of what made America great, unfortunately there are no new Micheal Steinhartds.
    I guess we should be very cautious on the art market.
    Glenn

  • RM

    Ryan M.

    13 7 2018 16:47

    0       0

    LOL 25:58 is basically where are today (well, depending on your dollar outlook of course)

  • NH

    Neil H.

    13 7 2018 16:22

    2       0

    Jim Grant is one of the greatest interviewers of our time, with a depth of knowledge that most do not have. I am always touched by a titan like Michael who still remains humble, a rarity in the investment business.

  • MR

    Mark R.

    13 7 2018 16:03

    6       0

    Interviews like this are why RTVT is head & shoulders above everything else that is out there and why I'm proud to recommend them to other traders & investors

    Mark Ritchie II

  • RM

    Richard M.

    13 7 2018 14:00

    1       0

    Very, very interesting and enjoyable conversation. Thank you Mr. Grant and Mr. Steinhardt!

  • MM

    Mike M.

    13 7 2018 12:32

    1       0

    WISDOM.........

  • YB

    Yuriy B.

    13 7 2018 11:20

    16       14

    Generally I drop whatever I'm doing when James Grant speaks. And Steinhardt is obviously a titan. But what value did the interview provide aside from an opportunity at hero worship? Perhaps the only thing I learned was: habitually astonishing returns cultivate hubris, even among the most seasoned and winter-worn.

    • NG

      Nick G.

      13 7 2018 14:25

      1       0

      Watch between 34.10 and 33.39. I did know that.

    • tW

      tgwtom W.

      13 7 2018 16:07

      5       0

      How about the courage to stick with a trade going against you for extended time, under internal or external pressure, and come out the other side. How about the behavioral insights on investing, how even a successful investor can be more affected by loss (depression) than gain and trying to move forward. These are ideas we can identify with and there is great value in hearing them shared by others . Often.

    • DS

      David S.

      13 7 2018 18:54

      3       1

      "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Do not look for trade ideas look for personality traits that made Mr Steinhardt successful. With these traits you can be successful in many different fields - maybe even life. DLS

    • YB

      Yuriy B.

      14 7 2018 00:50

      2       0

      Nick G, thank you - that was useful.

    • rm

      russell m.

      14 7 2018 01:03

      2       0

      I feel to follow the greats, to know them is more than worthwhile.

    • PL

      Peter L.

      14 7 2018 01:40

      4       0

      depends if you value wisdom more than information. for me, this kind of retrospective analysis on one's life from a legend is vastly more valuable than pure informational data points on the markets.

  • NG

    Nick G.

    13 7 2018 10:18

    6       0

    Met them all and Michael is my personal favorite. The one that oozed the absolute certainty he will make money for you and protect your capital. An absolute legend. Probably the most risk conscious of the "Greats". Thank you for this.

  • ks

    kas s.

    13 7 2018 09:29

    7       7

    michael steinharrrrrdttttt!!!!!!!
    i fukn love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ks

    kas s.

    13 7 2018 09:29

    3       6

    michael steinharrrrrdttttt!!!!!!!
    i fukn love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!