Andrew Lahde, a hedge fund manager whose fund was up something like a factor of 8.7 last year, closed his fund in October due to lack of opportunities. His strategy was to sell short a lot of the financial instruments that have caused banks and other institutions so much trouble. (Selling short is selling something you don't actually own, with the expectation you will be able to buy it at a much cheaper price later on and deliver it to whom ever you sold short to.)
His comments about closing his fund are precious. You can find the majority of them at the Financial Times site: http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2008/10/17/17194/andrew-lahde-bows-out-in-style/
Here is a particularly interesting portion:
".........The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy, only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.
There are far too many people for me to sincerely thank for my success. However, I do not want to sound like a Hollywood actor accepting an award. The money was reward enough. Furthermore, the endless list those deserving thanks know who they are.
I will no longer manage money for other people or institutions. I have enough of my own wealth to manage. Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life........."
Well, good for him. I think a lot of us would be happy to throw away our Blackberrys and enjoy life if we had the resources to do so.