We doubt that these old-school managers were truly better off in the pre-HFT world, but it's hard to prove either way. And if they're right, it may be only because HFTs have made the markets more efficient
2013 was a year of anticipation and perhaps disappointment. For those hoping the 2012 election would have settled some of the dysfunction in Washington, that did not happen. In fact, we doubled down on fights already settled as if there were no new business. Equity markets impressed, but few saw it as anything other than the hand of the Fed. Mercifully, the Fed signaled the beginning of the end of QE3 by year-end.
Politically, 2013 was the year of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. First the GOP followed the direction of Junior Senator Ted Cruz (R Tex.) down a dark alley in a fight they were guaranteed to lose, and, then with the GOP on the ropes, the President and his team botched the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act website. In the markets all eyes were on Federal Reserve mainly because Congress abdicated all responsibility for moving the economy forward to Ben Bernanke, who finally signaled the beginning of the end of QE3.
The short story is that U.S. companies can, with a certain amount of effort, move their legal address to Ireland or wherever and more or less avoid paying any taxes. This is called an "inversion," and the math is pretty straightforward.
Why is the Justice Department suing Standard & Poor's for mis-rating structured credit securities before the financial crisis, and not suing Moody's, which gave a lot of the same products the same ratings? I have a theory, but Standard & Poor's has another, and theirs is a corker: