Hedge funds that are doing well despite the downturn have taken drastic measures to maintain their success: They’ve banned public displays of enthusiasm. “You don’t do victory laps,” Adam Stern, of AM Investment Partners, up 6.75 percent this year, tells the Times today. The paper also solemnly reports that Roy Niederhoffer, whose R.G. Niederhoffer Capital Management is up 50 percent, “has banned fist-pumping victory poses on his trading floor.” This doesn’t mean, of course, that employees of these few lucky places stopped feeling that special frisson of excitement as they rake in the big money — it’s just that their means of expressing their joy have been driven underground.
Niederhoffer, for instance, has distributed iPods that play an endless loop of “Let’s Get It Started” and “We Will Rock You” to his employees, and Drury Capital holds two-minute “naked victory dances” in the executive bathroom between 4:00 and 4:02 p.m. Meanwhile, John Paulson, whose Paulson and Company is up 30 percent, has long maintained a stoic public face, although he reportedly has a secret tunnel under his desk into which he shouts “YA BURNT,” every day at precisely 5 p.m.; the sound has been specially calibrated to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to England, where it reverberates under the City of London and is directed in particular into the offices all of the British banks he’s been shorting.