Many years ago, I had the chance to meet Tom Stanley, manager of the Resolute Performance Fund. Starting from complete obscurity in the 90s, Tom Stanley had managed to build his fund to $1b by 2008. He had crazy numbers, was super exposed to commodities. He only had 5 staff members. Obviously, I wanted to find out what advice he had for me to grow a fund. His best advice was that I had to find a flaccid manager and convince him to let me take over. I thought it was an excellent use of the word “flaccid”, so rarely used in non-penile contexts.
But I am not sure how this advice would work in practice. Would I find a struggling manager and tell him: You’re a flaccid manager, why don’t you let me take over, what do you have to lose? Even low-EQ me knows this is not a winning approach.
How do you buy or sell a book of business? It’s all done on a murky, hush-hush basis. Many people have asked me if I knew any fund or money management operation that’s up for sale. And I have no idea. I would myself like to find a money management operation to take over. So today, I am launching the OPM Flaccid Manager Exchange™ - a clearinghouse for people who want to acquire or sell books of business (or entire funds or firms) in the investment industry.
Do you know any Flaccid Managers? Are you yourself a Flaccid Manager? We need to agree on definitions: a Flaccid Manager is someone who has sub-scale AUM, stagnant performance, low AUM growth or any combination of these symptoms. There is no shame in being a Flaccid Manager. It happens. I was once a Flaccid Manager. There could, of course, be other reasons why a manager might want to transition. A recent survey indicates that 63% of OSC registrants plan to retire in the next 3 years. That's age-related flaccidity. Full disclosure: I made up this survey just to sound smart.
Take care to sell your horse before he dies. The art of life is passing losses on. - Robert Frost
I will treat any inquiry with the utmost discretion and professionalism. I will do so using the same approach I assume urologists use every day: biting the inside of their cheeks to refrain from laughing. Seriously, I will treat you with dignity, as though you are a professional with valuable expertise.
Shortly after I met him, Tom Stanley had an 80% drawdown. And then he would flatline for 7 years. But he persisted and then had a spectacular comeback delivering four consecutive years of 60%+ performance. Why did Tom Stanley persist in the face of such adversity? It’s because, back in the day, there was no Flaccid Manager Exchange™. By the way, do you know who two close pals of Tom Stanley are? That’s right, recurring OPM Wire characters Avner Mandelman and Larry Sarbit. At various times, they would also have been prime candidates for the Flaccid Manager Exchange™. Flaccidity is very common, there should be absolutely no stigma about it. Laughter, yes. But stigma, no.
If you don’t start sending me candidates pronto, I will start naming names out of my own initiative. Just the other day, I came across an ESG horsecrap manager with both an OSC and SEC license that appears to manage all of $5m. I figure the licenses alone are worth $7m. Surrender your flaccid operation to me voluntarily. Or I will start digging for kompromat and nothing good could come from that. I can pay a commission on terms to be agreed upon. I will also consider offloading this work to a more neutral party, let me know if you might be interested. This initiative is so important to me that I might even consider giving it a polite name. You can get in touch here.