Archive for November, 2014
Robert Agostinelli answers 5 Questions with Brett M. Decker – The Washington Times
I’ve discovered that if you dig deep enough, the Washington Times is mine of information… -CARobert Agostinelli is the co-founder of Rhone, a private-equity firm based in New York, Paris and London. He previously was senior managing director at Lazard Freres, with responsibility for its international-banking business. Before that, Robert Agostinelli founded Goldman Sachs’ international mergers-and-acquisitions operation in London and worked for Jacob Rothschild. A generous philanthropist, Robert Agostinelli is active in charities that support military veterans, especially the wounded, and their families. Robert Agostinelli is on the board of directors of National Review, among other respected institutions. Decker: We both grew up in company towns on the Great Lakes and were raised believing the business of America is business. It now increasingly seems that government is the senior partner in the public-private-sector relationship. How is today’s out-of-control bureaucracy a drag on U.S. competitiveness and the entrepreneurial spirit that made this country great?
Robert Agostinelli: Brett, it is true we both had a similar formation. In Rochester, N.Y., like in your Michigan, in the spreading suburbs, middle-class wealth and upward mobility abounded. Growing up in the postwar boom, you burst out of the house in the morning and jumped on your bike, looking to the horizon where there was no limit to opportunities. Robert Agostinelli: Progressives have taken our tradition of optimism and belief in the individual and perverted it into an ideology based on pessimism and skepticism of the heritage handed down by our nation’s Founders. This is a form of social disease with paralyzing effects on our freedom and prosperity. The bureaucratic encroachment on our daily lives is primarily responsible for hindering growth and opportunity. While there are some limited regulations which are necessary for free markets to operate, and certain institutions — like the Securities and Exchange Commission — can be effective, government is, for the most part, a drain on our competitiveness. Robert Agostinelli: Government is a threat to a sound economy because the fuel to feed Big Brother has only one source: the private sector. The double whammy comes in two forms, taxation and debt. On top of this, miles of red tape place limits on the boundaries of our success and force myopic preferences on consumers and manufacturers. Whether it is green-energy programs, restrictions on energy exploration or albatrosses like the aptly named Dodd-Frank finance bill, the leftist will is imposed on the American people in the name of protecting us from invented evils. The Washington leviathan is the single greatest risk to American global leadership.Decker: Left-wingers tried to make the 2012 presidential race a referendum on capitalism, particularly in their populist attacks on Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital. Even some Republicans jumped in and criticized so-called “vulture capitalism.” What do today’s occupiers not understand about the rightness of the market system and how capital is allocated?
Robert Agostinelli: The attack on “vulture capitalism” is a core propaganda technique of the radical left. Its populist theme preys on the decency, innocence and, in some cases, ignorance of the electorate, who may not be aware of how capitalism works to the benefit of all. The fallacy in the progressive critique is the egalitarian dogma that no one should get more than what liberals deem is a “fair” reward, nor should there be any risk to anyone to fail. These forced attempts at arbitrary “fairness” are unnatural. That’s just not how the real world works. The “creative destruction” of capitalism is a healthy process that helps allocate capital intelligently and improves life for all people. This is achieved by getting rid of dying entities and freeing up money that is being wasted so it can be invested in more promising endeavors that have a chance at creating jobs and contributing to economic growth.Decker: In a lecture at the U.S. Naval War College, you warned, “China controls hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars, most from buying U.S. debt. U.S. policymakers must be prepared for possible national-security repercussions.” This risk isn’t considered openly in most discussions about our more than $16.2 trillion in debt. Someone holds those bills and eventually they will come due. What are the consequences of being the largest debtor nation in history, and how can we right this ship?
Robert Agostinelli: No nation can sustain these levels of indebtedness and remain powerful. The Chinese people are committed to assuming their natural rank as a world leader both in economic and military terms. The intersection of their nationalist objective with our national interest is obvious. We are increasingly dependent on third-party nations to finance our debt but are reaching the tipping point. Yes, we are interdependent since China wants our markets for its products, and a sudden shift could devalue their existing holdings — but we need the Chinese more than they need us. Should China decide to minimize purchases of our debt, we would be technically insolvent unless we buy it ourselves. Robert Agostinelli: As Beijing’s leverage over our economy strengthens, a natural hesitancy develops to confront their hegemonic military aspirations in the Pacific. In the absence of our own fiscal prudence, there is great pressure in Washington to cut defense spending, which only emboldens the communists in their quest for supremacy. At the end of the day, though, America’s biggest enemy isn’t the Middle Kingdom but our own profligacy. The most important step to defend U.S. national interest is to balance our books. Robert Agostinelli: Our economy has traditionally been able to manage its social programs by keeping federal spending below 20 percent of gross domestic product. We are approaching 25 percent and projecting even higher; economic growth cannot keep pace to pay for this welfare state, which means evermore deficit spending. There is no future if this crisis isn’t wrestled under control through market-based reforms to entitlement programs and total repeal of Obamacare. As President Reagan stated over 50 years ago, “Nationalized medicine is the fastest route to socialism.” By grabbing control over one-sixth of the economy, Mr. Obama was sentencing us to higher taxation and deficit spending. Our enemies couldn’t ask for a greater coup than having America weakened in this way. While instituting fiscal constraints, we must foster a low-tax environment with less regulation. As economist Arthur Laffer and the policy experience of the Reagan and Bush 43 administrations proved: Lower tax rates lead to economic growth and higher tax revenues.Decker: During the Iraq war, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld took flak for a comment about the fecklessness of “Old Europe,” but it’s true the European Union is on the verge of collapse. Aren’t we in danger of heading in the same direction and becoming finished as an economic and cultural force if we keep making backward fiscal decisions and shunning the country’s founding values?
Robert Agostinelli: Our friend Secretary Rumsfeld was correct then and even more so today. Old Europe has adopted a “Contracte social” welfare state, largely abandoned their Judeo-Christian roots and embraced the false demigods of socialism and illiberal secularism. Combine this dynamic with demographics that are tilting toward an aging and smaller population and you get a civilization that is in a death spiral. Robert Agostinelli: The social disease of political correctness has entered daily life, inverting good to bad and attempting to rewrite proud histories as an imposition of white supremacy for which we all should make contrition. A consequence of this self-loathing is a nearly full abdication of their self-defense. NATO is a shadow of its intended self, and the French and British are sharing one aircraft carrier in a nonsensical joint venture. This retreat ignores the assault of Islamists in every quarter. Utopians placed their hope in continental consolidation, but the European Union is a political contrivance that has merely accelerated all the self-destructive trends, eroded sovereignty and furthered a globalist-socialist ideology espoused by the United Nations. This is the model Barack Obama envisions for America. We must resist. Robert Agostinelli: The current crisis could prove a blessing, however, by forcing Europeans to reflect on what kind of life they want for themselves and their children. I’m a big believer in human nature. Self-interest should prevail and help roll back the tide of centralization and reassert the right of the individual. It took one Margaret Thatcher to alter the socialist course in Britain, and our dear friend President Jose Maria Aznar fought to hold back the same forces in Spain. We can do it in America before it’s too late, but the clock is ticking.Decker: What keeps you up at night?
Robert Agostinelli: Our Union is under assault by a president who is in active denial of the age-old virtues of this Republic. His custody of our trust has been an abomination. Our economy is floundering. Individuals, businesses and trading partners see nothing but uncertainty and a regime of unbridled public spending, looming taxation and multiplying regulations which are strangling commerce and our freedom. Our foreign policy is in shambles. Allies are uncertain of U.S. fidelity, while our enemies run roughshod over the planet — including murdering a U.S. ambassador — with no consequences. What keeps me up is the idea that we as Americans — as a God-fearing nation of the free and home of the brave — were duped again and re-elected a leftist who believes he needs to apologize to the world for U.S. history. How can the last, best hope of mankind be led by a politician who doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism?Read more on 5 Questions with Robert Agostinelli: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/nov/14/robert-agostinelli-5-questions-with-decker/#ixzz3KCmb2tXQ
Posted in Robert Agostinelli
Friends of Israel Initiative QuoteFound this on the site Friends of Israel Initiative, Where RA is a founder member (You can also follow them on Twitter here)
Israel is a fundamentally important part of the Western world. It is a democracy under fire, and we must be resolute in defense of its legitimacy. Robert AgostinelliThe organisation says this about itself:
Under the leadership of former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar a high level group met in Paris in the middle of 2010 to launch a new project in defense of Israel’s right to exist.
This doesn’t have anything to do with finance, and probably wont even get a mention in my work, but understanding the man, might help me understand how that much money can be made… and what to do with it afterwards! – CA
Want To Make The Rich List? Join A Hedge Fund
I found this article whilst searching for Hedge Funds and Private Equity, which I know RA is linked to. CAOnly five private equity executives would break into the top 50 of the hedge fund managers U.K. rich list Imagine you are a careers adviser to a talented economics graduate from a top university looking to enter fund management – which industry should they enter to make the most money? Well, according to this year’s Sunday Times Rich List you are better off being a moderately successful hedge fund executive than almost anyone in private equity. For the second year running Russian-born financier Alexander Knaster, the chief executive and founder of hedge fund and private equity investor Pamplona Capital Management, is the wealthiest U.K.-based individual in the private equity industry with an estimated personal fortune of £1.1 billion. This places him in 77th position. He is followed for the second year by Rhône Capital co-founder Robert Agostinelli, who has £650 million and came in a 136. But after that, the other top figures in the private equity industry, who are mostly better-known, are way down the list. Not including Sir Ronald Cohen – who co-founded Apax Partners but is no longer involved in the industry – and his wife Sharon Harel, whose wealth of £220 million placed them 356th, Better Capital founder Jon Moulton is the next-highest ranked private equity figure. Mr. Moulton is ranked 465th with an estimated personal fortune of £170 million. To put this in context, Mr. Agostinelli would be the only private equity executive to make the top 25 of the richest hedge fund managers – Mr. Knaster is already on the list – where Alan Howard of his synonymous outfit Brevan Howard tops the rankings with £1.5 billion. It is not all bad for the private equity millionaires. With the exception of Terra Firma’s Guy Hands, who with his wife Julia came 859th on £90 million which down £3 million and 46 places on last year, each of them rose the rich list rankings. The next-best placed private equity figure was Simon Borrows, the 3i chief executive who made his money in a previous career in banking. He was 473rd with £169 million. After that secondaries guru Jeremy Coller of Coller Capital came in at 554 with £147 million and Richard Hanson, of Doughty Hanson fame, came in at 631 with £125 million. Other figures to make the top 1,000 included former Permira chief Damon Buffini, who was 777th with £100 million, and Hamilton Bradshaw’s James Caan, who was 824th with £95 million. But it is telling that only five of these private equity executives would break into the top 50 of the hedge fund managers rich list. Source: eFinancialNews
Rhone Group – Preqin Announces the Most Consistent Performing Private Equity Fund Managers in 2014
Now this should help me a lot as Robert is the Managing Director of Rhone. – CAExtract: Key Findings:
- Four buyout managers achieved the best possible score of 1.00: Altor, based in Sweden, and Rhone Capital, Trilantic Capital Partners and Wynnchurch Capital Partners, all of which are based in the US. Rhone Capital and Trilantic Capital Partners are new entries to the league table this year.
- Five venture capital fund managers have achieved the best score of 1.00: Pittsford Ventures Management, Sequoia Capital, Benchmark Capital, OrbiMed Advisors and Union Square Ventures, all of which are headquartered in the US. Union Square Ventures is a new entry in 2014.
- Only one fund of funds manager has achieved the best average score of 1.00 in 2014: Nordea Private Equity based in Denmark. The manager is advised by North Sea Capital Copenhagen.