Super rare interview with Steve Eisman

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Super rare interview with Steve Eisman via Globe & Mail

Steve Eisman is one of the few money managers who predicted the U.S. subprime blow-up—and had the nerve to make gargantuan bets against it. His hedge fund was up more than 70% in 2008. Eisman is a key character in Michael Lewis’s The Big Short and is played by Steve Carell in the movie.

What’s it like being portrayed by a Hollywood star?

I think it’s a very good movie. And as far as his portrayal of me, it’s not 100%. What I would say is: Eliminate my sense of humour and make me angry all the time, and that’s the portrayal. It’s accurate enough, but it’s not really me.

We’re calling you an “investing legend.” What makes you a legend?

I’m flattered anybody would call me a legend. In some ways, my “fame” is an accident, due to the fact that my area of expertise became ground zero. I did the homework on my own sector, and it turned out that was the most important homework you could have done.

Post-crisis, is the financial system safer than before? Are the systemic risks gone?

If you read the newspapers, sometimes it feels like it could happen again, and from where I sit, that’s just not true. The regulators learned the hard way they were wrong, and they’ve done a lot to correct a lot of the problems. In 2001, Citigroup was levered 22 to 1. In mid-2007, it was levered 33 to 1. Today, it’s levered 10 to 1. The banking system probably hasn’t been this safe in my lifetime.

Is it hard to have a second act when you go through a once-in-a-lifetime event?

It’s not hard to have a second act. It’s just that the second act’s not going to be as exciting.

FUll article here

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