The Amaranth Collapse: What Happened and What Have We Learned Thus Far?

15 Pages Posted: 29 May 2015

See all articles by Hilary Till

Hilary Till

Premia Research LLC; EDHEC-Risk Institute; J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities, University of Colorado Denver Business School; Global Commodities Applied Research Digest

Date Written: July 31, 2007

Abstract

On September 18th, 2006, market participants were made aware of a large hedge fund’s distress. On that date, Nick Maounis, the founder of Amaranth Advisors, LLC, had issued a letter to his investors, informing them that the fund had lost an estimated 50% of their assets month-to-date. By the end of September 2006, these losses amounted to $6.6-billion, making Amaranth’s collapse the largest hedge-fund debacle to have thus far occurred.

There were (and are) many surprising aspects of this debacle. How could a well-respected hedge fund implode so quickly? Could this multi-strategy hedge fund really have become one big bet on winter natural gas prices? How could Amaranth have amassed such huge derivatives positions in natural gas, comparable in size to nationwide residual natural gas consumption, without any regulators noticing? Given the scale of Amaranth’s losses, why didn’t this debacle lead to wider systematic distress in the financial markets? That seemed to be a key worry following Long-Term Capital Management’s (LTCM’s) massive losses in 1998. Why didn’t that worry apply with Amaranth’s troubles? This paper will briefly cover each of these questions.

Keywords: Hedge fund, natural gas, derivatives market, futures market, regulatory

JEL Classification: G1, G18, G23

Suggested Citation

Till, Hilary, The Amaranth Collapse: What Happened and What Have We Learned Thus Far? (July 31, 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2611482 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2611482

Hilary Till (Contact Author)

Premia Research LLC ( email )

United States
312-583-1137 (Phone)
312-873-3914 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://customindices.spindices.com/custom-index-calculations/premia/all

EDHEC-Risk Institute

Nice
France

HOME PAGE: http://risk.edhec.edu/

J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities, University of Colorado Denver Business School ( email )

1475 Lawrence St.
Denver, CO 80202
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.business.ucdenver.edu/commodities

Global Commodities Applied Research Digest ( email )

J.P. Morgan Center for Commodities
1475 Lawrence Street
Denver, CO 80202
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.jpmcc-gcard.com/hilary-till

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