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Cohodes wants to make sure the “old-school” craft gets passed along to a new generation of people with—he jokes—that “genetic defect” that makes them want to take on all of Wall Street.As the bounty hunters of the stock market, short sellers have uncovered some major failings over the years.In 2008 the hedge fund Cohodes worked at for more than two decades went out of business under controversial circumstances.
Cohodes says he’s committed to exposing companies that he believes may be ripping off ordinary, unwary investors—“Joe Six-pack,” as he puts it. (They weren’t, according to Cohodes; one was a private home, another a massage parlor.) “I’m a pretty driven guy,” he says.
He retreated to his farm, where he recuperated by spending his days delivering eggs to San Francisco, cheering on the Oakland Raiders, and traveling to see a friend’s rock band, Collective Soul.
Besides, the vast majority of stocks were rising because of central bank stimulus, depriving him of ideal opportunities as a short seller. His time among the horses and chickens—outside the money management industry—may even have helped him return to the top of his game.
But let’s not dwell on Marc Cohodes’s pastured chickens, or his show-jumping horses, or even his homemade apricot jam that, on special occasions, San Francisco’s Una Pizza Napoletana puts on its pies in lieu of tomato sauce.
Some of the most respected people in the investing industry say that, dating back to the 1980s, nobody has had a better nose for sniffing out fraud than the 56-year-old Cohodes.
They spread false rumors to profit when stocks fall, a practice dubbed “short and distort” that has sometimes gotten them into trouble with regulators.