The Kaoboy of Convertible Arb with Michael Kao

We’ve said on this blog before that options are like playing 3D chess. Well then what does creating synthetic options via convertible bonds, equity positions, and bank debt play like??

Take a listen to this pod where we venture out of the futures/options space into credit, convertible bond, risk arb. Therefore, if you think you know how those hedge funds work… then you chat with someone like this who’s playing 4D chess while you’re playing checkers.

It’s @UrbanKaoboy on this episode, who’s ridden everything from ponies to draft horses to mustangs over his 30+ years in the investment game. Further, he was involved with commodities and derivatives at Goldman in the 90s, risk arb at Canyon Partners, and then opportunistic/value at his own fund Akanthos Cap Mgmt. Lastly, he decided to hang up his spurs and focus on running his own family office.

We’re talking with Michael Kao about

  • the credit culture in LA investment firms
  • trading the Goldman roll in commodities
  • how corporate debt = short puts and equity = long calls
  • the trading pits
  • finding long gamma in a short gamma arb strategy
  • convertible bonds
  • arb trade structures
  • Star Wars
  • pricing synthetic options
  • credit spreads blowing out
  • needing good marginability
  • Michael Saylor’s diamond hands
  • the potential train wreck that is MSTR’s balance sheet
  • and more.

This was a fascinating look into the mind of an opportunistic investor.


Find the full episode links for The Derivative below:


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