US pollster Frank Luntz was on CNBC earlier talking about some polling he has just done on attitudes to hedge funds.
Guess what: the focus groups were overwhelmingly negative towards them, wanted them regulated more, felt they contributed to Wall Street being stacked against the little guy.
Interestingly, he says the biggest critics were not Democrats and Biden supporters but Trump-types. Hedge funds, he said, have a PR problem.
CNBC played clips of some of the people speaking. Luntz said: “Pay attention – your industry is under threat, it’s under jeopardy. This is a wake-up call, listen to the voices of the people.”
Hedge funds in the UK, in so far as they have PRs, generally pay them to keep them out of the press, unless it is to promote a piece of philanthropy (invariably puffed in some society diary column).
Is this an opportunity for UK financial PRs? A few of them have specialised in hedge fund clients but even then the advice seems to be — “keep your heads down”.
When shares crash, there are always stories about which “short” funds made gazillions. They don’t tend to get past the business pages, but I wonder if just now the level of public anger about, well, everything, might be such that editors decide a few hedgies need a proper rinsing.
Hedge fund trade bodies sometimes speak up to say – we are not evil!
Maybe individual funds will need to start explaining themselves more often, and in public, before long.
Should the government save the beer and pub trade? I was unsure myself until today when Heineken cut 8000 jobs, nearly one in ten.
If massive brewers like that are struggling, the Dog & Duck has got no chance.
There are some good words in support of that idea here from Unite, the union, which does PR pretty well.