Print Loss at Goldman Hedge Fund Racks Duo at Secretive Global Alpha By Richard Teitelbaum Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Mark Carhart looks out over the packed New York conference and tells investors that Warren Buffett has it all wrong. Carhart, 40, co-head of the quantitative strategies group at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., uses his July speech to poke fun at the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chief executive officer's penchant for investing in market-leading brands like Coca-Cola and Gillette. He cites study after study showing that big-name companies with high price-earning multiples or rapid growth rates make poor bets. Traditional stock pickers like Buffett, a fabled raconteur, do have one redeeming quality, Carhart jokes: ``They tell great stories.'' Carhart himself has a pretty good story to tell. Though he doesn't like to talk about it, Carhart is one of the world's most successful money managers, a mastermind behind Global Alpha, a $10 billion hedge fund for wealthy clients and employees of Goldman Sachs. In 2005, Carhart and co-manager Raymond Iwanowski, 40, notched a 51 percent gross return at Global Alpha. Posting that kind of gain requires taking risks -- and last year, Alpha lost 6 percent, its first deficit since 1999. Carhart, a former assistant professor of finance at the University of Southern California, helps oversee other hedge funds, four mutual funds and scores of separate accounts. In all, he and Iwanowski have $101.5 billion at their command. Carhart and Iwanowski use math-heavy trading tactics that fund consultant Sol Waksman likens to counting cards in a casino. The two lead a corps of computer-loving traders, statisticians and finance and economics Ph.D.s. Behind the Scenes Their team makes -- and sometimes loses -- millions of dollars a day. At the heart of their empire is Global Alpha, which generated about $700 million in fees for Goldman Sachs in fiscal 2006. This money machine hums mostly behind the scenes. Asked about the fund, Goldman spokeswoman Andrea Raphael declines to confirm even its name. Carhart and Iwanowski, friends since their days at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, oversee about 10 other Goldman hedge funds, too. Together, they trade everything from Japanese stocks to U.S. soybeans, to Israeli shekels. Global Alpha is part of the richest hedge fund empire the world has ever seen. Last year, Goldman Sachs eclipsed D.E. Shaw & Co. and Bridgewater Associates Inc. to become the largest hedge fund manager, with $29.5 billion in assets as of Dec. 31, according to Bloomberg and Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc., which tracks the industry. That figure excludes Goldman's proprietary-trading funds and its funds of hedge funds. Goldman Secrets Working out of a granite-and-glass office tower a few blocks from Goldman Sachs's Broad Street headquarters in lower Manhattan, Carhart and Iwanowski hunt for market variables called risk factors that often lead to excess investment returns, or premiums, according to people familiar with the fund. Some, such as a measure called the value premium -- the difference between the return of a group of stocks with high book values relative to their prices and that of a group with low book value-to-price ratios -- have been used by other money managers for years. Goldman Sachs has identified more than 20 new risk factors, which it doesn't disclose, even to its own investors. Carhart never reveals the secrets. Old friends and people who've invested in the fund say they're not really sure how it works. John Cochrane, one of Carhart's professors at the University of Chicago, says that based partly on what Carhart has told him -- not much, he admits -- Goldman Sachs has devised five or so proprietary risk factors for equity markets.