Thursday, August 29, 2013

Can A Hedge Fund Have A Heart?

(L-R) President Elect Sean M. Teaford, Guest Speaker Deepta Hiremath, President Dr. Sherman Leis. Photo by Past President Richard M. Trivane.

Anyone who has ever watched Shark Tank can recognize when someone has it and when someone doesn’t. Even with a great idea the entrepreneurial spirit is not always present. As soon as Deepta Hiremath began presenting yesterday at our Rotary meeting I could tell she had it.

Our guest speaker two weeks ago who spoke about the mortgage market and the potentially drastic changes on the horizon and how the process for people to get mortgages in the future will differ from today’s market. However, that doesn’t address the distressed mortgages and struggling families that are already in the marketplace and are trying to find a way to get their heads above water. This is where the focus of our discussion was yesterday.

Deepta owns and operates a real estate hedge fund by the name of King Peak LLC. While that term has fallen from favor in recent years there are still people out there running hedge funds that exemplify the four way test. Those people are not focused solely on the bottom dollar but are also looking for a mutually beneficial arrangement that is fair for all parties concerned. While the objective of any business is to be profitable it doesn’t mean you can’t help people along the way.

It is no secret that as a result of the crash in 2008, over-leveraged banks have been selling off second mortgages at drastic discounts in order to recoup guaranteed money which can be funneled back into the capital reserve. Who buys these mortgages? Debt collectors and entrepreneurs like Deepta.

While credit collectors will commonly flip the paper using high volume deals without any thought given to the lives and livelihoods that those mortgages represent, Deepta invests more than her money into these transactions. She invests her time, her energy, and her heart. Deepta focuses on the mortgages that commonly have the most devastating impact… second mortgages.

Due to the steep discount at which she purchased the paper, it opens up the opportunity to help and try to work with homeowners so that they can remain homeowners. She evaluates many of these mortgages on an individual and very personal basis and tries to find the best solution for everyone. Given the margins and the huge number of buyers, Deepta is almost guaranteed a profit. She doesn’t need to take the extra step but she does because she knows that what she holds in her hand is more than just paper.

It is part of the American dream to have the spouse, the house, and two and a half kids but sometimes we all need a little help to maintain that reality especially in these still trying times. As Rotarians we try to do right by others and ourselves every second of every day and while sometimes we may falter and show our human shortcomings it helps to have a business plan which helps us to live those principals. We can learn a lot from Deepta as well as other intelligent and driven entrepreneurs like her which will not just help to reinforce the Rotary principals but also as a reminder to ourselves of what can be done when we embody those principals.