March 14, 2012

Felix Zulauf: excerpts from Interview

When you're doing your day-to-day work, what are you looking for? What is a day in the life of Felix Zulauf when he gets to the office?

Well, I'm a believer in cycles. I strongly believe that an economy -- all economies -- do not move in linear but in cyclical fashion. And so do financial markets. And my goal is to catch most of the up cycles and most of the down cycles, because assets are priced based on where we are in the cycle. So I do a lot of cyclical work. I do not moon cycle but the classic business cycle. There is the 3-5 year inventory cycle that they teach in basic economic theory, then there is the investment-related cycle which lasts 9 years. And then you have the 18-20 year real estate cycle and etcetera. I try to get a big picture of where the major economies of the world are moving and where the risks and pitfalls will be in the next six to 12 months. That's my work -- to find out where we are in the business cycle. And then I apply classic tools like monetary analysis, I do valuations because capital markets go from one extreme to the other. They never go in between and reverse to where they come from -- that's important to understand. Once it hits an extreme (like in 2000), it does not go to a new level in the historical range in terms of valuations and then goes back to overvaluation again. It always goes from overvaluations to undervaluations.

Felix Zulauf was born 1950, and is the owner and president of Zulauf Asset Management, a Zug, Switzerland-based hedge fund. Felix has worked in the financial markets and asset management for almost 40 years. Mr. Zulauf has been a regular member of the Barron's Roundtable for more than 20 years.