Jim Chanos

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Jim Chanos
Born (1957-12-24) December 24, 1957 (age 63)
Known forShort selling
Notable work
Founder of Kynikos Associates, LP

James Steven Chanos[1] (born December 24, 1957) is an American investment manager. He is president and founder of Kynikos Associates, a New York City registered investment advisor focused on short selling. A noted art collector, he appeared on the BBC Four documentary The Banker's Guide to Art.

Early life and education[edit]

James Steven Chanos was born in 1957 into a Greek immigrant family living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that operated a chain of dry-cleaning shops.[2] He graduated from Wylie E. Groves High School and received a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale University in 1980.[3][4]

Personal life[edit]

Mr. Chanos lives in New York City with his four children. He is currently a lecturer in finance and a Becton Fellow at the Yale School of Management, where he teaches a class on the history of financial fraud.[5] He is also the president of the board of trustees of The Browning School and serves as a trustee at the Nightingale-Bamford School and the New-York Historical Society.[6]


Chanos began his career at brokerage firm Gilford Securities in 1982. While at Gilford, he performed a cash-flow analysis and made a sell recommendation that ultimately exposed Baldwin-United, which filed for bankruptcy in 1983.[7] Shortly thereafter, Chanos was recruited to Deutsche Bank, where he analyzed Michael Milken’s junk bonds and Drexel Burnham Lambert.[8]

After working as an analyst in several firms, Chanos founded Kynikos (Greek for "cynic") in 1985 with $16 million,[9] as a firm specializing in short selling. One critical position he took at Kynikos was the shorting of Enron.[10]

He describes his investment strategy as "intensive research into stocks",[11] looking for fundamental failures in market valuation, from underestimated or unreported failings in the business or the market of a particular stock, followed by a substantial short position which he is willing to hold for quite a long time — perhaps an opposite echo to Warren Buffett's reputed "fundamentals+long stay" investment strategy.[12] Some have said his commitment serves as whistle-blowing more than do most speculations, as in his heavy shortselling of such companies as Baldwin-United and Enron Corporation.[8]


Correct bet on Enron collapse[edit]

Chanos gained notability as a short seller when he predicted the fall of Enron before it filed for bankruptcy in 2001;[9] he was a short seller of Enron throughout 2001, increasing his short position as more information surfaced. Kynikos profited from the trade.[13]

Prediction on Chinese real estate crash[edit]

Chanos is a long-time skeptic of the future of the Chinese economy. He became bearish after starting to study China in earnest in the summer of 2009.[14] In September 2009 he went public with his pessimistic outlook on China. On CNBC Chanos said the Chinese miracle economy was "getting harder and harder to believe", predicting the country would head the way of the "old Soviet Union".[15] In January 2010, the New York Times referenced Chanos making a prediction of an impending Chinese economic crash that would resemble "Dubai times 1,000 — or worse". Later on the Charlie Rose Show in April 2010 he maintained that China was on a "treadmill to hell" that would result in a crash caused by a "world class" property bubble.[16]

The Chinese real estate crash predicted in 2010 did not materialize and has caused financial media to question his investment wisdom. Bloomberg in a December 2017 article noted "Chanos has made wayward bets against U.S. stocks and China recently".[17] The Financial Times in an October 2017 article used his "Dubai times 1,000" quote an example of one of the "dire prophecies" about China’s real estate market that did not come true, demonstrating the subject was "tricky for foreign investors and experts to grasp".[18]

Chanos has pulled back on going short on China since his initial predictions. In an interview during a forum event hosted by Schechter Wealth in December 2017, he said "in the past few years...we've reduced our China short and our global fund to the lowest it's been".[19]

Luckin Coffee[edit]

Chanos took and closed a short position on Luckin Coffee Inc. in 2020 on the advice of fellow short-seller Carson Block of Muddy Waters Research.[20] The stock dropped 70% in April 2020 after the company disclosed in a securities filing that its chief operating officer had fabricated about 2.2 billion yuan ($310 million) of reported 2019 sales.[20] Chanos remarked on CNBC, “How many times do investors have to be burned in these companies that are just too good to be true? Growing 40% to 50% a year, with all kinds of odd transactions with affiliates.”[20]

Wirecard AG[edit]

Chanos took and closed a short position on Wirecard AG. The stock dropped about 96% in June 2020 after the company's auditor EY disclosed that the company was missing about $2.1 billion. Chanos stated that he believes that Wirecard was never profitable.[21]

The Hertz Corporation[edit]

Chanos took and closed a short position on The Hertz Corporation. Chanos covered his short position prior to the Hertz bankruptcy. Chanos stated that he didn't believe that Hertz would survive the next recession.[22]


  1. ^ Porzecanski, Katia (October 13, 2017). "Jim Chanos's Short Hedge Funds Have Fallen This Year". Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on November 26, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  2. ^ "Jim Chanos Resource Page". ValueWalk. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  3. ^ "James Chanos Lecturer in the Practice of Finance". Yale School of Management. Archived from the original on January 10, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  4. ^ "James Steven Chanos: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". www.bloomberg.com. Archived from the original on January 14, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  5. ^ "James S. Chanos". Alliancebernstein. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  6. ^ "James Chanos". Yale School of Management. Archived from the original on September 21, 2020.
  7. ^ Lopez, Linette (December 12, 2011). "The Amazing Story Of Jim Chanos' First, Career-Making Short". BusinessInsider. Archived from the original on February 26, 2020. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  8. ^ a b Sherman, Gabriel (December 15, 2008). "The Catastrophe Capitalist". New York Magazine. Archived from the original on September 7, 2011. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
  9. ^ a b Chung, Juliet (September 16, 2015). "China Bear James Chanos Roars After Years of Losses". Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on September 20, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  10. ^ James Chanos (2002). Anyone could have seen Enron coming: Prepared witness testimony given February 6, 2002 to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. [1] Archived May 12, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Leder, Michelle (2003). Financial fine print: uncovering a company's true value. John Wiley and Sons. p. 35. ISBN 0-471-43347-0.
  12. ^ "The man who got China right". Archived from the original on May 19, 2018.
  13. ^ Petruno, Tom (January 20, 2002). "nts MARKET BEAT 'Short-Sellers' in Enron Finally Get Their Due". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 19, 2017. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  14. ^ Barboza, David (January 8, 2010). "Contrarian Investor Sees Economic Crash in China". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  15. ^ Bacani, Cesar (November 16, 2009). "China's Economic Recovery: Miracle or Mirage?". Time. Archived from the original on August 13, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  16. ^ "James Chanos interviewed by Charlie Rose". Archived from the original on April 15, 2010.
  17. ^ Welch, David (December 14, 2017). "Famed Short-Seller Jim Chanos Says Tesla Headed for 'Brick Wall'". Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on January 20, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  18. ^ Hancock, Tom; Wildau, Gabriel (October 19, 2017). "Chinese property boom props up Xi's hopes for the economy". Financial Times. Archived from the original on January 13, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  19. ^ "A Fireside Chat with Jim Chanos". ValueWalk. December 21, 2017. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  20. ^ a b c "Jim Chanos says he covered bet against China's Luckin Coffee amid 70% plunge Thursday". CNBC. April 2, 2020. Archived from the original on April 5, 2020. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 30, 2020. Retrieved June 30, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 3, 2020. Retrieved June 30, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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