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What are the common H1B interview questions?

The following are some sample questions that can be asked at a H-1B visa interview. These questions are compiled from individual experiences posted in path2usa discussion forums. Since each case is different, expect some variation in these questions during your interview.Questions about your intent:What is the purpose of your trip to the United StatesDo you have any family in the United States?Why are you changing your Job?Why do you want to work in the US?Have you applied for visa for any other country?Do you know what is the living cost in the U.S. specific to the place where you are going?When are you planning to travel?How will you survive for the first month?Have you been to any other country before?If yes, how long was your stay there?Will you come back to India?When will you return to India?Why would you want to return to India?Is it your first H1B or visa revalidation?After the conclusion of your visa, what do you plan to do?Questions about your education and experience:Are you a student?Which university is your degree from?What was your thesis about?What is the difference between PL/SQL and SQL?What software you know? Do you have work experience with these?What courses did you complete in India?Show me your certificates.Show me your educational certificates and experience letters?Tell me about the jobs you have done, and your work experience.What is your highest educational qualification?Questions about your current job and company:How long have you been working?Where are you working currently?What is your current salary?What is your current role in the current company?Is it an Indian company you currently work for?Questions about your sponsoring company:What is the company you are going to work for in USA?Where are you going to work in US?Why are you joining [New Company]?How do you know this is a real company?When did you receive your offer letter?What will you be working on there? Is it an internal project?I need a client letter describing your work project.Tell me what do you know about [New Company]?When was the US company founded?How many rounds of interviews has the US company conducted?What is the name of your interviewer?What is the annual turnover of the company?Tell me about the project and the company (client) you will be working for?Can you give me the dates of your interview?Who are the clients for your U.S. company?What are the technologies you are working on?Who is the President/CEO of the U.S. company?What kind of projects is the U.S. company working on?How did you find out about this company?How did you contact the [New Company]?What is the current project you will be working on?What are your responsibilities and for which client are you going to work for?Do you have any proof from your new employer regarding your responsibilities?Do you have any company photographs?How long has the company been in the current location?How many employees does the U.S. Company have?What’s your designation in [Previous Company] and what's your designation in the [New Company]?Will you be working from [New Company] office or client's place?Can I see the Employee petition to USCIS and the Tax Returns of the Company?What is the salary you will get in USA?How many rounds of interviews did the U.S. company conduct?What are they? 4 rounds (2 technical, 1 HR, 1 manager interview)Can I see your client end letter and itinerary of services.

Why is the attrition rate so high at Amazon? Is it true that many people have seen employees crying at their desks while working at Amazon?

I have few friends in Amazon at Seattle WA and few in AWS at Dallas TX & Herndon VA.This answer is based on their experience as most of them don’t want to come forward and answer it(managers look at the social media activity of their team members). It’s been widely covered in the news media also about the overall working conditions at Amazon. Amazon’s culture is well known to outside world now, thanks to article like thisOutside world experience is not valued.Amazon as such doesn’t care about your outside experience. For example in AWS, they only care about AWS and nothing else. Managers just believe in numbers, they want you to do the certification - even AWS cloud practitioner. Some folks have 4–5 certifications but good for nothing. If any real customer problem do occur, these certification folks who just mugged the contents can’t help at all.Why not AWS Solutions Architect - Professional certification has some phases? Like first one just objective type questions, then some real life assignment to be done without referencing anything and then interview? It’s not real certifications.If AWS Solutions Architect - Professional certification is so good then why don’t these folks are ready to work in AWS Professional services?Squeezing the employees. Real long working hours. Amazon pays well but will extract almost 150%-200% for that salary.Let the team has infighting. Coworkers bitch about each other. Managers use coworkers against each other. Coworkers are encouraged to provide feedback about each other to the managers. Even in the departments which are doing highly technical work - hierarchy of manager is kept. These managers love that coworkers are having issues with each other so that their role is relevant.No place for old men. Amazon wants only younger employees. Average age of employee is 31 years. They look for ways to kick out older workers. Amazon is always monitoring the employees when they are at work and also outside of work. You will be shocked to hear that every employee’s insurance is also monitored. It won’t be a mere coincidence that employee’s who have very high insurance expenses are booted out as Amazon want to keep it’s contribution to employee health insurance the minimum. Employees who take more vacations are also prone.No place for injured or disabled or sick employees. Amazon is a fine weather friend. The moment somebody is injured due to work place injury there is every possible effort to deny the worker’s compensation and then lay off the employee for any other reasons. Only on paper amazon states that we accommodate employee’s work restrictions. Don’t believe what i am saying then refer this Nicholas Stover, Fired Amazon Worker With Crohn's Disease, Files Suit Over Bathroom BreaksRather than firing make them leave. Amazon doesn’t fire but believe in constructive discharge. Amazon top management(supervisor) with the help of HRBP will make your life miserable so that you leave that place.Benefits as bad as policies. Worst benefits. For very first year - only 2 weeks of vacation and 1 week of personal days. In Texas, they dropped the Worker’s compensation and got Amazon TXCare - which is the worst workers compensation. Texas state allows employers not to offer workers compensation or offer a worker’s compensation plan which is not following Texas Department of Insurance. Amazon read this rule very well and introduced Amazon TXCare which is funded and administrated by Amazon only in order to save money(and to make Jeff Bezos even richer). The rules are all made for Amazon. When employees sees that this kind of policies are there, they would prefer to leave. Amazon TXCare has limited number of providers - only triage based diagnosis at urgent care center. No specialist. Aim is to say no to the employee’s work injury. There is no real appeal process. Now way employees can reach out to Texas Department of Insurance and can get an attorney. This makes it easy for Amazon in Texas and that’s why due to these kind of policies they are growing at Texas. No Amazon Prime for employees. Only $100 discount for the first $1000 shopping for the items sold by 3rd party). Medical, Dental, Vision plans are not at all in line with Microsoft or Google etc.. Heard that during vacation also employees are working.Diversity numbers sucks. Lack of diversity. Apart from lack of diversity, there are often discrimination and unfair treatment by supervisors to employees. HRBP, Employee relations, SVP Beth, CEO doesn’t listen or come for the rescue of the employees. Overall treatment for a non white non American origin employee is bad. Employee relations investigations are good for nothing - mere cover up to collect data to avoid lawsuit in future.Lack of diversity. Either too many white men or Asian Indians. Other races and national origin are almost missing.Long working hours. Too much working hours. Almost 11–15 hours of work per day is very normal in Amazon.Don’t count on stocks. Stock options are given in such a way that very first year - 5%, 2nd year - 15%, then every 6 months 20% vesting. 401K vesting is 3 years. Amazon just contributes 2% to the employee’s contribution. One can understand that Amazon is using AWS Sagemaker or Forecast to observe that most of the employees leave before 1 year so the rules are made this way only. Only shareholders and Jeff Bezos is becoming rich and everybody else is getting poorer. Will Amazon be okay if sellers just pay for any item they were able to sell and only pay 5% price in first year, then 15% in next year and then 20% for every 6 months? So how the stock vesting is justified then? You can compare the stock vesting of Apple, Google, Salesforce and others…they vest 25% stocks every year. They want employees to stay and don’t punish the employees who are leaving early. Amazon on the other hand knows very well that due to bad policies and bad treatments - more than 50% employees will leave in the very first year so cap the stock vesting to only 5%. And worst thing, if anybody goes for parental leave or short term disability or long term disability then the stock vesting and 401K vesting stops. So there is no empathy for any sick employee or employee taking care of sick.Why first year only 5% stock vesting? As amazon knows very well most of the employees(around 55%) will leave in the very first year. Other companies like google, apple etc….has 25% stock vesting every year not like 5% in first year then 15% in 2nd year and then 20% each 6 months.Leadership principals. Amazon has leadership principals like frugality(being cheap), disagree and commit etc…but they don’t have any leadership principals which talks about ethics, morals, integrity, honesty etc…Poor quality hires. In AWS I heard that good number of US Masters degree Asian Indians has joined the company. All these folks were not good when they did undergraduate in India(from private engineering colleges as their parents bought that degree for them and even after that they were unemployed) so came to USA for 2nd chance. Amazon took them even if they were doing MS from mediocre schools. You won’t find bright folks in AWS Enterprise support. It’s very political organization. Employees who are honest and outspoken are simply kicked out of the organization. There is a great culture to boot lick the manager in AWS Enterprise support.Connections surveys are monitoring the individual employees. There are connections survey every day. In this survey manager is getting feedback from the team and team get the overall feedback. It’s about checking the pulse of the 2 pizza size team. None of my friends has ever heard of the bad ass manager being terminated due to this connections survey. In fact connections survey knows which team member answered what option and records the IP/MAC address. Team members are constantly watched based on their responses and other activity. It’s very much prison kind of situation.Large number of lawsuits against Amazon. Amazon is sued multiple times by employees, vendors, customers, partner every day. Though amazon talks about customer obsession. Jeff Bezos simply forgot that if you take care of employees then employees will take care of the customers. Some EEOC lawsuits against Amazon are:Amazon Class Action Says Company 'Thins the Herd' with Age Bias | Top Class ActionsThree Amazon workers allege discrimination at Shakopee warehouseAmazon Sued for Employment DiscriminationNicholas Stover, Fired Amazon Worker With Crohn's Disease, Files Suit Over Bathroom BreaksOne of the current lawsuits Fired Amazon worker sues over pandemic working conditionsManager is always right. Rather than doing any action against the bad manager, it’s always the employee which is beaten up and asked to leave. Hardworking employee can find a job elsewhere and he/she receives few months of severance. In the end Amazon is slowly and slowly increasing number of it’s enemies.More than 50% employees leave during the very first year. At an average more than 50% employees leave amazon within the very first year. They don’t care about the stocks or the reminder of the year sign on bonus.In Amazon it’s not important what you know but whom you know is very important.Raise the bar. During the interview process, Amazonians always tries to find someone who is better than 50% of the existing work force. They call it as “raise the bar”. As per the guidelines, interviewers should treat everyone respectfully as some way or the other, everybody is the customer. But that’s not the case. During my AWS TAM position interview, I got questions only on networking. I have rated myself 2/10 on networking and rated 6 or 8 in other areas. Then why can’t they have the right interviewer for me? Later when i asked my friends who are already working they stated that almost 80% AWS TAMs are from networking, hardware, infrastructure, System Administration or DevOps background(not from Software OR Product development) and that is the reason why the interview process is so screwed up. I can witness the same in all the AWS certifications - one need to have broad level knowledge not in-depth of anything. I was not told about my interview results even after 6 months. Moreover if you are hiring better than reminder of the 50% - then why these folks leave or asked to leave within the very first 1 yr?Amazon is very centralized. More than 600K employees world wide. They should divide the company in more meaningful entities. But they are not doing it. Some reasons - Jeff Bezos want to have control. Even after his divorce, he kept the voting rights with him. Other reasons - to gain benefits in taxes, still be called H-1B independent employer in USA (less than 15% workforce on H-1B - it’s false as AWS has more than 15% workforce on H-1B visa) etc… It’s the real problem like USSR in late 70’s - too big to manage.Too much dictatorship from top management-every effort to suppress worker unions. Jeff Bezos never let Amazon employees form a union. Every attempt is done by management to suppress unions. Managers are tyrant. Employees should feel lucky if they are having good manager. There is no appeal process for any bad treatment by managers. Ethicspoint is a total joke - it’s just a way for the company to collect data from the employee so that company can prepare itself for future lawsuit. Bad managers are rewarded. Now when Joe Biden is going to be the president - there are high chances of worker unions as in the case of google - where Tech workers formed the union. Now think of forming a union in IT department of Amazon or AWS -where employer/managers encourages in fighting among the employees - they want employees to rip each other out. When amazon warehouse workers initiated union process in USA, amazon is creating obstacles like in-person voting during COVID-19 to some how delay the entire process. And to suppress Alabama unionizing efforts - they are influencing workers to vote against the unions. Influencing workers to vote against the union. Even before a single vote was cast, the union push had garnered national attention and support from figures ranging from Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders to a group of 50 Congresspeople who sent a letter Friday urging Amazon's outgoing CEO, Jeff Bezos, to "treat your employees as the critical asset they are, not as a threat to be neutralized or a cost to be minimized."Amazon want to do things at very fast rate but with lots of flaws. Just 3 months back AWS datawarehouse offering Redshift has some major bugs. Google about Redshift bugs. AWS is too much hype - they tell everything in the world about a particular offering even when it’s not ready. Sagemaker is right now having a demo project of fraud detection which was done by every onPrem Hadoop vendor 4 years back. Result of this quick and dirty work - too much support work that requires lot of co-ordination and documentation. Engineers don’t like this kind of environment and thus leave.AWS never tells about profit margin - no transparency. Every AWS Enterprise Support customer pays at least $15K per month to get the support from AWS(very junior support engineers from South Africa, India and other geographies are working for them). AWS is never willing to share the profit margins with any enterprise customer about the AWS enterprise Support. Unnecessary organization hierarchy is being created on the AWS enterprise support due to this high margins. This unnecessary organization hierarchy rather than helping or supporting the engineers sometimes misuse their authority to satisfy their king size ego. The top level managers travel a lot for their airlines mileage points while not ready to provide basic amenities to the engineers. As good number of these engineers are on OPT or H-1B visa, they are stuck at AWS otherwise the attrition may be even higher. Does AWS ever provides their customers - what is the profit margin? All the enterprise support cases are handled by CSE or even by CSA(without any monitoring of CSEs)Silent Layoffs More than half dozen TAMs/Sr. TAMs are being laid off from AWS Austin TX during year 2019. Why? Because supervisor was not liking their personality. Rather than laying off 6+ TAMs/Sr. TAMs why not lay off the culprit supervisor? Amazon says that we don’t fire or layoff the workers but ask them to leave. Asking them to leave is worse than laying off and firing the employees as such a bad situation is created so that employee can’t even survive in the company.Supervisor and HR has own interpretation of Employee policies Employee Handbook/Policies are ever changing and everybody has their own interpretation. HR and Supervisors keep on using these words about policies and guidelines “it depends”, “it will be dealt case by case basis” etc…When somebody questions then Supervisors will quote the Leadership principal “disagree and commit”.Good for nothing ERC. Any benefit related issues, it’s ERC(Employee Resource Center) which is dealing with that. ERC is all outsourced work force in India. They start working from your 11 pm EST time and have no objectives at all. ERC hires worst quality of resources in India who has no knowledge of Global laws and definitely no ownership or accountability.Wrong doing but not admitting. When a supervisor is against the employee and want to do the constructive discharge. That supervisor uses all the might to get help from HR, Employee relations, top management etc…All these folks keep on telling lies but they believe that if “1000 people tells a lie it becomes truth”. This is how any dissent or dissatisfaction among the employees is dealt with. Result employees leave for ever. They tell others and anybody still joins Amazon, they are only interested in making money, get the tag and then leave.Overall quality of work is very bad. Please refer AWS samples and AWS Labs. Only on paper everything is working. Tryout any solutions from them which were released just a month back. Most of the times, it won’t work. Refer to # of issues and pull requests, there is no action for them. Only to get name and fame, some of the folks publish these repositories with no ownership after that.Amazon growth but in negative direction. How many folks are aware that Amazon tried to launch a search engine as well as Smart phone. Both are major flops. Now CEO is trying to compete with Elan Musk’s SpaceX and going to waste all the money. Why not the same money is being used to make better conditions for warehouse and other workers who are toiling so hard?HR cannot be trusted. One of the my friend who left Amazon told me that never ever trust HRBP and Human Resources Employee relations in Amazon. These folks are agents of evil supervisors.Very less vacations. Amazon Corporate has only 6 holidays. They provide 6 personal days and advertise it a lot. Essentially it’s just 2 personal days(10–6 = 4 national holidays). During the very first year there are only 2 weeks of holidays.Is it day one or year one? Jeff keeps on stating it’s day one culture. But essentially it’s year one culture. Most of the rules in Amazon are kept such a way that any employee who left in the first year is a total loser. He/she gets only 5% stock vesting, no 401K vesting, not the bigger vacation chunk. Remember Amazon doesn’t pay you for personal days(if not used) when you are terminated. All the policies are made in favor of the employer and Amazon know very well more than 50% people are not going to stay beyond 1st year.Very bad treatment after termination. How good or bad a company is, it depends a lot how they treat you on the last day/week? Trust me not even a single Amazon employee I have come across was treated fairly - no matter the employee was good or bad? Employees are human beings and not some items in the shopping cart that Amazon is comparing one line item with another and removing/adding into the cart.Wages not being paid, employees has to earn it via lawsuits. Somebody posted in one of my questions that Amazon and it’s subsidiaries doesn’t even pay their employees. Look at various state department of labor websites. Somebody who complained stated that rather than paying the back wages for the employee, AWS hired private attorney who might be paid 5X or 10X times of the actual back wages amount. Just to save false ego, Amazon can go to any extent.More than 79% amazon employees don’t like the HR. And this is the official survey about Amazon’s HR. Yes, Connections results are conducted every day but it’s not to take action against the bad supervisors and bad policies but to finger point the employees who are providing real feedback(to boot them out). Every connection survey records the MAC ID and other details which can help to identify which employee stated what?Leadership principals are interpreted by supervisors and HR in their own way. If “disagree but commit” is a valid leadership principal then why terminate the employees and put them into pivot? Manager and HR should commit for long term relationship of employee and employer even when they disagree(that employee is not perceived to be doing good which is not true in most of the cases). Internal reports states that once somebody is put on performance improvement plan or pivot - more than 99% cases they are booted out. There is no appeal process.Forcing workers to work even during the COVID-19 crisis just for profitabilityExtreme retaliation against the workers who raises their voice. Chris Smalls and several others.First discrimination followed by retaliation. It’s very common in Amazon and it’s subsidiaries that first the company would like to discriminate for whatever reasons. Expectation from the employee is to tolerate it. But if the employee speaks up then retaliation will start. Many such cases like thisKilling the competition. And this is how Amazon kills the competition. When Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more Inc.’s venture-capital fund invested in DefinedCrowd Corp., it gained access to the technology startup’s finances and other confidential information. Nearly four years later, in April, Amazon’s cloud-computing unit launched an artificial-intelligence product that does almost exactly what DefinedCrowd does, said DefinedCrowd founder and Chief Executive Daniela Braga. So literally they are following the HBO’s silicon valley serial where some crooked company steals the secret from others while asking for the presentation.Stack Ranking, Pivot, the Dev List, Performance Improvement plans, forced attrition, and being managed out. These are the real reasons. I’ve personally heard horror stories from top employees who have had their managers create document-able lies about their performance, force them into unattainable performance reviews, and essentially create a hostile work environment which forces them to quit. This is 100% illegal. Amazon knows it and settles these cases all the time. Hiring managers and talent scouts need to be more up front about the risks associated with working with Amazon. Employees are pitted against each other. Employees vent out on each other on the daily basis. Refer this about the devlist. Employees are not even aware that they are on devlist. Generally managers deliberately put the employees on devlist whom they believe could leave the group. This way manager blocks the employee to get into some other group. Then this manager squeezes this employee(on devlist) like anything. This is called modern day slavery.Mediocre Employees being hired. In fact if you go thru all the profiles of folks working in AWS. You will find a pattern:Majority of them in USA are Asian Indians with Masters. These folks were kids of rich parents who bought them Engineering degrees from mediocre private engineering colleges on payment seats. Later these folks did MS only for 20K H-1B quota. They were not interested in Masters or Advanced degree but just eyeing for H-1B visa.As they are on H-1B, they will stay as Amazon is the largest Green card sponsor company in USA now. They don’t like Amazon but they will stay here just for their green card processing.All these folks had a very short term tenure in their prior jobs like not even a single company where they had worked for 2, 3, 4 or 5 years. But in AWS they are sticking for more time. What one can derive from this?and it’s a vicious cycle - first H1B visa(1st year), then Green card processing(2nd year) and then wait till the 4th year for stock vesting. See what Ronil Hira testified in front of the senate committee about H-1B visa and L-1 visa displacing US workers. It’s multi generation Asian Indian talking about how H-1B and L-1 are systematically replacing US workers and companies save millions of $$$. Needless to say AWS is on the brink of “H-1B dependent employer” as they have 12% of their work force which is H-1B visa.they are not here for any Amazon’s leadership principal like customer obsession or working backwards but simply for their own personal gains.Hearty welcome when you come in and we will show you our colors when you want to go out. When employees get in - they are made to realize that you are lucky to get a job out here. But when the employees are kicked out - they receive the worst possible treatment. Same is the case how Amazon and AWS behaves when dealing with others. For example it’s very difficult to get out of amazon prime membership and return the items once you bought from . Similarly AWS is very nice when you are bringing your workload and data to them but when you want to go out of AWS - they will rip you off.Amazon management keeps an eye on the workers always. Do you know that if you are using Kindle(device or app on Windows or Android or IoS platform) Kindle collects all the data and send it amazon? why? Well Amazon has the answer - we are collecting data for some statistics. Same with Alexa in your home. And you wonder if Amazon is trying to keep an eye over the consumers - well they were doing this for decades in the work environment also. Just to suppress unionizing and other efforts, amazon had surveillance.Even after leaving Amzon - the company will haunt you. Read this. AWS/Amazon constantly harassed him. It’s employment at will in USA and amazon often uses this to fire employees. But employee leaves them they have an issue. Amazon truly believe in modern day slavery. Shit always flows from top. This is what Mr. Jeff Bezos did once he was caught cheating with his wife.Opposing unionization at all cost. Just to oppose unions, Amazon made sure that there are in-person voting for Alabama union election even during COVID-19/pandemic era. Management in fact reached out to the workers to stay out of union by voting against it.Stealing wages from the workers. FTC recently found Amazon intentionally took money from drivers paycheck and then fined Amazon regarding the same.Fighting with others - all over the world. In India(2nd biggest market after China), Amazon is using all it’s war machine to defeat Reliance by hook and crookAmazon fight with almost all the state/federal agencies even when most of the time they are wrong. For instance in case of US Alabama warehouse workers, amazon deliberately insisted on in-person voting during COVID-19. At one side Amazon writes to new president elect Joe Biden to have Vaccines their employees and distribute the vaccines which may look at the external world and their ignorant employees that they do care about the employees but it’s just the opposite. If Amazon really cares about the employees why they are so dogmatic in terms of in-person voting for Alabama warehouse workers and which was finally refused by NLRB. Is Jeff Bezos and Andy Jassy going in-person to their office? Then why ask the warehouse workers for in-person voting? NLRB understood these dirty tricks of Amazon’s management and realized that it’s nothing but to thwart unionization of the workers and allowed mail in votes by workers during COVID-19.That’s show the overall double standards of Amazon.New York Attorney General sues Amazon, alleging 'deficient' Covid-19 response. How well Amazon handled spread of COVID-19 in Amazon? Even New Attorney General’s office has to sue amazon for that. These kind of agencies generally try to avoid suing others.Amazon can go down to any extent to suppress worker’s dissent. In order to suppress Unionization in Alabama, Amazon changed traffic light timing during union drive As part of its ongoing fight over an Alabama warehouse’s efforts to unionize, Amazon reportedly changed the timing of a traffic light outside the warehouse, according to reporting by More Perfect Union. Union organizers at the site had previously accused the company of altering the timing so that pro-union workers would not be able to canvass workers while stopped at the light. Until recently, the altered timing on the traffic light outside the factory had been dismissed as a rumor. But More Perfect Union confirmed with Jefferson County officials that last year, Amazon notified the county of traffic delays during shift changes and asked for the light to be changed. On December 15th, the county increased the green light duration in an effort to clear workers off the worksite faster. There’s no indication that the county was aware of the ongoing organizing drive or any effect the traffic light changes might have on the effort.Who is worse - President Trump or Amazon? Look at the article at nytimes . Just the way President Trump tried to undermine voting in the 2020 elections, same is the approach of Amazon regarding union elections in Alabama.Amazon going to any extent to stop the unionization effort. Refer to this article which talks about why unions are necessary in large employers like amazon which does everything to exploit the workers. Amazon is running a website to sabotage the unionization efforts.Amazon is putting cameras in its delivery vans and some drivers aren't happy. Delivery driver's work environment is set to change as Amazon announced this month that it has begun to roll out cameras inside its delivery vehicles that monitor both the road, and its drivers."If one thing messes up, I'm going to freak out," Elizabeth told CNN Business. "That's my job, it's over. They're going to see it on camera." Amazon is going further and embracing cameras consistently pointed at drivers, which rely on artificial intelligence to voice real-time feedback. Drivers will get real-time warnings if they run a stop sign, tailgate, or are distracted.Amazon drivers say negative experiences with the company's existing driver monitoring system contribute to their concerns.Victor Fuentes, an Amazon driver in California, has said on YouTube that he hates the cameras, as he sometimes needs to bend or break rules to get his work done quickly. For more, refer this. The decision sparked some backlash, and one driver told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the policy change had driven him to quit, calling it an invasion of privacy. In the report about a driver quitting as a result of this new system, the former employee saw the system as a "sort of coercion." Amazon has faced controversy over claims of surveillance in the past. In January of this year, more than 200 workers signed a petition sent to the CEO Jeff Bezos asking for an end to what the employees called "labor surveillance" ahead of unionization efforts.Amazon Executive Fired After Upgrading Flight. It's very common for any long hours flight(if it is more than 8 hours duration) to fly in business class or something more than a bare minimum economy class. But Amazon fired it's executive, Marc Sadeghi(Global head of visual effects for Amazon Studios) when he upgraded his 14 hours long flight to New Zealand. After return from his trip, HR told him that his assistant had made complaint against him for something that he is not even aware of(of course HR in Amazon is really good in making up the things) and fired him. Just think of this company Amazon, if they can fire Global head level executive, how they are treating other low level workers who have no voice or recourse or access to legal system. Amazon Executive sued amazon after this. Recording some other employee in Amazon is not allowed as per the policy but here HR used the recording from the assistant to make a case against this executive. Every terms and conditions are twisted by Amazon in it’s own favor.AMZN’s work culture is atrocious. Boys club, PIPs out the wazoo, and general penny pinching. If Bezos could treat the VPs and Engineers the way he treats warehouse workers without mass quitting, he would.The NYT article from a few years ago is accurate and nothing has changed.Not good for Blacks or African American communities. More than a dozen current or former employees at Amazon's corporate headquarters say they witnessed systematic disadvantages for Black and underrepresented workers, according to Recode. The tech news website quoted an Amazon diversity manager, who said: "We struggle to bring [Black] folks in because there's not a whole lot of desire, in my opinion, to go outside of our normal practices." Once inside the company, those employees sometimes had difficulty advancing, the manager told the outlet. For more information, please refer thisAmazon hit with federal suit alleging race and gender discrimination. The suit was filed by Charlotte Newman, a Black woman who joined Amazon four years ago as a public policy manager and currently works as head of underrepresented founder startup business development at Amazon Web Services.The suit says Newman originally applied for a higher-level job but was hired on as public policy manager.“Within months of starting at the company, she in fact was assigned and doing the work of a senior manager-level employee while still being paid at and having the title of the manager level. To make matters worse, and in defiance of the anti discrimination laws, Ms. Newman was paid significantly less than her white coworkers, particularly in valuable Amazon stock," says the suit. For more info, refer thisFinally Jeff Bezos will be paying some income taxes but look at the overall income disparity in Amazon. Jeff Bezos would owe $5.7 billion in taxes for 2020 under the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act proposed by a group of Senate and House Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sanders, I-Vt., and others unveiled their proposed wealth tax, saying it would raise trillions in much-needed revenue and help reduce a wealth divide that has only grown wider during the pandemic. The tax would be a 2% annual levy on wealth over $50 million and 3% on wealth over $1 billion. Think how much Jeff Bezos is earning compared to what average Amazon worker earns(less than $15 per hour). Now Mr. Bezos will use his ditty tricks department to somehow not to pay this tax.Richest man but still the greediest. Now look at what happened to this lawsuit. Obviously anybody who is going to sue Jeff Bezos won’t be having this much money what Jeff Bezos is having. This greedy CEO asked for too much in damages. Even the Judge found that it’s unreasonable. Jeff Bezos wanted $1.7 million in legal fees from his girlfriend’s brother for successfully fighting off his defamation lawsuit. He got much less. A Los Angeles judge awarded the world’s richest man $218,385, saying Amazon’s founder needlessly put too many lawyers on the case. Even though the defamation fight was more complicated than usual, more than 2,070 hours billed in the case were “not reasonable,”Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John Doyle said in a ruling on Friday.“This was not a matter that required seven partners and 11 associates,” Doyle said. Read hereAmazon expands gamification program that encourages warehouse employees to work harder. Amazon is expanding an existing program that gamifies warehouse work to encourage its fulfillment center employees to improve their efficiency and compete against others for digital rewards like virtual pets, according to a new report from The Information. The program is called FC Games, and it includes as many as six arcade-style mini-games that can be played only by completing warehouse tasks in the workplace. It’s been known since at least 2019 that Amazon uses gamification in the form of workstation games to try to incentivize employees to improve productivity, but The Information reports that Amazon is now expanding those methods to warehouses in at least 20 states throughout the country. Many of the games tend to be simple virtual representations of how fast the worker is completing a task. One, called MissionRacer, moves a car around a track while a picking employee sorts products into appropriate boxes, as reported by The Washington Post at the time. But how dare they trick their employees into having fun?Amazon employee testifying in US Senate to speak the truth about the working conditions at Amazon. An Amazon warehouse employee testified before the Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday about the "grueling" working conditions that led her and others to organize the milestone union election currently underway in Bessemer, Alabama. "Amazon brags it pays workers above the minimum wage. What they don't tell you is what those jobs are really like," said Jennifer Bates in her testimony. "We have to keep up with the pace. My workday feels like a nine-hour intense workout every day. And they track our every move -- if your computer isn't scanning, you get charged with being time-off-task," said Bates, a learning ambassador who helps train other workers at the facility and who has been a vocal organizer behind the union push. "From the onset, I learned that if I worked too slow or had too much time-off-task I could be disciplined or even fired." Amazon spokesperson denied Ms. Bates comments as usual. Mr. Jeff Bezos was also invited but he prefer to run away—he is bigger than Almighty God it seems.Black employees are paid less and have to wait more for promotion, another AWS employee sued Amazon. An Amazon employee filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the tech giant of deliberately paying her and other Black employees less than their White counterparts, becoming the latest on a growing list of current and former Amazon workers to accuse the company of systemic racism. In her complaint, Charlotte Newman, a 38-year-old Black woman who lives in Washington DC, said Amazon Web Services hired her four years ago to work as a public policy manager even though she had applied for and said she was qualified to work as a higher-level senior manager, a practice Newman suggests is routine."Many of Ms. Newman's colleagues observed a consistent practice of paying Black employees less than similarly situated White employees, and a near-total lack of Black representation in and very few women in the upper echelons of the group's leadership," Newman's attorneys wrote in the complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, DC.The complaint also accuses the company of "de-leveling" Black employees when they are hired — "dropping them a level below the job they applied and were qualified for or will be performing." This high profile case is right now in Federal court with jury trial.Another black employee left Amazon due to sad state of affairs. When Chanin Kelly-Rae started working at Amazon in 2019 as a global manager of diversity in the company’s cloud computing division, she had big ambitions for her new job. She had nearly two decades of experience leading diversity and inclusion efforts inside important institutions, like Washington state’s governor’s office, but she’d never worked at an influential global business leader like Amazon.But less than a year later, Kelly-Rae quit. Her tenure inside the company convinced her that Amazon’s corporate workplace has deep, systemic issues that disadvantage Black employees and workers from other underrepresented backgrounds. And she was dismayed by her perception that Amazon leadership was unwilling to listen to internal experts about how to identify and fix these problems. “Amazon was not doing things in a way that represents best practices that would advance diversity and inclusion in any way that is meaningful and thoughtful,” she told Recode. “Let me add: Amazon appeared to be taking steps backward instead of forward.”Amazon workers go on strike in Italy over labor conditions Amazon warehouse and delivery workers in Italy have gone on a 24-hour strike to call on the company to make changes to workloads, shifts and benefits. Trade unions FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL and Uiltrasporti said it’s the first strike to affect Amazon’s entire logistics operations in Italy.The strike comes as tensions have grown between Amazon and its front-line workforce in Europe and the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic. Warehouse workers in Italy and other parts of Europe went on strike last year to call on Amazon to implement greater coronavirus safety measures. Workers across the U.S. also participated in walkouts and protests last year to highlight similar concerns.Amazon delivery drivers have to consent to AI surveillance in their vans or lose their jobs. But after installing machine learning-powered surveillance cameras in its delivery vans earlier this year, the company is now telling employees: agree to be surveilled by AI or lose your job. As first reported by Vice, Amazon delivery drivers in the US now have to sign “biometric consent” forms to continue working for the retailing giant. Exactly what information is being collected seems to vary based on what surveillance equipment has been installed in any given van, but Amazon’s privacy policy (embedded below) covers a wide range of data.The data that drivers must consent to be collected includes photographs used to verify their identity; vehicle location and movements (including “miles driven, speed, acceleration, braking, turns, following distance”); “potential traffic violations” (like speeding, failure to stop at stop signs, and undone seatbelts); and “potentially risky driver behavior, such as distracted driving or drowsy driving.”Amazon removes workers from an internal directory as part of union busting. The new controversy centers on Amazon deleting the profiles of hundreds of thousands of entry-level warehouse employees.Last week, Amazon made changes to its internal online staff directory, deleting hundreds of thousands of entry-level warehouse workers’ profiles from a tool that allows any company employee to view the full names and photos of other employees.The employee directory in question is known as the Amazon Phone Tool, which allows employees of all levels to do things like search for other employees anywhere in the company, see where they work, and view the hierarchy of managers all the way up to Jeff Bezos. The tool also allows employees to create or accumulate virtual awards and icons for everything from making it through the peak holiday shopping season to acing a quiz about the company’s leadership principles. Previously, all entry-level warehouse workers — known as Tier 1 associates in Amazon parlance — had profiles in this directory and would turn up in search results. But as of last week, Amazon removed them.In Trumpian move, Jeff Bezos reportedly orders Amazon chiefs to hit back at critics and they are hitting back at elected representative like Senators also.The behavior of the Amazon News corporate account and of executive Dave Clark on Twitter over the past week, lashing out at prominent critics in an uncharacteristically spiteful and petty manner, calls that seemingly obvious proposition into question. Turns out there may be a good explanation for that. The boss may have taken matters into his own hands. As reported by Recode, Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, with enough money to do anything he could ever imagine besides this, appears to be behind the change in tone. And it’s not just the pugnacious style of the tweets that have a distinctly Trumpian echo, it’s also the motivation behind them: he doesn’t think the company is punching back hard enough at its critics.German union calls four-day strike at Amazon sites ahead of Easter. The trade union Verdi has called for workers at six Amazon sites in Germany to go on strike from Sunday evening for four days in the latest attempt to try to force the U.S. e-commerce group to recognize collective bargaining agreements.Amazon’s aggressive PR campaign ahead of union vote shows how worried it is, labor and antitrust experts say. Amazon is playing an aggressive defense against its critics as it stares down a historic union vote at one of its warehouses in Alabama. In recent days, Amazon has sparred with a handful of high-profile lawmakers on Twitter over its working conditions, tax policies and threats to break up Big Tech. The jabs came from Amazon’s official social media account, which counts close to 175,000 followers, and Dave Clark, the company’s consumer boss.Amazon Recruited Twitter Army to Defend Company and CEO Jeff Bezos, Leaked Document Reveals A leaked document reveals how Amazon recruited a number of ambassadors to defend the online reputation of the company and its CEO, Jeff Bezos. The Intercept published the internal document uncovering the secret project, which Amazon allegedly conceived in 2018 under the codename "Veritas." The 10-page dossier shares details of how the company handpicked employees, specifically those with a "clean HR record" and "great sense of humor," and then trained them to confront critics on social media and online forums in a "polite, blunt way.""To address speculation and false assertions in social media and online forums about the quality of the FC [Fulfillment Center] associate experience, we are creating a new social team staffed with active, tenured FC employees, who will be empowered to respond in a polite—but blunt—way to every untruth," reads the program summary. "FC Ambassadors ('FCA') will respond to all posts and comments from customers, influencers (including policymakers), and media questioning the FC associate experience." So much money to waste on army of attorneys and liars, why not amazon looks for ways to treat employees well and compensate them for their hard work?Amazon finally acknowledges delivery driver bathroom problem. Amazon acknowledged Friday that it has a looming problem.The web giant fessed up that its delivery drivers have limited access to bathrooms, meaning that accusations of them urinating in bottles or elsewhere in public are likely to be true.“We know that drivers can and do have trouble finding restrooms because of traffic or sometimes rural routes,” the online retail giant posted on its AboutAmazon portal. “And this has been especially the case during Covid when many public restrooms have been closed.” The admission comes following a Twitter spat with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) last month in which the congressman accused Amazon of being a union-busting operation that will “make workers urinate in water bottles.” So even now when Amazon acknowledged the issue but Amazon is still blaming COVID-19 which made Amazon and Jeff Bezos ultra rich.'Harsh' and 'Heartless': Amazon's Automation Is Causing a Spike in Employee Lawsuits An inability to reach an agreement with the company on accommodation of a work-related injury or health issue is a common thread in many of the Amazon suits. Lawyers who’ve litigated against Amazon said a recurring issue in the employment litigation is the anonymous, bureaucratic face the company presents in its dealings with employees who seek answers on such workplace issues as disability leave. And that’s due in part to the high level of automation in the human resources department, those lawyers said.The National Labor Relations Board found Amazon illegally fired workers who criticized warehouse conditions. The National Labor Relations Board has reportedly determined that Amazon last year illegally fired two employees who spoke out publicly against warehouse conditions and pushed the company to address climate change. The agency told the employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, that it would accuse Amazon of unfair labor practices if the online retail giant doesn't settle the case, reported The New York Times on Monday, citing correspondence shared by Cunningham. Amazon fired the two tech workers in April 2020 after they spoke out publicly against warehouse conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. User experience designers Cunningham and Costa, both active members of the advocacy group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, had offered match donations up to $500 for warehouse workers, citing insufficient protections.Unfair labor practices by Amazon. Amazon pressed USPS to install a mailbox outside the warehouse to defeat union move. The union has complained about the mailbox, which the Postal Service installed just before the start of mail-in balloting for the union election in early February. It has argued that the mailbox could lead workers to think Amazon has some role in collecting and counting ballots, which could influence their votes.Worker died then Amazon lied. Jody Rhoads was a 52-year-old mother and breast cancer survivor in Carlisle, PA. Her neck was crushed by a steel rack while she was driving a forklift in an Amazon warehouse, killing her. “We do not believe that the incident was work related,” an Amazon manager reported to the federal government, falsely suggesting her death was from natural causes. Refer Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America by Alec MacGillisAmazon wrongly brags about minimum wages and responsible for economic inequality. MacGillis tells the story of three generations of Bodani men who worked in the Sparrows Point steel mill, near Baltimore. The youngest, William Bodani Jr., was making $35 an hour in 2002 (about $52 in today’s dollars), along with bonuses. That’s enough for a solid middle-class income.With the steel mill gone from Sparrows Point, Bodani instead took a job at the Amazon warehouse that occupies the same land. He was in his late 60s at the time and was making a fraction of what he once had. Refer Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America by Alec MacGillisEven Jeff Bezos addressed concerns about the firm's treatment of its workers.In his final letter to shareholders as the company's chief executive, he addressed concerns about the firm's treatment of its workers.This is how Amazon won the rigged union election.Amazon "created the impression of surveillance" of the mailbox because it maintains security cameras in the parking lot, the filing states. Beyond the mailbox, the union alleged that prior to the start of the election, which began in early February, Amazon "agents" threatened that workers could lose benefits, including health insurance, or that the warehouse may even close if the union effort were successful. The company also allegedly emailed employees that it would have to cut thousands of workers because of the union. In its filing, the union also alleged that Amazon attempted to stifle some of its workers and union organizers through a variety of tactics, including selectively enforcing social distancing policies to crack down on employees discussing support for the union, and terminating a union-supporting worker for passing out union authorization cards in non-working areas. The union alleged this "had a chilling effect on support for the union." We won't let Amazon's lies, deception and illegal activities go unchallenged, which is why we are formally filing charges against all of the egregious and blatantly illegal actions taken by Amazon during the union vote," the statement said.AMZN board of directors want to hide most of the stuff about Amazon from general public. If you have any AMZN stock, you might be getting a voting email. Open that and you will find that Board of Directors(mostly white americans) want to hide most of the stuff about Amazon from general public. SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REQUESTING ADDITIONAL REPORTING ON GENDER/RACIAL PAY; SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REQUESTING A REPORT ON PROMOTION DATA; SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REQUESTING A DIVERSITY AND EQUITY AUDIT REPORT; SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REQUESTING AN ADDITIONAL REDUCTION IN THRESHOLD FORCALLING SPECIAL SHAREHOLDER MEETINGS; SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REQUESTING ADDITIONAL REPORTING ON LOBBYING; SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REQUESTING A REPORT ON CUSTOMER USE OF CERTAIN TECHNOLOGIES.Amazon and Jeff Bezos are bad losers just like Donald Trump. Jeff Bezos questioned when Department of Defense went to Microsoft Azure because MS Azure has better in built security and integration with the existing technologies/Infrastructure used by Department of Defense. Now Jeff Bezos' rocket company protests SpaceX's latest NASA contract. Blue Origin is pushing back on NASA's decision to hand a $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX to build the vehicle that will land the next astronauts on the moon. The move adds to a years-long battle between rocket companies owned by the world's two richest men: Jeff Bezos, who founded Blue Origin, and Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX. The dispute centers on NASA's Human Landing System, or HLS, program, which originally aimed to have at least two private-sector companies compete to build the spacecraft that will ferry astronauts to the lunar surface for the space agency's Artemis moon landing missions. But earlier this month, NASA made the surprise announcement that it would move forward with SpaceX as the sole contractor for the project, citing costs as a primary reason for the FULFILLMENT Winning and Losing in One-Click America

How does a fund of hedge funds conduct due diligence? This also applies to the ways fee investment advisers to evaluate the hedge funds into which they invest client money.

Short version: We turn over every stone, and keep turning before, during, and after an investment is made.Long version: I perform hedge fund due-diligence (DD) for family office and institutional investors so this topic is quite near and dear to me. I’m proud to have steered our clients away from several funds that turned out to either be fraudulent or blew up for operational reasons. We’re dealing with allocation sizes in the tens of millions so the stakes are obviously very high. I’ll try to be as detailed as possible but this will really only scratch the surface at best.There are several objectives to hedge fund DD (and it’s not all about making sure the manager isn't a Madoff.) It helps to recognize from the outset that each hedge fund is first and foremost a business, and for businesses to be successful they need to have a differentiated product, a repeatable process for creating that product, and as a potential client you need to evaluate your own need for the product. In other words, what is the manager's differentiating 'edge' (see Nate Anderson's answer to As a fund manager, what’s the best response to, "What is your edge?" when asked by a potential investor? I talk about the differentiated strategy approach and team experience. I’m not sure there’s a genuine structural edge in the investment business.), what is the process for exploiting that edge, and how does it fit into your portfolio?To answer these questions investors must gain a deeper understanding of all of the following: (a) the strategy, (b) the investment process, (c) the people involved in the fund, (d) the ‘business’ operations of the fund, and (e) the performance track-record.Initial ReviewTypically, the DD process starts with an initial document review to glean the basics and see if its worth taking the meeting. I generally start with the tearsheet, presentation, and recent investor letters. Every investor has their own limiting criteria, but depending on the investor some will pass right away due to factors such as:Size of the fund. Some investors want the sense of ‘safety’ from a large fund, while others prefer smaller funds due to their higher return potential. (My diligence is generally focused on smaller funds, which may have higher operational risk, so the research burden tends to be higher.)Undifferentiated strategy or an unfavorable strategy for the market environment.Lack of a track record. Many institutions and investors require 3 years of track-record or a ‘portable’ track record from a manager's previous firm in order to get comfortable with their historical ability to perform. Again, I have some investors who are comfortable being 'day-1' money which raises the due-diligence threshold.Poor relative or absolute historical performance.High volatility or large drawdowns.Poor quality of investor communication. The only thing that differentiates a 'black-box' from a transparent fund is communication. If the communication from managers is sparse or uninformative it is tough to get comfortable with a strategy. We generally like to see monthly performance updates with quarterly commentary. Anything more frequent may mean the manager is spending too much time writing, and anything less means we are in the dark for too long.Lack of credible third-party service providers (auditor, independent fund administrator, prime broker, legal counsel.) Third-party service providers are the checks and balances on a manager's operations. Investors do not get compensated for taking on unnecessary operational risks, so if we don't see auditors, administrators, and prime brokers in place we will pass immediately.MeetingIf the manager passes our initial document review we'll take a meeting. The first meeting(s) are usually the standard pitch, a walk-through of the presentation, and a high-level Q&A. Though we'll have an idea going in on what we want answered and what we'd like to discuss, we let the manager start with their pitch and always end up free-forming after a while. The idea is to get a sense of the manager, personality, and to probe on different areas of interest or concern and get a sense of whether it holds up.If the strategy, performance, fund structure, and people all pass the initial smell test and merit further interest, due-diligence begins in earnest. An initial document list is requested which generally includes:Marketing materials:Investor letters since inception. These give us a sense of the quality of communication, investment ideas, research, and insight into the manager’s personality and approach.Relevant PR such as interviews, press releases, and published articles.Due-diligence questionnaire aka the ‘DDQ’. This is a key document that asks 100+ detailed questions about the fund. The AIMA (Alternative Investment Management Association) version is the most common DDQ. We review the DDQ provided by the manager and compare it with the AIMA DDQ to see if the manager deleted any questions from the list. Usually, when a question is missing from a DDQ it's because it was irrelevant to the strategy, but sometimes a deleted question can be HIGHLY relevant and show what questions the manager doesn’t want to answer. (Here's a random completed DDQ off Google in case you’d like to get a sense of what that document looks like: Page on samples. Again these give us a sense of the depth and focus of the investment process.Legal:Private Placement Memorandum. This is the legal doc outlining key terms of the fund. This is generally where all the nuances on fees and fund structure are found. See How do you describe, calculate, and interpret management and incentive fees and net-of-fees returns to hedge funds? for more detail on nonsense to be aware of surrounding hedge fund fees.Subscription documents. We review to make sure everything is consistent with the PPM.Partnership agreements. These detail terms of the business structure and can also detail nuances of the fund structure.State certificate of organization/LP certificate/state registration doc, IRS W-9 tax ID form. These are mostly just confirmatory documents.Other:Audits since inception. The independent auditor’s report is of critical importance, as it will reconcile assets, portfolio balances, performance, and often provide insights on portfolio construction, liquidity of underlying assets, and back-office protocols.Independent prime brokerage report as of last completed audit. This allows us to see even more detail on the portfolio from the time of last audit and allows us to reconcile the audit with the actual portfolio. If anything doesn’t line up with the audit it means either we or the auditor are missing something.Reference list. They will all obviously be glowing references, but the choice of references can be very important. Who they leave out of the reference list is often more instructive than who is included. That being said, sometimes good information can be found through the references.Service provider contact information. We verify the relationship with each service provider, and perform due-diligence on the service providers to get an understanding of the terms and length of the relationship with the fund.Any external or internal risk reports. These give us a sense of how they measure risk, what risks they control for, and how they fall within those parameters.Regulatory registration documents such as form ADV for advisers. This is more confirmatory information but can also show critical pieces of information such as assets under management as of a particular date, key principals, number and type of clients, and compliance with the law.Once the document review is completed, you’ll likely have a better understanding (and many new questions) about key issues surrounding the 3 P’s: people, process & performance. The next step is to dig on areas of interest or concern to learn more on each of these three areas.PeopleOne of my favorite stories on manager due-diligence came from a well-known investor who passed on a hedge fund because of a raincoat:The investor wanted to get to know the manager better, so they agreed to go on a hike. Halfway up the mountain it began to downpour. Unfortunately, the manager hadn’t checked the forecast and spent the latter part of the hike completely drenched. The (dry) investor realized at that point that the manager was a little too focused on the adventure ahead of him and not at all focused on managing the predictable risks along the way. The investor passed due to concerns over risk management.We haven’t passed on any managers over rain gear, but I think the point is relevant. In poker, you must observe everything about a player; betting patterns, style of play, tolerance for risk, and personality. You piece together an understanding of the person from the data in order to get a sense of their tendencies. The same applies to due-diligence on people. Fortunately we have a lot more data to work with than at a poker table:Background checks. We use a service that looks for criminal, regulatory, and civil infractions, including Anti-Money-Laundering checks on all principals and key employees of a prospective firm.Regulatory checks. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has a very comprehensive database of brokers and investment adviser firms that shows whether individuals or firms have had any regulatory infractions, their registration status, whether they’ve had any arbitration awards issued against them, and the full employment record of registered individuals (among other things). It also ties into the SEC database which is often relevant for larger firms. All of this is obviously extremely valuable background information. One little trick we use is to match up the employment record of the principal with the bio in their marketing materials. Often they will leave firms out of their bio if they had a bad experience there, though they'll include it on their regulatory filings. It may bring up points that require further digging: BrokerCheck: Research Brokers & Investment AdvisersBack-channel reference checks. This is probably one of the hardest things to do effectively, particularly for industry outsiders, but this can be a source of absolutely critical information. This is the scuttlebutt; the “I’ll talk to my guy who worked in this manager’s Deutsche Bank division when he was a portfolio manager...” This approach is often how you get the ‘real’ story behind a manager.Regular ol’ reference checks. You have to cut through the glowing praise and ask the right questions to really get a sense of the truth, but these can be helpful.Direct interviews with the manager. This doesn’t have to be a cross examination but during the meetings there should be a component of confirmatory questions along with getting a sense of the manager’s personality, background, and approach.Google. (Never underestimate!) I was asked by a family office to diligence a manager and I googled the manager before anything. Past investors had posted on a forum that the manager lost 90%+ of their money by making risky bets then doubling down when the original bets didn’t work out.Skin in the GameAlso worth noting is that it's incredibly important to know that the manager has invested in their own fund, and that they are risking their assets alongside yours. Most investors want to know what percentage of the manager's liquid net worth is in the fund, and will often request documents to prove it.Operational and Investment ProcessNow that you understand more about the people you’re working with, you want to understand the structure and processes that constrain them.A hedge fund, like any other business, creates a product (a portfolio). In order to generate consistent portfolio performance you need to understand the sausage factory, including both the investment process AND the operational processes in place.I know what you’re thinking—operations are boring. The sexy stuff is how people come up with their brilliant investment ideas. Unfortunately, the operations and business side of the fund are not trivial matters; research has shown that over half of all hedge fund blow-ups occur due to operational issues that have nothing to do with the investment process. As unappealing as it is to try to figure out the nuances of how Net Asset Value is calculated and reconciled with the fund administrator, it’s even less appealing to lose a billion dollars because you didn’t take the time. (Yes, turning over every stone means turning over the ugly ones too.)I’ve seen institutional investors pass on funds for reasons which may not be immediately obvious problems to a new hedge fund investor. Below are some examples. If you can think through the issues or potential issues with each real-life scenario below then you are off to a good start:A small fund required a single signatory on cash transfers.A fund had legal entities for their marketing, deal sourcing, and investment divisions of the firm.A large, well-known fund has used a big-4 firm as their auditor since inception, and worked with several offices of the firm over the course of their relationship.The same fund in #3 managed their fund administration internally.A fund was down 3% one month.A fund had rehypothecation agreements in place with their Prime Broker, a major, well-respected Wall St. bank.I imagine some of the above might not even sound like English. So what does it mean and why were these all problems for the prospective investors?Single signatory. Like any other business, embezzlement can be a problem for hedge funds. Requiring a single signatory to move cash, particularly for a small fund, means that a founder/key employee can potentially loot the place without limits. It’s not unheard of for a business owner to get served divorce papers then decide it's time for an early retirement in a tropical, non-extradition friendly country. On a less major scale, an employee may embezzle smaller amounts systematically over time. Hedge funds generally have much higher asset liquidity than traditional businesses, and therefore cash stewardship is of utmost importance. For these reasons, institutions usually require double signatories on cash transfers, often with one signatory being a credible, independent fund administrator.Multiple legal entities. Separate legal entities are put in place to limit liability (and potentially transparency) between entities. Whenever a manager puts legal shields in place between different operational aspects of a fund the investor should have a very clear understanding of why that is the case. In this case the reasons didn’t pass the smell test, and were likely in place to obscure important information for investors.Using several offices of the same accountant. Accountants understand the concept of multiple legal entities all too well. For example, each office of PWC may have its own separate legal entity which protects the greater organization and other offices from shared liability. In other words, working with 3 different offices of the same firm can be like working with 3 completely different firms. Another fact about accountants: If they find a problem with a fund (or a company) they will often resign rather than report their suspicions. In this particular example, 3 offices of the same accounting firm resigned over the course of the life of the fund. Unfortunately, most investors just thought: "Well, the manager has used a credible firm since inception, therefore it’s all kosher." Wrong.In-sourced administration. Approximately 90% of all hedge fund frauds would be eliminated through use of a credible outside fund administrator to manage valuation, NAV reporting, subscriptions/redemptions, and the back-office functions of a hedge fund. Madoff (again) in-sourced his administration. He couldn’t have reasonably pulled off his fraud had he used a credible outside administrator.Fund down 3% in a month. This by itself isn’t a problem. Some funds have high volatility and +/- 5% or more in a month isn’t unusual. The problem was that this particular fund’s investment strategy was expected to generate a slow, consistent half percent a month. A drawdown in one month of 3% in the context of that strategy was a red flag. The next month the fund was down 9% and subsequently lost another 20% before shutting down.Rehypothe-what?? Rehypothecation is when the fund lends their securities to their prime broker. The broker can then use the securities as collateral to lend against, and will generally pay the fund a small fee in return, which helps lower the fund’s brokerage expenses. Here’s bottom line: When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, this small distinction determined who 'owned' the assets. It was the difference between blow-up or solvency for many funds. (Literally billions were lost or saved over this nuanced operational detail.)In addition to operational processes, the investor must understand the investment processes in order to get a sense of how the fund’s portfolio is constructed. How does the manager source ideas, and what does their own research consist of? What kind of risks does the fund take? Risks such as currency, security, sector, market, interest rate, volatility, and countless other risks can be a part of the portfolio construction process. How does the manager make sure they are adequately compensated for those risks? How do these risks fit into the investor’s broader portfolio? Professional portfolio managers must account for all of these factors with the funds they invest.Performance.On every disclaimer on every document you will read from a hedge fund it will say: "Past performance is not indicative of future results." I'm generally not a fan of legalese but this bit should be taken as gospel. Historical returns are in the past, and without understanding them in the context of the strategy, the risks taken, and the changing nature of the strategy in the market then those returns are meaningless. Statistics lie. At the very least they can mislead: Did you know that the Vatican City has 5.9 Popes per square mile? True fact.Lets go through another quick example. If a manager tells you “we returned 100% last year.” Are you:(a) Excited(b) Interested(c) Skeptical/unsure(d) Overwhelmed by feelings of inferiority over your own lousy returnsIf the answer is anything other than lots of ‘c’ with a little bit of ‘b’ then you need to learn more about what performance means. (If your answer is ‘d’ I suggest yoga.)Performance needs to be understood in context. What risks did you take to make 100%? What is the volatility an investor can expect on those kinds of returns? (No matter how great your returns are, you only need to lose 100% once to wipe it all out.) Statistics like Sharpe ratios, maximum drawdown, correlation, and volatility can only really be helpful in the context of the market and the strategy that contributed to that performance.I once met with a manager who returned 142% in 2009 and 55% in 2010. Those were eye-popping returns, and they had all the right service providers and statistical ratios to ‘prove’ how credible and great they were.The manager told me that their whole strategy was to analyze momentum price signals, because “when you focus on one thing all day you get pretty good at it.” They were a complete black box as far as their model and their investment process, but the manager shared one aspect of the model: “When the market goes up we are able to capture those returns, but as soon as the market starts to drop, the model shuts down in order to mitigate any losses.” Classic baloney. (Explanation: Unless you know whether the market will continue to go down or up you can't determine when to turn the model on or off. He was basically implying that they could perfectly predict the direction of future price action in the market.)I passed on the fund, and it literally blew up the next month. (To be fair, I didn’t realize it would blow up so soon, though I did know that it would inevitably blow up with those returns coupled with no credible explanation of how they produced them or why they would persist.) The moral is that it's hard to find an edge and generate consistent returns, and historical performance (whether good or bad) has to be understood in full context.OverallThis overview really just scratches the surface but hopefully the framework and actionable tips are helpful. Many institutions view their due-diligence process as proprietary, but personally I’d rather see all investors have a deeper understanding of the process. It’s bad for the industry when charlatans run around with impunity, and quality diligence helps lift the entire profession. Most hedge fund managers are good people (honestly), but even among good people there can be a lot of average performers and undifferentiated strategies. A good due-diligence process can be both informative and collaborative-- in addition to learning about the managers our DD process often leads to operational improvements among funds we work with.Take your time, and don’t be afraid to ask even seemingly stupid or awkward questions. The best questions are often a little bit awkward. Always keep in mind that the next stone you turn over could be the difference between gaining or losing everything. If a manager seems reticent to provide information or answer your questions its generally a sign of what the relationship will look like going forward. Investments in hedge funds are ultimately partnerships and the good managers will understand and appreciate your need to learn before investing. Good luck!

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