UNITED STATES: Billionaire investor Julian Robertson, whose Tiger Management was once among the world’s largest and most successful hedge funds and who nurtured generations of prominent managers known as “Tiger Cubs,” has died aged 90.
Robertson died at his home in New York of heart complications, his spokesman Fraser Seitel said.
The North Carolina-born stock-picker co-founded Tiger Management in 1980 and grew the firm by the late 1990s to oversee roughly $22 billion and boast an average annual return of 32%.
He closed the firm in 2000, saying he could no longer understand the markets, which were driven by the boom and eventual bust of many technology-oriented stocks.
According to Forbes, Robertson had a net worth of $4.8 billion.
At Tiger Management, Robertson hired and trained analysts in the art of stock picking. Dozens of them eventually started their own companies and created one of the widest alumni networks in the industry. Viking Global Investors’ Andreas Halvorsen, Lone Pine Capital’s Stephen Mandel, Maverick Capital’s Lee Ainslie and Tiger Global Management’s Chase Coleman all started with Robertson.
“Julian was a pioneer and giant in our industry, respected both for his skills as an investor and for the integrity, honesty, loyalty and competitiveness he demonstrated as a leader,” Coleman said in a statement. “He took the time to be a true mentor, always leading by example and pushing us all to become the best version of ourselves.”
By 2008, some 36 former employees had set up their funds and managed $100 billion in assets, with Robertson extending seed capital to many of them, journalist Sebastian Mallaby wrote in his book “More Money Than God.”
To keep his team at peak performance, Robertson liked to recruit college athletes with a competitive pace, organize team hikes and kept a trainer in the office to encourage employees to exercise, Mallaby wrote.
After years of strong returns, Tiger Management suffered a double-digit loss in 1999 and began 2000 with higher losses.He wrote to his investors that there was no point in “exposing (them) to risk in a market that I frankly do not understand.”
“It’s hard to think of anyone who has had a bigger impact on today’s equity market participant than Julian,” hedge fund manager Jim Chanos told CNBC.
Not all of Robertson’s former employees did well in the hedge fund industry. Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management collapsed in early 2021, causing $10 billion in losses at banks including Credit Suisse and prompting federal prosecutors to charge him with fraud, market manipulation and racketeering.
Robertson got into the money management business when he joined Kidder Peabody in 1957, shortly after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He became CEO of Webster Management, Kidder’s investment advisory arm, and retired in 1978.
During his lifetime, Robertson gave away an estimated $2 billion and contributed to a variety of causes, from education to medical research, his spokesman said.
Robertson is survived by three sons. His wife Josephine died in 2010.