Billionaire hedge fund pioneer Julian Robertson, who founded Tiger Management in 1980, said he’s a “great fan” of former Tiger cub Bill Hwang and would invest with him again.
“I’m just very sad about it,” the 88-year-old investment titan told Bloomberg in an interview on Monday. “I’m a great fan of Bill, and it could probably happen to anyone. But I’m sorry it happened to Bill,” he said of the stock market storm set off by Hwang’s family office, Archegos Capital Management.
Investors trained by Robertson who went on to start their own hedge fund investors are known on Wall Street as “tiger cubs.” Working as a protégé under Robertson, Hwang founded Tiger Asia Management in 2001 with about $25 million of borrowed money from the legendary investor himself.
The fund manager, who is deeply religious, views investing as his calling and believes God “loves” when he backs companies that contribute to humanity’s progress.
Hwang reportedly grew Tiger Asia’s assets to over $5 billion at its peak and delivered an annualized return of 16%. He ultimately terminated the fund in 2012 after pleading guilty to insider trading that same year, having to pay $60 million to settle charges against him of manipulating Chinese stocks.
Hwang converted Tiger Asia into a family office, Archegos Capital, in 2013. The firm’s banks last week began liquidating huge positions in blue-chip companies after a hefty $20 billion margin call, leaving at least two of the firm’s lenders warning of huge losses – Credit Suisse and Nomura.
Robertson told Bloomberg he hopes Hwang’s career would bounce back as his former protégé is a “very decent guy.” The billionaire last met Hwang about three to four months ago in Southampton. After the hedge fund shockwave, Robertson said he spoke to Hwang indirectly via written messages to express support. Hwang is said to have written back, thanking him for his words.
Calling him a “devoted Christian,” Robertson said Hwang is a good guy who made a terrible mistake. He also said he would invest with him again because he would learn from his mistakes.