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Degree of transparency as well as the number of investors and the number of people in the firm varied widely.

No consistency existed on the investment background of the elite managers and how they finally arrived in the hedge fund world. Their views on retiring differed as well.


Of the managers meeting the criteria to be interviewed, the youngest was 32 (Griffin). Of the 13 interviewed, three were in their thirties—Griffin, Ainslie, and Och. Rajaratnam, Stark, Tepper, and Wilcox were in their forties. Six were in their fifties—Cooperman, Henry, Kovner, Kingdon, Singer, and Sussman.


A number of the superstar managers include market neutral strategies. Stark focuses mostly on convertible arbitrage, but risk arbitrage and private placements are important. Sussman's overall focus is market neutral strategies. At the moment, his main focus is on statistical arbitrage. Convertible arbitrage and merger arbitrage receive significant allocations.

Some include event-driven strategies with or without market-neutral strategies. Singer focuses on distressed securities and arbitrage. For Griffin, it is relative value and event driven. Och focuses on merger arbitrage, convertible arbitrage, event driven, and distressed credits.

Tepper's focus is high-yield bonds and distressed.

On the stock-picking front, Cooperman and Cumberland are value stock pickers. Ainslie is an opportunistic stock picker with heavy emphasis on the United States. Kingdon is primarily a global equity long/short stock picker.

Rajaratnam is a sector trader. Kovner is more macro oriented. Henry is the only pure futures trader, not using stocks at all.

In their approaches, a few are self-described activist managers. For Singer, this means getting involved in negotiations and committee work; there is a higher unit of effort to money invested. Cooperman is also an activist. He loves to go head-to-head with companies if he thinks a problem exists.

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