Clifford Scott Asness: Winning the Game through Research
Seasoned investors understand that the game of investing isn’t won when profits are taken; rather, the winning occurs long before that. Billionaire and author Clifford Scott Asness knows that research is a crucial piece of the investing puzzle, and he has exemplified this principle for over a quarter-century.
IClifford Scott Asness, who is typically known as Cliff, has a net worth estimated at $3 billion, which he achieved by age 50. Predicated on the idea that investors should not pay expensive fees for what are essentially market returns, Mr. Asness cofounded global investment management firm AQR Capital Management in New York City in 1998.
Now headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut, AQR has $226 billion of assets under management as well as 932 employees worldwide, 54% of whom possess advanced degrees, including 73 Ph.D.’s. Cliff himself has a Ph.D. and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, as well as two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
Exactly how do Cliff Asness and his team at AQR Capital Management deliver results for their clients? Through a culture of intellectual curiosity, the firm has combined the study of economic, behavioral finance, data, and technology to challenge the status quo, disrupt traditional investing paradigms, and uncover new insights.
In other words, Mr. Asness’ team conducts plenty of deep research, and it has paid off handsomely. And the firm’s outstanding performance has indeed received recognition: Morningstar’s Alternatives Fund Manager of the Year in 2013, Chief Investment Officer magazine’s Most Innovative Hedge Fund and Pensions Expert magazine’s Hedge Fund Manager of the Year in 2014, along with the Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy Outstanding Article Award and a special distinction from the Journal of Investment Management in 2015.
Plus, by all accounts, Cliff Asness’ firm is an amazing place to work: AQR was named one of Connecticut’s Great Places to Work by Connecticut Magazine in 2016, and was also named one of Pensions and Investments’ Best Places to Work in Money Management in 2017.
A doctorate-infused team, a fantastic corporate culture, and relentless research: Cliff Asness has certainly written a recipe for success. And that’s not all that he’s written, as Mr. Asness is an established author with an archive of timely and insightful posts on AQR’s blog, Cliff’s Perspectives. Conversational yet rich with financial data and perspectives, Cliff Asness’ posts offer opinions about everything from quantitative finance to baseball stats.
It’s funny how Wall Street trends eventually catch up to the innovators. Cliff Asness doesn’t seem to mind: he’s been ahead of the game for over 25 years, and there’s much more to come.