Paul Singer: Killer Whale
Bloomberg has called him “aggressive” and “tenacious,” and granted him the title of “The World’s Most Feared Investor.” Paul Singer has certainly left an impression – you can like him or hate him, but one thing you can’t do is ignore him.
Born in New Jersey in 1944, Paul Singer obtained his B.S. in psychology from the University of Rochester in 1966 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1969. In 1974, Singer went to work as an attorney in the real-estate division of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.
Paul started Elliott Management Corporation in 1977 with $1.3 million, and today the firm oversees approximately $35 billion in assets under management. One of the oldest fund managers of its kind under continuous management, Mr. Singer’s firm employs a staff of 454 people, including 163 investment professionals, in its New York headquarters and affiliated offices elsewhere in the United States, London, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.
As an investor, Paul Singer is less of a “trader” than an “interventionist”: Elliott Management has invested in the distressed debt of dozens of companies, including Lehman Brothers, Trans World Airlines, the Euro Tunnel, and Caesars Entertainment, whose bankruptcy process was referred to in the Financial Times as one of the “nastiest corporate brawls in recent memory.”
Adversarial to the core, Paul Singer has never been known to shy away from legal battles or corporate combat. And yet, Paul’s financial ventures have been consistently successful, with average annual returns of nearly 14%. Indeed, the mere news that Elliott Management has invested in a company often causes its stock price to go up.
Incredibly, Mr.’s Singer’s firm has lost money in only two of its forty-one years of existence; one dollar invested in the fund at its inception would now be worth $179. At age 74, Paul Singer’s personal net worth stands at around $3.2 billion.
In 2010 he founded the Paul E. Singer Foundation, a charitable organization supporting free-market and pro-growth economic policies, U.S. national security, individual freedom, and health-care delivery innovation, among other causes. Additionally, Mr. Singer serves on the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School and the Board of Directors of Commentary Magazine.
Paul Singer was once asked to describe what he wanted the headline of his life to be. After a brief pause, his response was: “He tried to make a difference.” And that you did, Mr. Singer – you didn’t always make friends, but you definitely made money, and you always made a difference.