Bruce Kovner

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Bruce Kovner
Born 1945
Brooklyn, New York
United States
Occupation American businessman
founder, Chairman, Caxton Associates, LLC

Bruce Stanley Kovner (born 1945 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American businessman. He is the founder and Chairman of Caxton Associates, LLC, a hedge fund that trades a global macro strategy and is considered amongst the worlds top and largest 10 hedge funds with an estimated $14 billion under management .[1] In 2009, Kovner had an estimated net worth of around $3.5 billion.[2]

Described as secretive even by family and friends, the 63-year old divorcee is perhaps one of the least known New York City billionaires outside of professional circles. His Caxton Associates despite the large amount of assets under management is known to be amongst the top 25 most enigmatic and secretive hedge funds globally.[3] He is a leading philanthropist and former chairman of American Enterprise Institute.

Contents

[edit] Biography

Bruce Kovner's Jewish family came to Brooklyn, New York, in the early 1900s from Tsarist Russia, fleeing persecution for their Communist beliefs. Two of Kovner's fathers' cousins faced the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s, pleading the Fifth Amendment. However, Bruce's father, Moishe Kovner, was more conservative than his kin, at one point even crossing a picket line to work.[citation needed]

Bruce Kovner grew up in the San Fernando Valley, where his father had moved the family in 1953. Early on, he was a high achiever, becoming a Merit Scholar. He was the student-body president of Van Nuys High School at 16, and an accomplished basketball player.[citation needed]

Kovner went to Harvard College starting in 1962, a time marred by the hanging suicide of his mother back in his family's Van Nuys home. Nonetheless, he was considered a good student and was well liked by his classmates. Avoiding the Vietnam draft by student deferment (when it was still available), Kovner stayed at Harvard, studying political economy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, notably under prominent conservative scholar Edward C. Banfield, who reportedly had great faith and admiration for the young Kovner.

Kovner did not finish his Ph.D., having suffered a severe case of writer's block and overreached in his choice of subject matter. Over the next few years, he engaged in a number of eclectic efforts; he worked on political campaigns, studied the harpsichord, was a writer, and a cab driver. It was during the latter occupation, not long after his marriage to now ex-wife Sarah Peter, that he discovered commodities trading.

[edit] Business

Kovner's first trade was in 1977 for $3,000, borrowed against his MasterCard, in soybean futures contracts. Realizing growth to $40,000, he then watched the contract drop to $23,000 before selling.[2] He later claimed that this first, nerve-racking trade taught him the importance of risk management.

In his eventual role as a trader under the legendary Michael Marcus at Commodities Corporation (now part of Goldman Sachs), he purportedly made millions and gained widespread respect as an objective and sober trader.[4] This ultimately led to the establishment of his current company, Caxton Associates, in 1983, which at its peak managed over $10 billion in capital and has been closed to new investors since 1992.

Kovner is not well known outside of professional circles. He has very rarely given interviews, and is notoriously private. His Fifth Avenue apartment in New York City features a lead-lined room to protect against a chemical, biological, or dirty bomb attack.[5]

[edit] Philanthropy and politics

A patron of the arts and a particular devotee of opera (he is on the board of the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center), Kovner is an avid collector of rare books and classical music manuscripts and has given millions to art projects and art institutions, notably the Juilliard School (of which he is Chairman).[6] He is a primary funder of the expansion of Lincoln Center and the publisher of many works, including what some consider the finest modern illustrated bible. He is also founder and Chairman of the School Choice Scholarships Foundation, which awards scholarships to financially disadvantaged youth in New York City.

Kovner has contributed extensively to conservative causes. He is the former chairman of the board of trustees of the American Enterprise Institute. His close acquaintances include former Vice President Dick Cheney,[citation needed] neoconservative figures Richard Perle and James Q. Wilson, as well as a wide range of government officials from all over the world - relationships which many consider contribute to Kovner's insight into commodities markets worldwide. He is a major backer of the conservative Manhattan Institute, and The New York Sun daily newspaper.

[edit] References

[edit] Further reading

Schwager, Jack D. (1993). Market Wizards: Interviews with Top Traders. 36 pages: Collins; Reissue edition. ISBN 0-88730-610-1. 

[edit] External links

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