May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Paul Tudor Jones, the billionaire investor who sought yesterday to clarify remarks that drew protests, apologized for saying that women can’t compete with men as macro traders after having children.
“Much of my adult life has been spent fighting for equal opportunity, and the idea that I would support limiting opportunity for any segment of society, particularly women, is antithetical to who I am and what I have done,” Jones, founder and president of Tudor Investment Corp., a $13 billion hedge-fund firm in Greenwich, Connecticut, said in a statement today. “My remarks offended, and I am sorry.”
A video posted yesterday on the Washington Post website showed Jones at an April roundtable at the University of Virginia saying that having a baby hurts the ability of women to focus on macro trading, where investors seek to profit from global equity, bond, currency and commodities markets. Criticism continued after Jones issued a statement yesterday saying that all skilled, dedicated men and women can succeed in the area and that his remarks were “off-the-cuff.”
Jones said in the video that he doesn’t believe marriage turns women’s attention from trading as much as having children does. It’s the deep connection that women have to their children that endangers their trading acumen, he said.
“As soon as that baby’s lips touch that girl’s bosom, forget it,” he said.
The remarks drew the ire of some women, including Jamie Zimmerman, founder of hedge-fund firm Litespeed Management LLC.
“Given Paul’s fine reputation, if the quote is accurate, I am stunned,” New York-based Zimmerman said in an interview yesterday. “I am laser-focused 24/7 on Litespeed’s profit and loss and I have raised two fabulous daughters. It is outrageous to summarily dismiss the talents and capabilities of half the world’s population.”
Female hedge-fund managers outperformed the industry as a whole in the first nine months of 2012, according to audit firm Rothstein Kass. The firm said its Women in Alternatives Hedge Index returned 9 percent last year through September, compared with a 2.7 percent gain of Hedge Fund Research Inc.’s HFRX Global Hedge Fund Index. Litespeed has returned an annualized 13 percent since the firm’s inception, Zimmerman said.
“You will never see as many great women investors or traders as men, period end of story,” Jones, 58, said in the videotaped discussion.
Women often turn their focus to raising children at a crucial time of life for learning about markets and trading, Jones said.
“There’s nothing like that mother-child connection, and can you imagine trying to divert yourself, particularly from your first child in your 20s?” he said.
Yesterday, in an e-mailed statement first sent to the Washington Post, Jones sought to clarify his comments from last month.
“As I’ve told my three daughters, all of whom I’ve at one time encouraged to go into macro trading, any man or woman can do anything to which they set their heart and mind,” Jones said in the statement.
“My off-the-cuff remarks at the University of Virginia were with regard to global macro traders, who are on-call 24/7 and of whom there are likely only a few thousand successful practitioners in the world today. Macro trading requires a high degree of skill, focus and repetition. Life events, such as birth, divorce, death of a loved one and other emotional highs and lows are obstacles to success in this specific field of finance.”
“I believe that great success is possible in any field -- from music to mathematics to macro trading -- as long as a woman or man has the skill, passion, and repetitions to work through the inevitable life events that arise along the way.”
Kathleen Kelley, founder of Queen Anne’s Gate Capital Management in New York, worked for Tudor from 1990 to 2001 while she was raising two children. She said Jones was a “fantastic mentor.”
“I agree with his comments on the amount of focus it takes to be successful in this field, and without good help and support it would be impossible to do my job,” Kelley said.
Amanda Pullinger, executive director of 100 Women in Hedge Funds, a global association of more than 10,000 women in the alternative investments industry, declined to comment on Jones’s remarks.
Anne Dinning, a managing director at hedge-fund firm D.E. Shaw & Co., and Victoria Bjorklund, a partner at law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, who both sit on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation that Jones co-founded, didn’t return messages left yesterday seeking comment.
Jones began his career in 1976, after graduating from UVA with a bachelor’s degree in economics. Through his uncle Billy Dunavant, a cotton merchandiser, he got a job as a trader on the floor of the New York Cotton Exchange. From there, Jones became a commodities broker at E.F. Hutton & Co., trading futures on the cotton exchange for clients before starting Tudor in 1984.