Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# Bruce Kovner

Random fact: Collects rare music manuscripts and books.

Overview

Kovner is the founder of Caxton Associates, a New York-based hedge fund he ran from 1983 to 2011. During that time, the company is calculated to have had average annualized returns of 21 percent after fees. He still owns a minority stake in the hedge fund. Kovner started Caxton Alternative Management, a family office, in 2012.

As of Sept. 22, 2017:
Last change ()
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Industry Investment Companies
Biggest asset N/A
Citizenship United States
Age 71
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

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Net Worth Summary

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Biography

Birthdate: 2/25/1945
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: 1962-1966, Harvard College, Government, Bachelor's Degree Harvard Kennedy School John F Kennedy School of Government

Bruce Stanley Kovner was born in 1945, the son of an engineer and professional football player, Isidore Kovner, and his wife, Sophie. He spent his early years in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn with three siblings. Three of Kovner's grandparents escaped pogroms in Poland, and the fourth was a participant in the Bloody Sunday demonstrations in Tsarist Russia.

The family moved to the Los Angeles area, where Kovner attended Van Nuys High School. There he became a National Merit Scholar, class and student body president, and basketball player. Inspired by John F. Kennedy, Kovner enrolled at Harvard in 1962 to study economics and politics. In graduate school, political scientists Edward Banfield and James Q. Wilson became his mentors. Kovner left school to pursue other interests in the 1970s.

He worked on political campaigns in New York and New Jersey, studied at the Juilliard School, wrote music criticism and book reviews for Commentary magazine, and drove a taxi in New York. He married, and began studying financial and commodity markets, at one point borrowing $3,000 on a credit card to finance his first trades.

Kovner answered a help-wanted ad from Commodities Corp. of Princeton, New Jersey in 1977, where he worked for six years before leaving to start Caxton Associates, named after the first English-language printer, with Peter D'Angelo. Caxton returned 87 percent in 1985. Money flowed in from, among others, the Rothschild family. Kovner had a knack for understanding how political and economic decision making affected markets, and traded much of the companies in the currency markets, where he could use leverage to boost returns.

The billionaire would close positions at the first sign of uncertainty, and was managing more than $10 billion by the early 2000s. He stepped down at the end of 2011, and established Caxton Alternative Management to manage his investments, trading and business activities the next year. In his 28-year stewardship, Caxton Associates lost money in only one year.

He has three children with wife Suzie. They live in Hobe Sound, Florida.

Milestones
  • 1945 Bruce Kovner is born to Isidore and Sophie Kovner in Brooklyn, New York.
  • 1976 Answers job ad from trading firm Commodities Corp. Gets job.
  • 1983 Founds macro hedge fund Caxton Associates with Peter D'Angelo.
  • 1987 Sidesteps 1987 market crash, posting 1.9 percent return for the year.
  • 1994 Flagship fund Caxton Global Investment falls 2.5 percent, its only losing year.
  • 2002 Caxton Associates surpasses $10 billion in assets under management.
  • 2008 Caxton beats S&P 500 performance by 50 percentage points for the year.
  • 2011 Announces retirement from Caxton, naming Andrew Law to succeed him.
  • 2014 Goldman Sachs purchases a minority stake in Caxton Associates.