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Paul Singer Warned Employees on Feb. 1 to Prepare for Quarantine

  • Brace for a monthlong lockdown, hedge fund chief said in memo
  • Elliott evaded market’s March plunge due to manager’s hedges
Paul Singer
Paul SingerPhotographer: Misha Friedman/Bloomberg

At a time when most Americans hadn’t yet heard of the word coronavirus and were still flocking to concerts, sports arenas and conferences, hedge fund manager Paul Singer was planning for the disruptions to come.

On Feb. 1 -- a month and a half before New York imposed a statewide lockdown to reduce the spread of the virus -- Singer told employees of his $40 billion Elliott Management Corp. they should prepare for a monthlong quarantine, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg. The spread of the virus by asymptomatic carriers raises significant “uncertainty as to when its geometric growth will level off,” he wrote.

“We recommend that all employees, in all offices, try to make arrangements so that you do not have to leave your home for a month if that becomes necessary,” Singer, who’s known for his pessimistic outlook and warnings on everything from market crashes to solar storms, said in the February memo.