Julian H. Robertson Jr. KNZM (born June 25, 1932) is an American former hedge fund manager. Now retired, Robertson invests directly in other hedge funds, most run by former employees of Robertson's defunct hedge fund company.
He was born in Salisbury, North Carolina in the United States. Robertson founded the investment firm Tiger Management Corp., one of the earliest hedge funds. Robertson is credited with turning $8 million in start-up capital in 1980 into over $22 billion in the late 1990s, though that was followed by a fast downward spiral of investor withdrawals that ended with the fund closing in 2000.
In 1993, his compensation and share of Tiger's gain exceeded $300 million. His 2003 estimated net worth was over $400 million, and in March 2011 it was estimated by Forbes at $2.3 billion. Robertson said in 2008 that he shorted subprime securities and made money through credit default swaps. The following year, according to Forbes, Robertson's return on his $200 million personal trading account was 150 percent.
Robertson is a native of North Carolina, the son of Julian Hart Robertson Sr., a textile company executive, and the former Blanche Spencer. He graduated from Episcopal High School in 1951 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1955. While at Chapel Hill, he was admitted to Zeta Psi fraternity. He then served as an officer in the U.S. Navy until 1957.
After leaving the Navy, Robertson moved to New York City and worked for a time as a stockbroker for Kidder, Peabody & Co.. At Kidder, he eventually headed up the firm's asset management division (Webster Securities) before departing to move with his family to New Zealand for a year to write a novel. On his return, in 1980 Robertson launched Tiger Management with initial investments from friends and family.
On April 1, 1996 BusinessWeek carried a cover story written by reporter Gary Weiss, called "Fall of the Wizard", that was critical of Robertson's performance and behavior as founder and manager of Tiger Management. Robertson subsequently sued Weiss and BusinessWeek for $1 billion for defamation. The suit was settled with no money changing hands and BusinessWeek standing by the substance of its reporting.
The Tiger funds reached a peak of $22 billion in assets in 1998. But a combination of poor stock picking and failure to exploit the technology stock craze caused Robertson's funds to suffer steep losses at the end of the decade, prompting investors to withdraw cash. When the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index climbed 21 percent in 1999, the Tiger funds declined 19 percent.
Robertson has been quoted as saying "our mandate is to find the 200 best companies in the world and invest in them, and find the 200 worst companies in the world and go short on them. If the 200 best don't do better than the 200 worst, you should probably be in another business."
Tiger's largest equity holding at that time was U.S. Airways, whose troubles dragged down the value of his holdings. Such missteps ultimately led him to close his investment company in March 2000 and return all outside capital to investors. Tiger earlier made $2 billion in gains but then gave most of them back during a huge one-day move in the yen in 1998. In September 2001, Robertson distributed 24.8 million greatly devalued U.S. Airways shares to former Tiger investors. Robertson declared his intent to hold onto his own stock in the airline.
After closing his fund in 2000, Robertson kept his hand in the hedge fund business by supporting and financing upcoming hedge fund managers (38 in total as of September 2009), in return for a stake in their fund management companies. Apart from those, many of the analysts and managers Robertson employed and mentored at Tiger Management, including Chris Shumway, Lee Ainslie and Ole Andreas Halvorsen went out on their own and are now running some of the best-known hedge fund firms, called "Tiger Cubs".
Today, Robertson is an active philanthropist and serves on a number of organization and university boards. He is the founder and benefactor of the Robertson Scholars Program which awards a merit scholarship that provides four-year full-tuition, room and board, and travel funding for 36 Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students each year. In August 2010 it was announced that Robertson had joined an initiative by software mogul Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett in which the wealthy would pledge at least half their assets to charity.
He also is active as an investor and developer in New Zealand, where he spends some of his time. His family owns three lodges: Kauri Cliffs Lodge near Kerikeri in Northland; Matakauri Lodge Queenstown; and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, as well as several wineries. Robertson was made an Honorary Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy in the New Year Honours announced on 31 December 2009.
In May 2010 the New York Stem Cell Foundation, a private research institution, announced that it had received a $27 million gift from Robertson and his wife Josie to fund its research. Josephine Tucker Robertson, wife of Julian Robertson, died 8 June 2010 after a long fight against breast cancer.
- Julian Robertson - Forbes, Forbes.com. Accessed May 2011.
- Tiger's Julian Robertson Roars Again, Brian O'Keefe, Fortune Senior Editor, Jan. 28, 2008
- Julian Robertson: A Tiger in the Land of Bulls and Bears, Daniel A. Strachman, Published by John Wiley and Sons, 2004, ISBN 0-471-32363-2
- Associated Press (November 4, 1997). "Digital, corner newsstands go head-to-head: Question of timing in magazine publishing goes to court". The Fresno Bee. p. D14.
- Garigliano, Jeff (June 1, 1997). "Steep libel claims raise concerns". Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management (Cowles Business Media Inc.). p. 19.
- Kelly, Keith J. (December 18, 1997). "Money Aside, Manager Settles Suit". New York Daily News. p. 78.
- "Corrections". New York Times. January 7, 1997.
- Reilly, Patrick M. (April 4, 1997). "Investor files papers signaling intent to sue Business Week for $1 billion". Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones).
- "Business Week Agrees to Settle Libel Suit Brought by Investor". Wall Street Journal (Dow Jones). December 18, 1997.
- Pogrebin, Robin (November 3, 1997). "Publication Date Open to Dispute In Internet Age" (Newspaper article). New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- Truell, Peter (December 18, 1997). "The Media Business; Investor Settles Libel Suit Against Business Week" (Newspaper article). New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- Weiss, Gary (April 1, 1996). "Fall of the Wizard" (Magazine article). Business Week. McGraw-Hill. Retrieved November 11, 2009.
- "INVESTING: DIARY; Left Holding the Bag On US Airways Stock", by Laurence Zuckerman, September 23, 2001
- http://www.opalesque.com/tiger - list of 38 Tiger Seeds and 32 Tiger Cubs
- "The Tiger and His Cubs," New York Times, July 30, 2012
- Clark, Andrew (4 August 2010). "US billionaires club together – to give away half their fortunes to good causes". The Guardian (London).
- "New Year Honours: Full 2010 list". The New Zealand Herald. 31 December 2009.
- Hedge-Fund Founder Bolsters Stem-Cell Research with $27 million Gift, The Wall Street Journal, 14 May 2010
- Josie Robertson dies, Salisburypost.com, 9 June 2010
- "Pro-Romney ‘Super PAC’ Spent $14 Million in January". The New York Times. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "Long Island News Campaign Finance". Retrieved 16 October 2012.
- Rowe, Frederick (September 16, 1991). "'The best instincts in the jungle.' (money manager Julian Robertson)". Forbes (Forbes, Inc.). p. 78.
- The Greatest Investors - Julian Robertson
- Tiger Management Closes
- Sumitomo's Copper Trader's Arrangements -- CFTC (Investigation)
- Strachman, Daniel A. Julian Robertson: A Tiger in the land of Bulls and Bears. New York: Wiley, 2004
- Tiger's Julian Robertson Roars Again — Fortune/CNN Money, 1/28/08
- The Ultimate Guide to Tiger Cubs and Tiger Seeds — Fundville, 3/30/10
- Video: Julian Robertson on Tiger Cubs and Tiger Seeds (hedge funds financed by him) and his estates in New Zealand — Opalesque FIVE Minutes, 11/19/09