Paul Singer (businessman)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Paul Singer
The Global Financial Context Paul Singer.jpg
Singer at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2013
Born Paul Elliott Singer
(1944-08-22) August 22, 1944 (age 69)
New York
Residence New York City
Nationality United States
Ethnicity Jewish
Alma mater B.S. University of Rochester
J.D. Harvard Law School
Occupation Businessman
Known for Elliott Management
Net worth Increase US$ 1.5 billion (March 2014)[1]

Paul Elliott Singer (born August 22, 1944) is the founder and CEO of hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation and The Paul E. Singer Foundation.[2]

Education and early career[edit]

Singer grew up in a Jewish family[3] in Tenafly, New Jersey, one of three children of a Manhattan pharmacist and a homemaker.[4] He obtained his B.S. in psychology from the University of Rochester and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.[4][5] In 1974, Singer accepted a job as an attorney in the real estate division of the investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.[4][5]

Elliott Management Corporation[edit]

In 1977, Singer founded the hedge fund Elliott Associates L.P. with $1.3 million from various friends and family members.[4] Elliott Management Corporation oversees Elliott Associates and Elliott International Limited, which together have more than $21 billion in assets under management.[6] According to The Guardian, "Elliott's principal investment strategy is buying distressed debt cheaply and selling it at a profit or suing for full payment."[7]

A 2012 CNN profile of Singer noted that losses sustained early in his career led to a “risk aversion that still guides his investing today. For example, he rarely uses leverage to juice returns.” Thanks to his caution, “Elliott has had only two down years” since 1977, rising “4.2% in 2011, a year in which most hedge funds lost money.” According to CNN, Singer focused from early times “on distressed assets,” buying up bankrupt firms' debt and acquiring “a reputation for strong-arming his way to profit.” Elliott has been involved “in most of the big post-crash restructurings, including Chrysler and auto parts supplier Delphi.” Over Elliott's history, it has averaged 14 percent annual returns, compared with 10.8% for the S&P 500 stock index as a whole.[8][9]

Singer's focus on distressed assets from early in his career led to what Fortune magazine called "a reputation for strong-arming his way to profit".[10]

Compuware[edit]

Forbes noted in December 2012 that Elliot Management had offered to purchase the software firm Compuware after having accumulated 8% of the company's stock. Elliott expressed the view that Compuware had great promise but had been underperforming under its current management.[11]

Purchasing sovereign debts[edit]

In 1996, Elliott bought defaulted Peruvian debt for a reported $11.4 million. In 1998, a U.S. court ruled that one could not buy debt with the sole purpose of suing the debtor. Elliott won a $58 million judgment in 2000, when the ruling was overturned.

After Argentina defaulted on its debt in 2002, NML Capital, a unit of Elliott, refused to accept its offer to pay less than 30¢ on the dollar on debts that originally amounted to over $182 million but that Elliott assessed were then worth $2.3 billion.[4][12]

In early October 2012, NML arranged for the seizure of an Argentinian naval vessel in Ghana, the ARA Libertad, in an effort to force Argentina to pay its debt. Argentina, however, refused to pay the debt, and shortly thereafter regained control of the ship and removed it from Ghanaian waters.[13]

In a November 2012 piece in the Huffington Post, Argentina's Foreign Affairs Minister, Hector Timerman, harshly criticized Singer for attempting to collect on the debt. Calling Singer “the inventor of vulture funds,” Timerman argued that the $127 million Singer had received from the Republic of Congo to settle a $400 million debt he had acquired for $10 million “should be going to build roads, schools and other poverty reduction programs.”[14]

In his investor letter for the fourth quarter of 2012, Singer described Argentina’s response to the court's ruling as “defiant and acrimonious,” saying that its dismissal of the ruling as “judicial colonialism” was “puzzling,” given that Argentina had chosen “to submit itself to the jurisdiction of New York courts and to waive its sovereign immunity.”[15]

In February 2013, the U.S. appeals court heard Argentina's appeal in the NML case.[16]

In March 2013, Argentina offered a new plan that was judged unlikely to be acceptable to the New York court.[17] On August 23, 2013 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the lower court's verdict and dismissed said plan.[18]

Philanthropy[edit]

Paul Singer founded the Paul E. Singer Family Foundation, which supports many charitable projects including the Harvard Graduate School of Education Singer Prize for Excellence in Secondary Teaching and VH1 Save The Music Foundation, the Food Bank For New York City, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, and the New York City Police Foundation.[19][20][21][22][23] In addition, Singer, whose gay son married his partner in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal, has donated $425,000 of his own money and raised another $500,000 to support the drive for legalization of gay marriage in New York,[24] and in October 2012, Singer donated $250,000 to the Maryland Marriage Campaign.[25]

Singer sponsors the University of Rochester Singer Prize for Excellence in Secondary Teaching, the Harlem Children's Zone, and the Success Charter Network. He also supports the Police Athletic League NYC and the NYC Police Foundation.[21]

Singer has given over $14 million to a variety of military causes, including the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the Semper Fi Fund, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Spirit of America, the Navy Seal Foundation, The Mission Continues, and the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation.[26]

Singer also signed The Giving Pledge, a commitment by wealthy individuals and families to donate more than half of their wealth to address society's "most difficult moral and economic challenges." In his commitment letter, he stated, "The Giving Pledge uniquely combines the direct provision of resources with the power of an idea - the idea that fostering discussions about the purpose of philanthropy may improve our philosophies of giving and lead to better results for those in need." Singer concluded in this letter that he is "happy and grateful to sign up for such a worthy endeavor."[27]

Gay rights[edit]

Singer has contributed to gay-rights causes and same-sex marriage campaigns, and has also actively sought to persuade other conservatives to support gay marriage. He has joined other Wall Street executives in support of LGBT equality in the workplace as a means of retaining employees and improving overall business outcomes.[28] He has said that same-sex marriage promotes “family stability” and said that in a time when “the institution of marriage in America has utterly collapsed,” the fact that gay couples want to marry “is kind of a lovely thing and a cool thing and a wonderful thing.”[29]

In 2012, Singer provided $1 million to start a PAC named American Unity PAC. According to the New York Times, the PAC's "sole mission will be to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage, in part by helping them to feel financially shielded from any blowback from well-funded groups that oppose it."[30]

Board memberships[edit]

Singer is Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.[31] He also serves on the Board of Fellows of Harvard Medical School and the Board of Directors of Commentary Magazine.[32][33]

Singer is a member of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation.

Political activity[edit]

Singer is an active participant in Republican Party politics.[34] He was a major contributor to George W. Bush's presidential campaigns.[35]

In 2007, Singer led a financial industry fund-raising effort for Rudolph Giuliani, first as regional finance chair and later as senior policy adviser.[36][37]

In 2007, Singer provided $175,000 to support a petition drive for a proposed California initiative to apportion the state's 55 electoral votes by congressional district. At least 19 of the state's 53 congressional districts could be expected to vote for a GOP presidential candidate, enough to change the national results in a close election.[38]

President George W. Bush appointed Singer to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.[39]

In 2011, Singer played a major role in passing legislation that would allow same-sex marriage in the state of New York by, along with other major GOP donors, throwing his support behind it.[40]

In 2011, Singer donated $1 million to Restore Our Future, a "Super PAC" (political action committee)) created to support Mitt Romney in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election.[41]

In 2012, Singer provided $1 million to start a PAC named American Unity PAC. According to the New York Times, the PAC's "sole mission will be to encourage Republican candidates to support same-sex marriage, in part by helping them to feel financially shielded from any blowback from well-funded groups that oppose it."[30]

Singer has also given $100,000 to The Club for Growth.[42]

Business Insider reported on 30 January 2013 that Singer had given Ben Bernanke a “D” grade.[43]

Fortune described Singer as "a passionate defender of the 1% and a rising Republican power broker".[10]

Writings and commentary[edit]

Singer has written columns in the Wall Street Journal.[33] In 2009, he wrote a piece titled, “Free-Marketeers Should Welcome Some Regulation,” in which he argued that, “It's true that monetary policy was too lax for too long, and the government encouraged lending to people who were unlikely to repay their loans. But this crisis was primarily caused by managements and individuals throughout the financial system who exercised extremely poor judgment. The private sector, not the public sector, is where the biggest mistakes were made.” [44]

At a September 2006 financial conference in New York City, Singer delivered a speech called "Complexity Made Simple," advising that the purchase of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) was a serious mistake, anticipating the downturn of the housing market by nearly a year before the $770 billion taxpayer-funded bailout.[5]

Fellow hedge fund manager Jim Chanos revealed in an August 2009 radio interview that he and Singer had met with G7 finance ministers in 2007 to warn them that the global financial system was increasingly unstable and approaching a catastrophe, with banks on the verge of sinking the global economy. They argued that decisive action was called for, but were met with indifference. Chanos's recounting of this episode sparked an uproar in Britain, where many were angry that Gordon Brown, who had been present at the meeting, had ignored the experts' warning.[45]

Personal life[edit]

Singer has been divorced since 1996.[4] He lives on New York City's Upper West Side and also has a house in Aspen, Colorado.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Forbes Billionaires: Paul Singer March 2014
  2. ^ "Elliott Management Corporation Company Profile". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  3. ^ JTA: "Jewish, Republican, pro-gay rights" By Ron Kampeas May 14, 2011
  4. ^ a b c d e f g CNN Money: "Mitt Romney's hedge fund kingmaker" By Michelle Celarier March 26, 2012
  5. ^ a b c Kambiz Foroohar (February 2008). "The Opportunist". Bloomberg Markets. 
  6. ^ "Paul Singer". Forbes. 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  7. ^ Sheehan, Michael (November 15, 2011). "Vulture funds – the key players". The Guardian (London). Retrieved June 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ Keith, Tamara. "SuperDonor Backs Romney — And Gay Marriage". New Hampshire News. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Dugan, Ianthe Jeanne; Brody Mullins (27 August 2012). "Wall Street's Singer Makes His Influence Felt". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 June 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Paul Singer - Mitt Romney's hedge fund kingmaker". Fortune (magazine). 26 March 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  11. ^ Vardi, Nathan. "Billionaire Hedge Fund Manager Bets On Mainframe Computers". Forbes. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Guardian (November 15, 2011). "Vulture funds – the key players". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 11 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Whitehouse, Kaja. "Argentina says 'Arrh, no!' to Paul Singer’s $20 million demand for seized ship". New York Post. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Timerman, Hector (November 14, 2012). "Africa and Latin America Still Fight Vulture Funds". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Lopez, Linette. "Hedge Funder Paul Singer Went Ballistic On Argentina In His Q4 Investor Letter". Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Raymond, Nate (April 2, 2013). "UPDATE 2-US court demands Argentine bondholders address pay plan". Reuters. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Argentina offers to pay debts with cash & bonds."
  18. ^ UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS, FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT (23 August 2013). "12-105(L) NML Capital, Ltd. v. Republic of Argentina". Clarin. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  19. ^ [1], "Harvard Awards the First Singer Prize", May 31, 2007
  20. ^ [2], "Dr. Shiela Johnson and Gordon Appointed to VHI Save the Music Foundation Board of Directors", March 19, 2007
  21. ^ a b [3], "New York City Police Foundation Donors List", June 30, 2009
  22. ^ "Can-Do 2010 Supporters". 
  23. ^ Eric Lichtblau (August 27, 2010). "Financier’s Largess Shows G.O.P.’s Wall St. Support". The New York Times. New York Times. 
  24. ^ Nicholas Confessore and Michael Barbaro (May 14, 2011). "Donors to GOP are backing gay marriage push". The New York Times. New York Times. 
  25. ^ "Republican Donor Paul Singer Gives $250,000 to Maryland Marriage Campaign". Advocate. Retrieved 18 March 2013. 
  26. ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/multicultural-latest-news/the-paul-e-singer-foundation-to-serve-as-title-sponsor-for-the-bob-woodruff-foundation-4th-annual-stand-up-for-heroes-106635323.html and http://www.marineparents.com/announcements/phfs-donation.asp
  27. ^ "Paul E. Singer". The Giving Pledge. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 
  28. ^ "Out on the Street' Summit to Spotlight LGBT Employee Issues | LGBT Employees". Businessnewsdaily.com. 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  29. ^ Bruni, Frank (June 9, 2012). "The G.O.P.’s Gay Trajectory". New York Times. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  30. ^ a b Bruni, Frank (June 9, 2012). "The G.O.P.’s Gay Trajectory". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2012. 
  31. ^ [4], "Manhattan Institute Trustees", 2010
  32. ^ "Board of Fellows". 
  33. ^ a b Paul Singer (March 23, 2010). "The Dodd bill and U.S. Competitiveness". Wall Street Journal. 
  34. ^ New York Times: "Financier’s Largess Shows G.O.P.’s Wall St. Support" By ERIC LICHTBLAU August 27, 2010
  35. ^ "Hedge Fund Chiefs, With Cash, Join Political Fray". The New York Times. New York Times. January 25, 2007. 
  36. ^ "Romney Attracts More of Bush's Top Donors Than Rivals (Update2)". Bloomberg. July 20, 2007. 
  37. ^ new York Times: "Publicity-Shy Giuliani Backer Is Thrust Into Spotlight" By MICHAEL COOPER and LESLIE WAYNE November 22, 2007
  38. ^ Andrew Malcolm, "Giuliani fundraiser was mystery initiative backer", Los Angeles Times, November 28, 2007
  39. ^ "Bush Visit May Boost Olmert". The New York Sun. 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  40. ^ Barbaro, Michael (June 25, 2011). "The Road to Gay Marriage in New York". The New York Times. 
  41. ^ "Schedule A Itemized Receipts - Committee: RESTORE OUR FUTURE, INC.". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  42. ^ Yang, Jia (11 October 2013). "Here’s who pays the bills for Ted Cruz’s crusade". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  43. ^ La Roche, Julia. "Hedge Fund Billionaire Paul Singer Gives Bernanke A 'D' Grade". Business Insider. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  44. ^ Singer, Paul (April 3, 2009). "Free-Marketeers Should Welcome Some Regulation". The Wall Street Journal. 
  45. ^ Johnson, Rob; Lynn Parramore (September 1, 2009). "Jim Chanos Warned Brown, Geithner, and Others about Coming Financial Crash in 2007". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 June 2013.