David Rocker

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This article is about an American businessperson. For the American football player, see David Rocker (American football).

David A. Rocker (born 1943)[1][2] is the founder of the hedge fund Rocker Partners, LP (now known as Copper River Management, LLC), and former columnist for TheStreet.com. After founding Rocker Partners in 1985, Rocker built the firm into one of the largest hedge funds specializing in short selling.[3]

Rocker holds a magna cum laude bachelor's from Harvard College and a master's of business administration from Harvard Business School.[4] Rocker and his wife, Marian, reside in Short Hills, NJ, and Key Biscayne, FL.[5] He has two sons: Daniel is a trader at hedge fund Zimmer Lucas Partners, Joshua is an emergency room pediatrician.[6]

Early life and career[edit]

Rocker's grandparents were Austrian and Russian immigrants. His father was an accountant in West Orange, NJ, where Rocker was raised and married his high school sweetheart, Marian. After graduating from Harvard College and before getting his MBA from Harvard Business School, Rocker served for two years as an officer in the US Navy.[7]

In 1969, Rocker joined Mitchell Hutchins, where he was a research analyst and investment banker. In 1972, he hired on at Steinhardt, Fine, Berkowitz & Co., a pioneering hedge fund, and was a general partner there from 1973 to 1981.

Rocker joined Century Capital Associates, an investment adviser firm, in 1981. At Century, he was an analyst and portfolio manager for institutional clients. Rocker managed over $600 million in assets while at Century.[4]

Rocker Partners[edit]

Rocker left Century Capital Associates after it was acquired and formed Rocker Partners in 1985, based in Millburn, NJ. During his time at Rocker Partners, he was an online contributor on RealMoneyPro.com [8] and quoted in Business Week for his opinions on stocks.[9] In 2002, he appeared with Jim Cramer on CNBC's Kudlow and Cramer.[10]

As part of Rocker Partners, Rocker opened a British Virgin Islands fund, Compass Holdings Ltd, as well as Helmsman Holdings, which was later folded into Compass. He also founded Contra Strategic Short Fund LP, based in the United States.[11]

In 2003, Rocker testified on the industry before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises.[3] In 2005, Rocker was named as a defendant in a lawsuit from Overstock.com.[12] In December 2009, the suit against Rocker, whose name had since been changed to Copper River Partners, was settled by the hedge fund agreeing to pay $5 million.[13]

In 2004, Rocker funds were down to less than $400 million in assets, down by half of its previous high figure. However, in 2005, Rocker Partners netted 46%, and total assets rose to $1.3 billion. Annualized returns since inception was about 11% at the end of 2005, when it had 12 employees.[14]

Rocker Partners is now incorporated as Copper River Management, LLC. Rocker's former co-manager at the firm, Marc Cohodes, fully assumed managerial duties after Rocker's retirement in early 2007.[15]

According to Richard Sauer, hired by Copper River after his departure, Copper River shut down in 2008 due to the bankruptcy of Lehman UK (which prevented access to $100 million of Copper River's assets) and to the actions of the SEC to limit the holding of short positions in the market and of Copper River's Prime Broker (Goldman Sachs) in response to the SEC's emergency rules.[16]


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