Julian Robertson

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Julian Robertson

Born(1932-06-25)June 25, 1932
DiedAugust 23, 2022(2022-08-23) (aged 90)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Occupation(s)Hedge fund manager and philanthropist
Josephine Tucker Robertson
(m. 1972; died 2010)

Julian Hart Robertson Jr. KNZM (June 25, 1932 – August 23, 2022)[1][2] was an American billionaire hedge fund manager, and philanthropist.

Robertson founded Tiger Management, one of the first hedge funds, in 1980. From its inception in 1980 to its 1998 asset peak, his fund returned 31.7% per year after fees, compared to a 12.7% annual return from the S&P 500 over the same period. However, a sharp decline thereafter led to the fund closing in March 2000. Tiger showed losses in only four of its 21 years.[3] Robertson later mentored and provided seed funding to many notable hedge fund managers, known as the Tiger cubs, including Ole Andreas Halvorsen, Stephen Mandel of Lone Pine Capital, Lee Ainslie of Maverick Capital, Bill Hwang, and Chase Coleman III.[4]

During his lifetime, Robertson contributed more than US$2 billion to charity. He was also a signatory to The Giving Pledge.[3] At the time of his death, his net worth was estimated at $4.8 billion.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Robertson was the son of Julian Hart Robertson Sr., a textile company executive, and Blanche Spencer, a local activist. He claimed that his father was a descendant of Pocahontas.[3] Robertson first became interested in stocks at age 6.[6]

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 and was a member of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps. He then served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, traveling the world aboard a munitions ship until 1957.[3]

After leaving the Navy, Robertson moved to New York City and worked for a time as a stockbroker for Kidder, Peabody & Company. At Kidder, he eventually headed the firm's asset management division, Webster Securities. In 1978, he took a sabbatical and moved with his family to New Zealand for a year to write a novel.[3]

Investment career[edit]

Kauri Cliffs Lodge near Matauri Bay

On his return to the United States, in 1980, with $8 million of funding from family, friends, and his own wealth, he founded Tiger Management.[3] The Tiger funds reached a peak of $22 billion in assets in 1998. Robertson's Tiger Fund accurately predicted the dot-com bubble, purposely underweighting the technology sector.[3] Tiger's largest holding was US Airways; it controlled 25% of the company. Its troubles led to significant losses for the fund. Tiger also realized significant losses in the Japanese Yen.[3][7] Such missteps ultimately led him to close his investment company in late March 2000, at the peak of the dot-com bubble, and return all outside capital to investors.[8][9][10]

Robertson said in 2008 that he shorted subprime securities and used credit default swaps to make a 76.7% return on investment in 2007. From the closure of his fund in 2000 until January 2008, his return on his personal fortune was 403%.[11] After closing his fund in 2000, Robertson supported and financed upcoming hedge fund managers in return for a stake in their fund management companies. Robertson later mentored and provided seed funding to many notable hedge fund managers, known as the Tiger cubs, including Ole Andreas Halvorsen, Stephen Mandel of Lone Pine Capital, Lee Ainslie of Maverick Capital, Bill Hwang, and Chase Coleman III.[12][13]

Robertson was an investor and developer in New Zealand and owned three lodges: Kauri Cliffs Lodge near Matauri Bay in Northland; Matakauri Lodge Queenstown; and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, as well as several wineries.[14]

Personal life[edit]


Julian married Josephine Tucker Robertson in 1972. She died in June 2010 from breast cancer. They had three children.[3][15][16][17]


In August 2010, Robertson signed The Giving Pledge, an initiative by software mogul Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett in which the wealthy pledge at least half their assets to charity.[18] He was involved in donating to several educational causes. Robertson was the founder and benefactor of the Robertson Scholars Program which awards a merit scholarship that provides four-year full-tuition, room, board, and travel funding for 36 Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students each year.[3] In April 2016, Robertson gave $25 million to Success Academy Charter Schools in New York.[19][20] In 2019, he donated $2.7 million to the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland.[21]

In 2009, it was announced that Robertson would donate art valued at $115 million to the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. The donation included works by Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Salvador Dalí, Georges Braque, André Derain, Fernand Léger, Pierre Bonnard, and Henri Fantin-Latour and was the largest of its kind in Australasia.[22] In May 2010, the New York Stem Cell Foundation, a private research institution, received a $27 million gift from Robertson to fund its research.[23]


While Robertson was a Republican, he urged the party to support clean energy policies and contributed $500,000 to the ClearPath Foundation in 2016.[24] Robertson supported the Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign, and Romney attended Robertson's 80th birthday party in 2012.[25] In January 2012, Robertson donated $1.25 million to Restore Our Future, a Super PAC supporting the Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign.[26][27] In 2015, Robertson gave $1 million to a Super PAC supporting the Jeb Bush 2016 presidential campaign.[28] Although Robertson did not support Donald Trump in the 2016 election, instead supporting libertarian Gary Johnson,[29] Robertson was a supporter of the presidency of Donald Trump and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[30] Robertson supported the estate tax.[31]


Robertson owned residences in Manhattan on Central Park South, Nassau County, Long Island, New Zealand, Sun Valley, and the Hamptons.[32] In 2020, Robertson completed construction of three new homes, each approximately 4,000 square feet, for his family in New Zealand.[33]

Robertson kept track of where he spent his time and won a legal case after he proved that he did not spend enough time in New York to be liable for income taxes in the state.[34]


Robertson died at his home in Manhattan on August 23, 2022, aged 90.[3]

Legacy and awards[edit]

In 2008, he was inducted into Institutional Investors Alpha's Hedge Fund Manager Hall of Fame.[35] Robertson was appointed an Honorary Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to business and philanthropy, in the 2010 New Year Honours,[36] and in 2017, he was one of nine people awarded a Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.[37]

Legal issues[edit]

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.[38][39][40][41][42][43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ La Roche, Julia (August 23, 2022). "Julian Robertson, founder of Tiger Management, dies at 90". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  2. ^ Zuckerman, Gregory; Chung, Juliet. "Hedge Fund Pioneer Julian Robertson Has Died at 90". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Hershey, Robert D. Jr. (August 23, 2022). "Julian Robertson, 90, Dies; Brought Hedge Funds into the Mainstream". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  4. ^ Yi, Yun (November 27, 2021). "CNBC Pro: 'Tiger Cubs' hedge funds are betting big on this year's hot IPOs, including Warby Parker and Ginkgo". CNBC.
  5. ^ "Forbes profile: Julian Robertson, Jr". Forbes. Retrieved August 24, 2022.
  6. ^ Griffin, Tren (August 23, 2022). "Opinion: Julian Robertson on how to make money — and avoid going bankrupt — in the stock market". MarketWatch.
  7. ^ Zuckerman, Laurence (September 23, 2001). "INVESTING: DIARY; Left Holding the Bag On US Airways Stock". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Smith, Dean (April 2, 2000). "PRIVATE SECTOR; Echoes of a Closing Door". The New York Times.
  9. ^ Walsh, Sharon; Swoboda, Frank (March 31, 2000). "Robertson To Close Tiger Funds". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Karchmer, Jennifer (March 30, 2000). "Tiger Management closes". CNN. Archived from the original on April 2, 2019.
  11. ^ O'Keefe, Brian (January 28, 2008). "Tiger's Julian Robertson Roars Again". CNN. Archived from the original on July 3, 2018.
  12. ^ "The Tiger and His Cubs". The New York Times. July 30, 2012. Archived from the original on April 14, 2017.
  13. ^ Copeland, Rob (November 8, 2015). "Hedge-Fund Prodigy Takes a $300 Million Hit". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017.
  14. ^ "'Part-Kiwi': Billionaire philanthropist with big links to NZ dies". NZ Herald. August 23, 2022.
  16. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths ROBERTSON, JOSEPHINE (JOSIE) TUCKER". The New York Times. June 10, 2010.
  17. ^ Turner, Brook (January 19, 2013). "Lunch with the AFR: Julian Robertson". Australian Financial Review.
  18. ^ Clark, Andrew (August 4, 2010). "US billionaires club together – to give away half their fortunes to good causes". The Guardian. Archived from the original on June 16, 2017.
  19. ^ Campanile, Carl (April 12, 2016). "Charter school network lands $25M donation from hedge fund". New York Post. Archived from the original on April 25, 2016.
  20. ^ Taylor, Kate (April 12, 2016). "Success Academy Charter School Network Receives $25 Million Gift". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 5, 2016.
  21. ^ Taylor, Phil (August 2, 2019). "New Zealand's benefactor Julian Robertson shows the love through $2.7 million gift". The New Zealand Herald.
  22. ^ Herrick, Linda (February 9, 2009). "Picassos among $115m gift to Auckland". NZ Herald. Archived from the original on February 16, 2018.
  23. ^ "Hedge-Fund Founder Bolsters Stem-Cell Research with $27 million Gift". The Wall Street Journal. May 14, 2010. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020.
  24. ^ Mider, Zachary (April 6, 2016). "A Billionaire Investor Joins Republican Clean-Energy Push". Bloomberg News.
  25. ^ Kaplan, Michael (October 4, 2012). "Julian Robertson's 80th Birthday Bash Sounds Like A Sick Party". Business Insider.
  26. ^ "Pro-Romney 'Super PAC' Spent $14 Million in January". The New York Times. February 20, 2012. Archived from the original on February 21, 2012.
  27. ^ Politi, James (March 16, 2021). "Romney backer is double-edged sword". Financial Times.
  28. ^ "Million-Dollar Donors in the 2016 Presidential Race". The New York Times. August 25, 2015. Archived from the original on July 11, 2018.
  29. ^ Wang, Christine (October 26, 2016). "Julian Robertson says Clinton presidency is 'a tragedy that is going to happen'". CNBC.
  30. ^ Kim, Tae (June 14, 2018). "Hedge fund billionaire Julian Robertson: Trump is doing an 'excellent job,' deserves more credit". CNBC.
  31. ^ Giannone, Joseph A. (July 21, 2010). "Rubin, Robertson want U.S. estate tax reinstated". Reuters.
  32. ^ Wile, Rob (March 14, 2012). "How Wealthy New Yorkers Dodge Taxes". Business Insider.
  33. ^ Vora, Shivani (February 18, 2020). "What's Better Than One Family Home in New Zealand? Three of Them". The New York Times.
  34. ^ Pressler, Jessica (November 5, 2009). "Julian Robertson Has Troubles With Car Service, Voice Mail, Wife". New York.
  35. ^ "Cohen, Simons, 12 Others Enter Hedge Fund Hall". Institutional Investor. September 23, 2008. Archived from the original on June 16, 2019.
  36. ^ "New Year Honours: Full 2010 list". The New Zealand Herald. December 31, 2009. Archived from the original on February 10, 2011.
  37. ^ FORD, CELESTE (June 22, 2017). "Announcing the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy Recipients". Carnegie Corporation of New York (Press release).
  38. ^ Garigliano, Jeff (June 1, 1997). "Steep libel claims raise concerns". Folio: The Magazine for Magazine Management. p. 19. Archived from the original on October 27, 2020.
  39. ^ Reilly, Patrick M. (April 4, 1997). "Investor Robertson files papers signaling intent to sue Business Week for $1 billion". The Wall Street Journal.
  40. ^ "Business Week Agrees to Settle Libel Suit Brought by Investor". The Wall Street Journal. December 18, 1997.
  41. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (November 3, 1997). "Publication Date Open to Dispute in Internet Age". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  42. ^ Truell, Peter (December 18, 1997). "The Media Business; Investor Settles Libel Suit Against Business Week". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015.
  43. ^ Weiss, Gary (April 1, 1996). "Fall of the Wizard". Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on December 16, 2009.

Further reading[edit]

  • Strachman, Daniel A. (2004). Julian Robertson: A Tiger in the land of Bulls and Bears. New York: Wiley

External links[edit]