Universa's Mark Spitznagel Spreads His Wings
November 01, 2011
Spitznagel is looking to apply the skills he learned managing black swan funds to macro investing
In the late 1990s, Nassim Taleb had a radical new idea for an
investment strategy: He wanted to start a hedge fund designed
to lose money when the market went up. The appeal would be that
the fund would generate huge gains any time the market took an
unexpected hit. Taleb — a trader, writer, professor
and all-around renaissance guy — had the clout to get
financial backing for his idea, but he needed a partner of like
mind to help execute it. He found that in Mark Spitznagel, a
young trader known for his skill at minimizing losses.
Spitznagel was studying at New York University’s
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, where Taleb was
teaching. In 1999, the two founded hedge fund firm Empirica
Capital, which at its height had nearly $500 million under
||Mark Spitznagel: I
wanted to be away from Wall Street
Photograph by Catherine Ledner
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