Don’t buy all the hype on Paul Tudor Jones

Paul Tudor Jones 2-Faced

Start by watching the above. I did last night. I was actually pretty impressed. Paul Tudor Jones is worth about $4 billion, give or take (him personally). He’s at TED basically saying, “You know what? Capitalism has been great to me, but I think we need to rethink it, because it’s fundamentally ripping apart the fabric of our society.” I don’t know if society can be shredded by anything larger than war or genocide, per se, but in general I think income inequality is going to be the issue of the next 50 years (um, that and drought). You got people already saying our trust in each other — as humans — is inherently eroded, and I’m not sure what all happens when we start automating jobs left and right (if you think that’s not gonna happen, you’re wrong, because people will always chase profits over “I want my friends to have jobs and lives”).

So you got this mega-capitalist billionaire up there saying “The system that minted me is flawed,” right? And it seems kinda cool. But then you dig a little deeper. And it’s maybe one of those “rich people can often talk out of both sides of their mouth” situations.

About a week after his speech on the dangers of the 1 percent and their focus on money, what did he do? He bought a $71 million house in Palm Beach, FL.

Then there’s this:

In 2012, Mr. Jones cut the management fee for a new share class of Tudor BVI, reflecting investor concern about performance. The new shares cut the management fee to 2.75 percent from 4 percent while increasing the firm’s share of profits to 27 percent from 23 percent. Many hedge funds charge a 2 percent management fee and 20 percent of profits. William Spitz, the former vice chancellor for investments at Vanderbilt University, which has been a Tudor investor, said the firm’s fees were “quite high.” He said the firm responded to questions about the fees by arguing they were needed to pay for “a lot of highly compensated people, a large infrastructure to control risk, with a lot of back-office support and systems.”

Even the lower fee level of 2.75 percent is enough to bring the firm $283 million annually on the main fund alone.

Everything about this guy at this point makes me want to punch him in the neck.

Now … he does run the Robin Hood Foundation, which does big-money giving probably better than most — and has a glossy 60 Minutes piece to prove it.

He did raise his corporate giving from 1 percent of profits to 4 percent of profits. That mean seem like a lot, but it’s still a small amount in the grand scheme of things. And, while I don’t completely understand corporate and personal finance, I’m fairly sure it might actually benefit him to give away more of the profits — because someone’s coming for that money, be it the government or non-profits and foundations looking to pass the hat.

There’s also some whole thing with his wife and the yoga industry hating her.

This is what always bothers me about CEOs and extremely rich people: everyone secretly knows the real goal is money, more money, and multi-million Palm Beach waterfront homes. But that’s kinda gauche to always talk about, so instead we talk about “capitalism is failing society” and “let’s have a gala and have Eli Manning donate things” but really, let’s continue to chase our own bottom-line. This is the same kind of shit when a CEO discusses “employee engagement.” Most don’t care, or even understand it. But it’s an easier path to the side of the mountain than “Let’s talk about margins all day” and/or “Shit, we don’t really want to promote anyone to a higher salary, right?”

I think Paul Tudor Jones definitely does some great things, and “gets it” more than a lot of his similar 2,000 billionaires in the world. But don’t buy the hype. It’s a lot easier to preach compassion for those of us at rank-and-file level when you’re dropping $70 million that we’ll never see on a house.


Ted Bauer

One Comment

  1. I think your anger is slightly misdirected. After reading this and the linked content, I’d like to punch this two-faced son-of-a-bitch in the throat.

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