Who is Archegos fund manager Bill Hwang?
Billionaire founder of Tiger Asia was protégé of hedge-fund titan Julian Robertson
Losses at Archegos Capital Management have triggered the liquidation of positions approaching $30 billion in value, The Wall Street Journal has reported, and sent the shares of two major investment banks tumbling. Archegos is run by former Tiger Asia manager Bill Hwang. What do we know about Mr. Hwang?
Bill Hwang is a ‘Tiger cub.’
Mr. Hwang is a former protégé of hedge-fund titan Julian Robertson, who founded Tiger Management in 1980 and turned an initial $8.8 million investment from family and friends into nearly $22 billion before stepping back almost two decades later. A number of investors trained by Mr. Robertson who went on to start their own hedge-fund firms became known on Wall Street as the “Tiger cubs.”
Archegos is estimated to have managed about $10 billion.
Mr. Hwang managed around $10 billion of family money through Archegos. The firm made big bets on public stocks in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Unwinding of his positions caused sharp falls last week in many stocks, including ViacomCBS Inc. and Discovery Inc., even as broader markets rose.
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Bill Hwang previously ran Tiger Asia.
Mr. Hwang founded Tiger Asia Management LLC in 2001 with support from Mr. Robertson. The firm was based in New York and went on to become one of the biggest Asia-focused hedge funds, running more than $5 billion at its peak. In 2008, it was one of a swath of funds that suffered losses related to the soaring share price of Germany’sVolkswagen AG .
He paid to settle an insider-trading case.
In the summer of 2012, Tiger Asia said it planned to wind down and return outside capital to investors. Later that year, the firm pleaded guilty to a criminal fraud charge and agreed to pay $44 millionto settle civil allegations by U.S. securities regulators that it engaged in insider trading of Chinese bank stocks.
“Tiger Asia regrets the actions for which it accepts responsibility today and is grateful that this matter is now resolved and behind it in the United States,” Mr. Hwang said in a statement at the time.
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He turned Tiger Asia into his family office and renamed it Archegos, according to its website.
He wants his investments to benefit society.
Mr. Hwang is Christian and has spoken about his faith publicly. In an interview posted on YouTube in 2018, he said one of his goals was “trying to be a great investor.” He also said he was investing in companies that were benefiting society.
He recalled being a big investor in LinkedIn, which he described as helping people realize their job potential. “Do I think God loves it? Of course!” he said. “I’m like a little child looking for what can I do today, where can I invest, to please our God?”
He came to the U.S. from South Korea after high school.
Mr. Hwang, who is believed to be in his late 50s, immigrated to the U.S. after his senior year of high school in South Korea. He attended UCLA and later received an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. His father, a pastor, died at the age of 50, according to a 2018 interview with Mr. Hwang in the South Korean Kukmin Ilbo newspaper.
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The billionaire said in the interview that his business calamities a decade ago revived his interest in Christianity and that he uses his foundation to sponsor churches in the U.S. and South Korea. Tax documents for the foundation show that it has supported a variety of Christian, Korean and Asian-American causes in recent years.
“I’m decreasing the amount of money under my name, in order to do things that God loves,” he said in the 2018 interview. “I do it because I like God more than I like money.”