Average Annualised Returns: 31.7% per year after fees between 1980 and 1998
After graduating from UNC in 1955 and a couple years in the Navy, Julian Robertson started his career at Kidder, Peabody & Co. During his twenty-year career he became one of the top producers and eventually became head of Webster Management Corporation, Kidder Peabody’s money management arm. Due to his ability to pick stocks, friends and co-workers sought his investing advice gave him money to manage. After leaving Kidder Peabody and spending a year in New Zealand, Robertson launched Tiger Management in 1980 with $8M.
Tiger management had the best record on the street during the 80s and 90s earning him the nickname the “Wizard of Wall Street.” His success also helped his fund grow from $8MM in 1980 to $23BN at its peak.
During the beginning years Tiger was a fundamental long/short equity hedge fund. Managers oversaw different industries and made recommendations but Robertson had final say. The firm made large bets where they had conviction and each manager commonly covered less than ten long and shorts. Positions were continuously revisited and if things changed there were no holds-positions were either added to or removed. For years, no one could out pick Robertson.
In a bid to be able to deploy more capital and make bets on larger fundamentals, Robertson added macro trading as a significant part of the fund strategy. One of the earliest and most famous of his investments was betting against copper. The bet took years to pay off and took out several other high profile macro traders including Soros.