Stockpicker Sass in Spare Time Spins Off Funds Worth $30 Billion
Martin Sass manages $7 billion at M.D. Sass, the New York–based investment firm he started in 1972. When he’s not picking stocks, he has a sideline: seeding investment managers.
During the past 42 years, he’s helped launch and nurture 29 hedge funds, private-equity vehicles and investment strategies that oversee more than $30 billion, by his reckoning. “I did it before I even knew it was an incubator,” Sass, 72, says.
Among the firms Sass has invested in are Waterfall Asset Management LLC, an asset-backed hedge fund, and Amerra Capital Management LLC, a private-equity firm focused on agricultural commodities.
M.D. Sass now has a team of five people who scour Wall Street for talented managers and winning strategies, Bloomberg Markets will report in its February issue. Often, deals start with a couple of people who need capital and infrastructure to get an idea off the ground, Sass says. He meets with them to hear about their strategy. “Usually in the first 15 minutes, I can determine whether I’m going to be interested,” he says. “If we like what we see, we’ll seed them with capital and then grow it,” he says.
In 2006, the firm formalized the process of building and spinning off strategies in a partnership with Australia’s Macquarie Group Ltd. One of M.D. Sass-Macquarie Financial Strategies LP’s early investments was in New York–based Waterfall, which specializes in high-yield asset-backed securities and managed $3.7 billion as of July. Other ventures include New York–based Amerra, which manages about $1.1 billion, and HighTower Advisors LLC, a Chicago-based wealth management company.
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