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Cliff Asness’s Boyhood Pursuits: Girls, Comic Books, Beatdowns

asness_batman.jpgIn writing about hedge fund managers and other celebs in the world of finance, sometimes I find myself wondering what these men were like as children, before the billions, and the bitches, and the fleece. I’m pretty sure Ken Griffin carried a briefcase to school starting at the age of 5, and the 12 year-old Jim Simons was a lot like the 72 year–old one we know today– bearded and chain smoking a pack of Pall Malls. Stevie didn’t develop a taste for the finer things in life (fleece) until college, preferring until then to swath himself exclusively in silk. And so on and so forth. But what of Biff Basness? I’ve had some difficulty getting a good picture of the AQR founder in my head. Luckily, a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter Scott Patterson, The Quants, sheds a little light.

As a child, Clifford Scott Asness gave no sign of his future as a Wall Street tycoon. He was born in October 1966 in Queens, New York. When he was four, his family moved to the leafy suburban environs of Roslyn Heights on Long Island. In school Asness received good grades, but his interest in Wall Street didn’t extend beyond the dark towers of Gotham in the pages of Batman. Obsessed with little besides girls and comic books, Asness was a listless teenager, without direction and somewhat overweight. At times he showed signs of a violent temper that would erupt years later when he sat at the helm of his own hedge fund. Once a chess team rival taunted him in the school’s parking lot about a recent match.

That’s when things got real.

Enraged, Asness seized his tormentor and tossed him into a nearby van, over and over again.

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32 Responses to “Cliff Asness’s Boyhood Pursuits: Girls, Comic Books, Beatdowns”

  1. guest says:

    at TCW i beat someone with a dilly- top that- jeff g.

  2. guest says:

    Checkmate you say? I'll show you checkmate m'fer!

  3. guest says:

    'somewhat overweight'…

  4. Pfluger the Barbaria says:

    I liked his role in the movie "Watchmen."

  5. guest says:

    i hate dis guy.
    -CG (The chess team rival)

  6. guest says:

    yeah, right he did. I'm sure a few "witnesses" have been paid to give Biff's some street cred.
    "Chess player beatdown" is like Bunny Mellon v. Anthony Marshall.

  7. Anal_yst says:

    you vicious animal liar beth levin!

  8. guest says:

    @7 were they the same ppl paid off to tell the reporter CA was a tubby comic-book nerd?

  9. guest says:

    Scimatar needs to have his own website, funniest stuff ive read on this site, besides Bess of course….

  10. guest says:

    Wow – that "chess" rival must have been tough!

  11. guest says:

    He's 43? Must be dog years based on how he looks.

  12. guest says:

    Picture him more along the lines of Robin.

  13. guest says:

    Wow – that “chess” rival must have been tough!

  14. guest says:

    Wow – that “chess” rival must have been tough!

  15. guest says:

    “Once a chess team rival taunted him in the school’s parking lot about a recent match”
    In the words of Ogre: “NERDS!”

  16. guest says:

    A reminder: It’s “Dr.” Cliff Asness, …Please carry on….

  17. guest says:

    beth, I’m going to beat you against my van tonight.
    -biff

  18. guest says:

    “Once a chess team rival taunted him in the school’s parking lot about a recent match”
    In the words of Ogre: “NERDS!”

  19. guest says:

    Bullshit story. Assness is a punk. This geek has no balls outside his little fiefdom called AQR. There is a reason the whole place is filled with spineless yesmen. Assness’s insecurity wouldn’t let him keep anyone who might challenge him.
    This fat slob couldn’t even walk up to his third floor office without taking a bacon break.

  20. guest says:

    Hey 10, 12, 13 – Do you think the chess “rival” was tough?

  21. guest says:

    @21: challenge. His lutz must require SOME level of athleticism.

  22. guest says:

    @21 – there is nothing wrong with a bacon break
    -tribe member

  23. guest says:

    @21 tell us more, aqr employee.

  24. guest says:

    Bacon break – that’s an AWESOME idea. Think I’ll head down to the deli and get me some.

  25. guest says:

    This guy is the worst.

  26. guest says:

    What were Frazzi’s boyhood pursuits?

  27. guest says:

    Van?? Wow, he must have been a real bad-assness. Was it the “Mystery Machine”? No wait, he wasn’t driving until the mid-80’s so that sweet shaggin’ waggin’ must have been a Chrysler Town & Country.

  28. guest says:

    we called him “fatty piggly wiggly” on pizza Friday. AQR peeps know what’s up.
    true story.

  29. guest says:

    stupid story.

  30. guest says:

    31 = cliff

  31. guest says:

    I thought his wife laurel fraser was going to be uber goy when I read she was the daughter of a minister from some corn fed environs, then I got a look at her at Greenwich hospital function….my yiddishah momma

  32. guest says:

    I thought his wife laurel fraser was going to be uber goy when I read she was the daughter of a minister from some corn fed environs, then I got a look at her at Greenwich hospital function….my yiddishah momma