body bags

May 2010, Structured Portfolio Management founder Don Brownstein is said to “walk around [a] crowded conference room table while slapping the palm of his hand with a baseball bat, stopping behind [a trader] while stating, ‘I’ll kill you if you leave. The only way you can leave this firm is in a body bag.’” January 2012, Millenium Laboratories really cranks things up a notch re: suggestion of what fate will befall people who attempt to leave their company: Read more »

One of the most difficult and important part of being a hedge fund manger is the constant need to come up with new, outside the box ideas. This is, of course, crucial specifically with regard to investment ideas but also just generally, there is the never-ending pressure to maintain freshness in all matters of business. For instance, keeping employees motivated, hungry and on their toes. If you’re Don Brownstein, you (allegedly) “walk around a crowded conference room table while slapping the palm of [your] hand with a baseball bat, stopping behind traders while stating ‘The only way you can leave this firm is in a body bag.’” If you’re another luminary of the investing world, you go with white board markers as a means of positive or negative reinforcement, one marker good, two markers bad, respectively. If you’re John Duffield, who is being sued by a former employee for bullying, you suggest that the staff you employ does not act in compliance with the law and wonder aloud a) how they can look themselves in the mirror and b) whether or not they have any remorse for disappointing you, ’cause they should. Read more »

Earlier this year, Bloomberg Markets magazine named Don Brownstein, former philosophy professor and founder of Structured Portfolio Management the best performing large hedge fund manager of 2010, having returned 49.5 percent (after 134.6 percent in 2009). Now a lawsuit by one of his former traders, Jeffrey Kong, is shedding light on some of the secrets to Brownstein’s success, which may have involved referencing scenes from The Untouchables over the course of a trading day, like the when he would allegedly conduct staff meetings by walking around conference room tables slapping a baseball bat in his palm and threatening to murder people. Read more »