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Morgan Stanley Buying A Bit Of the Hog

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Increasingly, it seems that the way up on Wall Street is reached via an exit ramp. There was a time when leaving Wall Street’s big firms to launch a small investment fund was viewed as a way of getting off the fast track. It may have been bold or it may have been a semi-retirement but it was seldom seen as a way of climbing upwards. Last year, however, things began to shift as Wall Street firm began buying hedge funds and hiring their managers to take over their own alternative management division. Suddenly the path to the top of the firm—or at least, the path to serious riches—led through places with names like Old Lane.
The latest version of this story comes from in the form of news that Morgan Stanley is in talks to buy a minority stake in Traxis Partners LLC, a $1.5 billion hedge fund run by the investment bank’s former chief strategist, Barton Biggs. The outspoken Biggs is a frequent guest on CNBC and the author of tell-all Hedgehogging. During his thirty years at Morgan Stanley, he became a well-known figure to many on Wall Street.
He comes from Wall Street blood. His father was chief investment officer of Bank of New York. After Yale, where he studied under the poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren, Biggs taught English at a prep school and wrote some short fiction. In 1961, he joined EF Hutton. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1973. He left the firm in 2003 to start Traxis.
He was well-liked by brokers and traders at Morgan Stanley.
"Barton Biggs was a joy to listen to every morning," one former broker tells us. "I felt like I got smarter just listening to him. He was one of those guys who seemed to have it all together. He had an amazing grasp of everything that was happening in the markets. He was an optimist, even in the dark, cold winter of 2001."
Traxis reportedly faired decently in August, losing just 2.5 percent for the month. It’s up about 9 percent this year, according to the Financial Times.
Morgan in talks over Traxis stake [Financial Times]