Is This Kid The Next Tim Sykes?

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Probably not, considering he seems to lack the same fame-whore sheen as Timbo but you must understand that when any college student is running a hedge fund out of his dorm room, we have to ask. To that end, we should probably wonder aloud to ourselves, is Merritt Graves the next Ken Griffin? And which is a bigger insult (just busting your hump KG, you know we love and have full faith a victory lap is in Citadel's future)? One way Graves, profiled by Institutional Investor this month, is different than the Griffster, Sykes, and other investors who got their start at a young age, II somewhat passive aggressively points out, is that MG isn't some little rich boy whose parents and friend tossed skrilla at and said "have fun." Also, he made money last year.


Graves got $7,000 during his sophomore year of high school from "a local day trader" named Jeff Larson who "saw something special" in the kid. The 7-large was promptly lost, which hurt but made a man out of him. Now, in addition to attending Pomona College, Graves manages Caelum Capital, a five-man $4.7 million long/short equity fund. He returned 174.1 percent in 2007, 40.6 percent in 2008 and, according to II "called the subprime mortgage crisis and its impact as early as 2005 and predicted the severe stresses that hit the banking sector in 2008."
There doesn't seem to be much of anything to make fun of the li'l fella (who in fourth grade baked cookies that he sold in the teacher's lounge until the school shut him down) for, which you know is tough for us, so we'll just make ourselves useful by shilling the kid. If anyone is interested in getting a piece of this (essentially) pre-teen action, and has a few shekels to spare, Big G is looking grow Caelum's AUM to $25 million or so over the next year. No promises on how the investment will turn out but for the time being you can probably expect that you'll probably get a sincere letter of contrition if it turns out badly ("You definitely think about the people you are responsible for and the investors who are counting on you," says Graves). Here's hoping he blows up enough to start sending out "I'm not wrong, the markets are wrong" non-apologies and responding to redemption requests with offers of toxic waste. That's when we'll know he's made it big.

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