Occasionally you hear complaints from the hedge fund industry about public relations challenges. But Paul Singer – whose reputationprecedes him more than any other hedge funder – isn't griping. Asked by David Rubinstein Wednesday at the Bloomberg Invest event whether he regrets his image as a “tough person,” Singer had this to say:
What I've learned over the years is to not care too much about opprobrium and unfair press. There's a part of this equation that's functional. In other words, if that's the reputation we have...it's good when a corporate executive opens the mail or the email or picks up the phone and listens with the understanding that we are real, that we have the capacity to carry through and the history of carrying through with the projects that we undertake.
It's evident that Singer's got some diabolical cred. In the most recent example of his gifts at work, he managed to mentally jiu-jitsu his target CEO into getting himself fired.
But in the same interview with Rubinstein Wednesday, Singer took the battle-hardened, no-bullshit reputation he's spent the last 40 years crafting and eviscerated it with just four words: all-white reggae band:
SINGER: I've been in a number of bands, amaeteur bands of course. I play with musicians now...I started taking piano lessons when I was 10 years old, and started becoming interested in playing rock and blues and honky-tonk piano when I was 11 years old. I've been in reggae bands, blues bands, rock bands...
RUBINSTEIN: Were you the only white guy in the reggae bands?
SINGER: Sadly the reggae band I was in was all-white.
RUBINSTEIN: All-Jewish, too.
SINGER: It was a Fake News reggae band.
(If he really were a true rude boy, he would have said they were all bald-heads [which probably would have been true].)
RIP, Elliott Capital Management, felled by the mental image of Paul Singer in a Jamaican-flag rastacap banging away at the chords to “Jammin'” in an incense-filled Greenwich rumpus room. It was a good run.