We don’t know much about Ross Berman. He’s a hedge fund consultant. He’s run a couple of his own, even. According to LinkedIn, he went to the University of Wisconsin and grew up in the village next to the one I grew up in on Long Island. Pretty standard stuff, really.
Now, he’s president and chief strategy officer at Tourbillon Capital Partners, which is well on its way to a third straight down year and recently had clients politely request the return of $1.4 billion of the $3.4 billion they had left with the firm after losses of 9% in 2016 and 14% last year. That seems fairly par for the course, a solid hire by a struggling hedge fund and a reasonable next step for a guy who closed his last one two years ago. But actually, it gives us much greater insight into Berman than you might expect. For when Tourbillon founder Jason Karp worked for a little outfit called SAC Capital Advisors, he learned that the only way to really vet a potential hire was to have that person comprehensively interrogated by someone who learned the art at the Central Intelligence Agency. So we know that, before taking the reins from Amy Zipper, Berman submitted to a “three-step personality exam that’s conducted by a former CIA interrogator,” which may or may not involve waterboarding, and apparently made the mental grade. So, uh, congrats on the new gig, and on the leg up you’ll have on fellow applicants for your next job, at Citadel.