A couple of years ago, still suffering in the depths of the Hedge Fund Dark Ages brought on by a man whose lack of chivalry irked him to no end, Leon Cooperman thought about hanging things up. He was 73, had through guile and frugality made himself a very rich man, and was none too pleased with the ingratitude of other people he’d made very rich. But then the SEC, acting on an unknowing tip from Cooperman’s son, decided it would try to make him retire, on account of the alleged insider-trading. To which Cooperman replied that regulators would have to pry the outside capital from his cold, dead hands.
Well, Leon Cooperman is not dead, and is feeling his least grumpy in years. That guy who wouldn’t name his granddaughter poet laureate has been replaced by a guy that maybe isn’t the best billionaire who could be president, but is at least a guy who returns Coop’s calls—calls him, in fact, seeking advice. The market is ripe with opportunity. And, most importantly, the SEC isn’t trying to kick him out of the hedge fund industry anymore. Which is great for Leon and Wayne Cooperman, but which also means the only reason the elder Cooperman continues to manage outside capital—spite—is no more. So he’s not gonna do it anymore.
Mr. Cooperman said his New York hedge fund, Omega Advisors Inc., which was founded in 1991, will now manage only his personal wealth. Mr. Cooperman, who regularly appears on financial television, said the decision was driven “solely by how I want to spend my remaining years….”
In the letter to clients, Mr. Cooperman wrote: “I turned 75 last April. It is my understanding that if you make it past 65 and cancer doesn’t get you, you can expect to live on average to 85. Hopefully, I can improve on that average, but in any event I don’t want to spend the rest of my life chasing the S&P 500 and focused on generating returns on investor capital.”