Hopes were high for commodities hedge fund Arbalet Capital and its 30-year-old leader Jennifer Fan. Reuters reports the firm generated upwards of $700 million for its 2012 launch, which was one of the largest start-ups that year. After posting a 9 percent loss for 2012 and showing signs of weakness in Q1 of 2013, the fund is set to close before the start of 2014.
Reuters notes that investors such as New Finance Capital and Maryland’s state pension fund withdrew their investments citing doubts about firm’s strategy and risk profile. Other institutional investors have followed in kind, leaving Arbalet Capital with approximately $200 million in assets under management. The U.S. credit crisis of 2008 changed the dynamics of the financial industry. Hedge funds face stiff competition for every investment dollar, and clients do not have a tolerance for mediocre or poor returns.
Many ask how Fan was able to start Arbalet Capital at such an early age and inspire the confidence to raise approximately three quarters of a billion dollars. She graduated from New York University at 19-years-old and started her career as an intern with Bank of America. From there, she worked for various firms advancing her career one step at a time. Through diligence and merit she was able to attain the skills and reputation to start a major hedge fund. This is an astounding feat that is admirable regardless of one’s chosen profession.
Career Lessons Learned
Starting at the bottom of an organization and working upwards is not easy. However, learning the business from the ground-up is a time-tested way to gain the insight needed to make effective decisions later in one’s career. Fan leveraged her drive and intelligence at each organization she worked for to advance her position. While networking and connections are touted by many as the best way to attain a job at a hedge fund, there is no substitute for hard work and filling one’s resume with merits.
Though Arbalet Capital is set to close its shop, there are lessons to be learned for those seeking to improve their careers and resumes. Age is not always the best determinant of skill or merit, and there is value in taking lower level positions and working upwards. Failures occur in everyone’s career, which makes it important to bounce back quickly and continue moving forward.