Photo: Charlie Rose via YouTube
Barton Biggs, the former Chief Global Strategist for Morgan Stanley, has died after a short illness, CNBC reported this morning, citing a memo from the bank’s CEO James Gorman. He was 79. Biggs, born in 1932, had a Wall Street career nothing short of illustrious.
Graduating from Yale in 1955, Biggs did a stint as an English teacher at the Landon School in Bethesda, MD while playing semi-professional soccer and trying to write “the great American Short Story,” Bloomberg reported in 2006.
In 1961 he joined E.F. Hutton at a salary of $7,200 a year.
Biggs moved to Morgan Stanley in 1973 as a managing director and partner (the first ever to be brought in from outside of the firm). He went on to form the firm’s research department and served as its Chief Global Strategist until he retired in 2003.
Upon his retirement Biggs founded the Connecticut-based hedge fund Traxis Partners, telling Bloomberg in 2006 that he had no interest in typical retirement activities. From Bloomberg:
So why plunge into such a maelstrom in your eighth decade? Biggs says he was ready to leave Morgan Stanley but not to retire — no interest in golf or “cruises to the Greek Isles.” Above all, he adds, “I was doing it because professional investing is the best game in the world, and I relished the competition.”
His influence was profound over the latter portion of the twentieth century; SmartMoney wrote, “It wouldn’t be a stretch to say Biggs wrote the book on emerging-market investment.” Biggs also called the tech bubble over a year before it burst.
To the public, Biggs was known (and loved) for his regular appearances on CNBC.
Although he never did write the “The Great American Short Story” Biggs did author several books on the industry, including the critically acclaimed “Hedgehogging,” “A Hedge Fund Tale of Reach and Grasp,” and “Wealth, War and Wisdom.”
He had three children and nine grandchildren.