The Fabulous Life And Career Of Legendary Trader Boaz Weinstein

Boaz Weinstein

Hedge fund manager Boaz Weinstein, the founder of Saba Capital, has garnered a lot of attention in the last couple of months. 

That’s because Weinstein has been identified as one of the people that got on the other side of JP Morgan’s disastrous $2 billion trading loss earlier this year.

Brilliant stuff, and it gets better…

We’ve learned that aside from being a legendary derivatives trader, Weinstein is also a chess prodigy with a killer personal life. 

Weinstein was born in the United States but he has Israeli roots.

His mother is Israeli and his dad is American.

Weinstein was born in the United States, but he says he's an Israeli in his heart.

Source: YNetNews

Neither of his parents worked on Wall Street, but his older sister is currently a top hedge fund recruiter.

His older sister Ilana, IDW Group founder and CEO, is one of the top hedge fund recruiters.

His father Stanford Weinstein ran an insurance brokerage firm in Brooklyn and his mother Giselle Weinstein worked in the Foreign Office in Jerusalem for a short period of time.

Source: YNetNews

He attended the prestigious Stuyvesant High School.

He grew up in the Upper West Side of Manhattan and attended Stuyvesant High School.

Source: YNetNews

When he was only 15 years old, Weinstein 'accidentally' scored an internship at Merrill Lynch.

Weinstein came across a Merrill Lynch recruitment ad posted on a bulletin board at school so he decided to give it a shot.

He added that at age 15 he had a 'very deep voice' and since he sounded so adult-like he was asked to make phone calls for the firm as an after school job and full-time during the summer.

Source: YNetNews

He started playing chess at age five and became a National Chess Master at 16.

Weinstein was enrolled in his first chess workshop at age five.

By the time he was 16, he had earned the title of National Chess Master.

He's also a talented blackjack and poker player.

Source: YNetNews

Source: The Alpha Masters

While he was at Stuyvesant, he won a stock picking competition.

In high school, he entered an eight-week stock-picking competition sponsored by New York Newsday. The competitors had to pick five stocks per week and whoever made the most money would win the contest.

Instead of going with the obvious stock picks a high schooler would likely choose (i.e. Wal-Mart or Nike), Weinstein said that he would scan the stock stables in The New York Times looking for the most the biggest losers and gainers, or the most volatile stocks. He said he randomly selected his stocks. It's unclear which ones he chose though.

He ended up making the most money and for winning the competition he got to visit the historic New York Stock Exchange where he gave a speech in front of senior members in one of the boardrooms.

Source: The Alpha Masters

After he graduated, he headed to the University of Michigan where he majored in Philosophy.

Instead of picking a typical Wall Streeter's major such as finance or economics, Weinstein decided to major in Philosophy.

He told YNetNews that he loved reading Aristotle, David Hume and René Descartes.

Source: YNetNews

Aside from being a chess prodigy, he's a talented blackjack and poker player. He's also been banned from a casino.

He has been banned from the Bellagio in Las Vegas for counting cards.

Source: New York Times

Warren Buffet invited him to play in a blackjack tournament.

He once played in a blackjack tournament with Warren Buffet in 2005.

He also won a Maserati.

Source: YNetNews

He failed to land a summer job at Goldman Sachs at first, but his chess playing helped him get one eventually.

When Weinstein was eighteen years old, he had trouble landing a summer job at Goldman Sachs where his sister Ilana worked.

After being turned down following an interview, he stopped by the bathroom where he bumped into fellow chess player David Delucia, a partner/ then-head of corporate bond trading, who helped arrange some additional job interviews until he landed an internship.

Weinstein worked at Goldman for three summers.

Source: YNetNews

Future hedge fund superstar David Tepper was at Goldman then, too. He used to mess with Weinstein a little bit.

When Weinstein was an intern under Delucia, David Tepper (who would later found Appaloosa Management) used to mess with him.

From The Alpha Masters:

'I don't really even think he was an intern,' says Tepper about Weinstein. 'I think he was just there to play chess with Delucia and I didn't understand it so I just have them so much shit about it. I used to be like, 'What the hell's this guy doin' here? Why's he hangin' around?'' he remembers. To kill time, some days Tepper would shout out trivia questions like, 'Guys, guess how many synagogues there are in Michigan?' and it would be Weinstein's job to look it up. 'This was before there was Google,' he laughs. 'But I would still always be right. I used to be very good at history.'

Source: The Alpha Masters

Weinstein joined Deutsche Bank in 1998 and eventually became the youngest managing director.

Weinstein joined Deutsche Bank in 1998 and worked there until 2009.

At age 27, Weinstein was promoted to managing director--the youngest MD in the bank's history.

Source: YNetNews

He only had one losing year at Deutsche and that was during the height of the financial crisis where he lost big time.

Weinstein is also associated with one of the largest trading losses in history.

In 2008, his unit lost 18% on $10 billion capital -- his only loss in his 11 years at the bank.

Source: YNetNews

Source: The Alpha Masters

In 2009, part of a previous agreement with the bank, Weinstein started up Saba Capital and it grew very quickly.

The bank allowed him to pick up his unit of traders and start Saba Capital Management.

Starting out with just $140 million Saba Capital quickly took off and grew its AUM to $3.3 billion in just two years.

The fund was recognised by AR Magazine and Weinstein was ranked No. 17 for Fortune Magazine's 40 Under 40 list in 2010 and 19th in 2011.

Saba currently has more than $5 billion AUM.

Source: The Alpha Masters

Saba is named after Weinstein's grandfather. He always wanted his office to be in the Chrysler Building.

Instead of naming his fund after a god, Weinstein decided to name it after his grandfather. Here's how he described him in YNetNews:

'Saba was a true survivor. He saved the lives of more than 20 people by building a double wall to hide them during the Gestapo raids in the Warsaw Ghetto. He saved the life of his baby daughter by sneaking her out of the ghetto at dawn when parents were ordered by the Nazis to bring over their children -- those children were sent to their death. Saba was sent to a labour camp that was building submarines near Gdansk at the Baltic Sea. He was able to escape just before all those slave laborers were drowned by the Nazis'

What's more is Weinstein said growing up he always wanted an office in Manhattan's Chrysler Building. Saba is located on the 58th floor of the famed sky scrapper.

Source: YNetNews

He's married to an attorney.

His wife Tali Farhadian works at the Department of Justice.

Source: YNetNews

They're just bought a Fifth Avenue apartment for $25.5 million.

He and his wife recently bought one of the three Upper East Side apartments owned by the late reclusive copper heiress Huguette Clark.

They paid $25.5 million for Clark's apartment on the top floor (the 12th) at 907 Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park. The unit's asking price was $24 million.

Source: Curbed

Weinstein recently surfaced earlier this year as one of the players on the other side of the trade that has creamed JPMorgan.

On May 10th, JPMorgan disclosed a $2 billion trading loss in the bank's Chief Investment Office in London related to derivatives.

Weinstein, a legendary derivatives trader who was once the co-head of credit trading at Deutsche Bank, was identified in media reports soon after as the man on the other side of the disastrous JPMorgan trade.

In early February at the Harbor Investment Conference held at JPMorgan's Park Avenue offices in New York, Weinstein recommended buying the Investment Grade Series 9 10-Year Index CDS, which is reportedly the same security the JPMorgan desk was short.

He was recently said to have exited those trades.

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