Billionaire fund manager Steve Cohen of family office Point 72 (former hedge fund SAC Capital) got pretty personal at the Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles on Monday.
During a talk about the future of hedge funds, he took us back to his childhood and what got him into trading stocks.
The first person he mentioned was his grandmother. She talked about stocks often enough to pique young Cohen’s interest.
Also, there was an African American woman who took care of him when his parents went on vacation alone — she had the investing bug.
Those two people were his first introduction to the market. After that, he would look at the stocks on the back of the sports page that his father was reading. Starting at 14, Cohen would hang out at brokerage firms — a habit he kept up through college.
There he was learning his “own way, but most of it was pattern recognition,” he said.
Not everyone on the panel caught the bug early. Cliff Asness of AQR Capital had to be convinced by his father to ditch law school and take the GMAT instead.
“I had an interest in candy [as a child],” he said.
Us too, Cliff, us too.