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Opinion

Hedgie’s wrestling tip: hold

Hedge fund managers have plenty to grapple with right now, not least how to hold their clients in the two and 20 position.

But that clearly was not enough for one leading hedgie, who has helped produce one of the most impressive returns in sporting history: that of wrestling to the Olympic Games.

Michael Novogratz is president of Fortress Investment Group and a former Goldman Sachs partner. His CV also includes being on the wrestling team at Princeton University.

Wrestling had initially been dropped by the International Olympic Committee from the 2020 games, recently awarded to Tokyo, because of concerns about the need to modernize the sport, notably in its scoring system, which was seen as opaque and open to corruption.

That prompted a big campaign to reinstate wrestling, which had to compete for a berth with baseball and squash.

Novogratz swung into action, becoming the spokesman for the Committee for Preservation of Olympic Wrestling, and raising millions of dollars from peers on Wall Street to fight the cause.

Novogratz said back in February: "It’s not in a wrestler’s DNA to hop on a plane and kiss a lot of ass, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do." It’s not a manoeuvre you’ll find in the training manuals, either.

One key issue was how fights were decided in the event of a tie. Novogratz slammed this into submission. "It drove every wrestling fan crazy that we were literally ending matches in coin flips," he told CNBC.

Rumours that this is exactly how many hedge fund managers make their investment decisions are, we are reliably informed, false.

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