An interview with billionaire quantitative investor and co-founder of AQR Capital Management, Cliff Asness. In this interview, Cliff discusses learning about and his views on free markets and quantitative investing. Cliff also talks about fighting Warren Buffett on Twitter and critiquing Obama.
Cliff Asness: Free Markets, Investing And Fighting Warren Buffett
We care very deeply at the Adam Smith society about cultivating the next generation of free market entrepreneurs. Financier’s business leaders thought leaders but we also think it’s very important to honor current business leaders who understand the tragedy of the free market both in our economic system and in our civic life. And to that end each year we hand out a principled leadership award to current business leader who embodies those principles. So I’d like to call to the stage now Manhattan Institute president Larry Môn who will present this evening’s Principled Leadership Award. Larry thank you everyone. It’s an honor to present Cliff asset’s with the Adam Smith society second annual principle leadership award the award honors thoughtful business leaders who understand the central city of the free market in both our economic system and in our civic life and no one embodies the spirit of this award better than Cliff essence. Cliff is well known as a quantitative trading pioneer and a very successful investor. His asset management firm AQR is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing with degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s more engineering school and the Wharton Business School and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago under the tutelage I might add of Nobel Prize winner Eugene Fama. His voice is one of the most respected in the finance community. In addition to running AQR chlef is also one of the few business leaders who also takes the time to defend and explain caplets and make the moral case for markets.
He sits on the boards of numerous prestigious journals and publishes many scholarly studies himself which he has received a number of awards whether it’s on the op ed pages of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers. His Cliff’s perspectives blog or his large Twitter followers clip is never shy about explaining how markets function and how they contribute to the well-being of mankind. We’ve been honored to publish a couple of his articles at City Journal in one of them titled businessmen defend myself. He noted how business leaders Democrats and Republicans need to do more to extol our free enterprise system and not apologize for it. He knows that every time they fail to do so quote more voters are lost to the falsehoods of ever bigger government anti business hysteria and class warfare. For his leadership in the investment community and his leadership in educating the public on the virtues of economic liberty it is our honor to present Cliff Asness with the Adam Smith society’s principle leadership award. Cliff please. Well deserved. And in a few moments we’ll have cliff with a senior fellow. Jim Copeland to engage in a conversation on economics and public life. Thank you sir. I asked for Vanessa but that’s ok. Oh sorry about that. But congratulations on the transfer leader support this year. It’s very well earned. And you know before we get into some of the the issues themselves. Let’s talk about your sort of foundations that gave you principle leadership. I mean we’re here with a bunch of MBA students. You were at the Wharton School undergrad you did the MBA PCN Chicago school. Where was your Free Market Foundation.
What gave you these principles what moved you about free markets it was probably the beginning of grad school for me before that I was apolitical and I my family probably would have called ourselves progressive Democrats. OK. We were we were Long Island Jews. We all were. That was just what we were. But so I would have probably said that as as just a reflex. But I had never really thought about anything. What’s really odd is my views which are not really. I hope they’ve evolved and I hope I’ve learned some stuff but I’ve not really changed in their core since I’ve been here. Grad school came when I arrived at Chicago and if I stopped there I think you’d imagine well I got into Eugene Fama Nobel laureates class or someone else.
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