Chapter 2

Man versus Machine

Pierre Lagrange and Tim Wong

Man Group/AHL

I love what I do. I love finding investments that people have missed. I love the whole discussion and arguing cases with bright people, or reviewing an obscure company, or discovering the best way to play that macro thematic on demand in that country. And I just hate to take no for an answer.

—Pierre Lagrange, Founding Partner of GLG, May 6, 2011, interview

Observing the peerless dance duo Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers glide across the screen, the actress Katherine Hepburn reportedly decoded the duo’s brilliant chemistry, saying, “He gives her class and she gives him sex appeal.”

Those may not be the precise adjectives that come to mind when thinking about the Man Group’s 2010 blockbuster acquisition of GLG Partners, but they’re not far off; in creating one of the world’s largest hedge fund organization, with $69 billion in assets, each partner brought unique characteristics. In the Man Group, a company so old school it’s where the old school went to school, shareholders get the hardnosed quants who note every price fluctuation in every trend in order to patiently profit from the long-term trends. In GLG Partners, they get a star culture of investment gurus whose collective reputation for success attracted $30 billion in assets. Not class and sex appeal exactly; more like grit and glamour, patience and spark.

Opened as a sugar brokerage by barrel maker James Man in 1783, the company’s first break came a year ...

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