Former Hedge Fund Manager Tom Steyer Would Like to Be President

October 17, 2019 | Hedge Funds, Insights, News

Who is Tom Steyer again (asks a CNN audience)?

Tom Steyer, the energy-investing billionaire turned environmentalist “anti-billionaire,” hit the debate stage for the first time this week.

The 62-year-old hedge fund manager turned activist has called for Donald Trump’s impeachment. He has also pledged $100 million of his own money for the Democratic nomination.

The Steyer campaign has spent $47 million on operating expenses during the third quarter, according to filings. That figure was more than double what the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) spent during the same period.

All told, his spending equated to about $37,000 for every word he said during the debate on Tuesday night.

“Billionaire Tom Steyer appeared on the Democratic presidential debate stage for the first time Tuesday night, but voters in early states have already seen him on TV thousands of times,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Now, his campaign is flooding early voting states to promote his long-shot bid.

“Since entering the race in July, Mr. Steyer has spent more than $26 million on TV ads, airing more than 53,000 spots in markets that reach Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada voters. All told, that is more than six times as many as the rest of the Democratic field combined,” the same report said.

How Tom Steyer Made His Money

Bernie Sanders and several other candidates have taken a hardline approach to economics.

Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have questioned the morality of billionaires existing. When debating income inequality, he didn’t bring up his own wealth. Instead, Steyer claimed that 90% of Americans have not received a raise in the last 40 years. That claim received a “Half True” rating from Politifact.

So, Steyer might have looked a little out of place on Tuesday night.

Expect Sanders and Warren to Bring “This” Up

Given that Michael Bloomberg and Howard Schultz have both stayed out of the race, Steyer is in rare company. He is the first billionaire to every challenge a sitting billionaire president.

When people ask: Who is Tom Steyer? – the answer usually turns to his career.

While Trump made his money largely through real estate dealings, Steyer earning his through finance. Steyer started his career in M&A at Morgan Stanley before earning an MBA at Stanford University. Following a stint at Goldman Sachs, he worked in private equity in San Francisco. He would go on to launch the hedge fund Farallon Capital in 1986.

Steyer has evolved into a staunch environmentalist over the last 30 years. Earlier this decade, he pledged $100 million to elect Democrats who opposed the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

However, his stint at Farallon has drawn attention from conservatives and liberals alike over the hedge fund’s investments in fossil fuels. The hedge fund engaged in acquisitions of coal assets in Indonesia and Australia, according to Reuters. Assets in the former country have produced a significant amount of coal burned by China. Those assets included the financing of PT Bumi Resources and Adaro Energy.



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