Money manager who predicted the dotcom crash dies at 79

BARTON BIGGS, the money manager whose attention to emerging markets during a 30-year career at Morgan Stanley made him one of the first global investment strategists, has died, according to a memo to employees from the Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive officer, James Gorman. He was 79.

BARTON BIGGS, the money manager whose attention to emerging markets during a 30-year career at Morgan Stanley made him one of the first global investment strategists, has died, according to a memo to employees from the Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive officer, James Gorman. He was 79.

Biggs died on July 14, the memo obtained by Bloomberg News, said.

Jeanmarie McFadden, a spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley, confirmed the contents of the memo to employees.

Biggs predicted the bull market in US stocks that began in 1982 and warned investors away from Japanese shares in 1989 before they collapsed.

He sealed his fame telling investors to sell technology stocks as they soared in the late 1990s, a judgment dismissed by the press and other investors until the dot-com bubble burst.

After retiring from Morgan Stanley in 2003 at 70, he started Traxis Partners, a hedge fund, with two other Morgan Stanley alumni.

While he was blindsided by the credit crisis that sent the S&P 500 in 2008 to its biggest annual decline since 1937, he correctly called the bottom in US stocks in March 2009, and Traxis's flagship fund returned three times the industry average in 2009.

Biggs sold stocks at Traxis in September last year and July 2010 just before gains of more than 20 per cent in the S&P 500, adding them back as the rallies progressed.

"He has a strong constitution for standing away from the crowd," Ed Hyman, the chairman and founder of Institutional Strategy & Investment, said in a 2009 interview. Hyman, an investor in Traxis, played tennis with Biggs.

Biggs largely invented the role of chief global strategist, which he assumed at Morgan Stanley in 1985, said Stephen Roach, who joined the company as an economist in 1982 and became the chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia.

"When I joined Morgan Stanley, we were a US-centric business, and within three years, he said, 'Look, I'm going to step down as US strategist and redefine myself as a global strategist," Roach said.

"He was way ahead of the pack in discovering and committing himself personally to being one of Wall Street's first global investors and global strategists."

Bloomberg

Related Articles