The Business On... Bill Winters, Founder, Renshaw Bay
Friday 18 February 2011
Renshaw Bay? Never heard of it
That is because Mr Winters only founded it yesterday. He is putting up half the money; rich investors Jacob Rothschild and the South African billionaire Johann Rupert are putting up the rest. Eighteen months after he was unceremoniously fired as co-head of JPMorgan Chase's investment bank, we now have an answer to what one of the City of London's top bankers is going to do next. He is setting up a hedge fund.
Ah yes, the firing
One of the more shocking departures of recent years. Mr Winters was very well-respected and, in his understated way, had earned the loyalty of his UK staff. Born in Connecticut and educated in international relations, he originally wanted to be a diplomat, working as a bottle-washer in Croatia before plumping for finance. After almost two decades in the UK, he has joint British-American citizenship.
And a strong record, right?
He was instrumental in steering JPMorgan away from the risky financial derivatives that sank almost the rest of the industry.
Knows a thing or two about risk, then?
Well, he did help to invent those derivatives, as a 30-something whizzkid in his early days at JPMorgan. Just before he got canned, Mr Winters made headlines for saying "greedy bankers" caused the credit crisis; in the next breath he added "inept risk managers" to his list of villains.
Do we know why he got fired?
Jamie Dimon didn't see him as a potential successor to the top job at the whole banking group, partly because Mr Winters wanted to stay in investment banking, partly because of simmering tensions between New York HQ and his increasingly autonomous European power base.
Opportunities for revenge?
Mr Winters is on the UK's independent banking commission, which could decide to force the break-up of too-big-to-fail banks such as JPMorgan. So, yes, a few.
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