It takes hard work to climb atop the the hedge fund world’s highest earners list, but that’s just what David Tepper, through his $20 billion Appaloosa Management fund, has done in the last 20 years. Last year alone Tepper brought home $3.5 billion, making him the highest paid hedge fund manager for the second year in a row. Along the way, Tepper picked up more than a few life lessons, which he imparted to a packed ballroom at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on Wednesday for the 2014 SALT Conference. Here are some words to live by from the man widely regarded to have the best performance in the hedge fund industry.
1. “I was sick of that place. Most of the people who work there are sick of that place.”
On leaving Goldman Sachs in 1992 to start his own fund.
2. “My plan was to make $10 million in five years and then retire. But it turned out I made $20 million in the first two years, so it was just one of those classic Wall Street stories.”
Or maybe not so classic.
3. “Are you fucking kidding me? Of course I believe in that shit!”
On the existence and power of karma.
4. “There are always hiccups.”
Even when you make $20 million in your first few years.
5. “I love the game. I love winning the game.”
On what keeps him motivated.
6. “When I’m down 20%, that’s when you should give me your money.”
On his fund’s rebounding capabilities.
7. “They put the junk bond department by the women’s room because they wanted to hide it.”
At Goldman Sachs.
8. “I like some of my investors. Not all of them.”
Still, he makes them a very nice return.
9. “Wear sunscreen and be sure to do what you have a passion for — do what you love.”
On advice for young people.