Steven Schonfeld is a hedge fund billionaire of a different breed.

He’s almost always in a hoodie, drawn from a closet full of them. He shuns the Wall Street crowd. You’ll never see him at a gala in Manhattan or at Davos or Aspen. Mostly he stays home in Old Westbury, New York.

“Between family, golf, gin rummy and friends, that’s my life,” Schonfeld, 60, said in an interview at his office in New York, wearing a black Supreme hoodie, sweatpants and running shoes. “I’m a homebody.”

Schonfeld also built a growing hedge fund business of a different sort. He picked a close friend from his days at Emory University and a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. alum to run it, serving as a mentor and having patience with their missteps. That engendered loyalty. In another unusual move, he let his quant traders keep what they cherish most -- intellectual property -- as long as they exclusively manage the firm’s capital.

The culture at Schonfeld Strategic Advisors, where traders strive for consistency rather than big wins and rarely get fired, has produced an enviable record in an industry struggling to outperform the broader market. The multi-manager firm has returned an annual average of roughly 20% over the past six years, almost double that of the S&P 500 Index, putting it in the top echelon of hedge funds.

“Any amateur can make money,” said Schonfeld, who talks in short, fast bursts. “But how you make it, and how consistent it’s going to be, are what matter.”

Schwarzman’s Neighbor
In other ways, “Schony,” as his gin pals call him, is just like any other tycoon. He’s worth about $1.3 billion, according to estimates by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He spent about $20 million to build a golf course, designed by Rees Jones, next to his Old Westbury estate. On Tuesday, he and his wife Brooke closed on a mega-mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Intercoastal Waterway on the other, for $111 million.

That plants the couple in the same neighborhood as fellow billionaires Ken Griffin, Paul Tudor Jones and Steve Schwarzman, as well as President Donald Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago resort is less than a mile north.

Schonfeld, who plans to remain a New York resident, rejected the notion that they bought the property to make a splash. He said he hopes the 10-bedroom, 84,626-square-foot estate will lure his three young daughters -- Sadie, Tyler and Hadley -- back home after they go to college.

If Schonfeld has a gift, it’s for numbers.

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