Founder and Managing Partner • S3 Partners • New York •
While some people see turmoil in today’s market, Bob Sloan sees something else. In fact, he says the market today is similar to the one he first entered 20 years ago: “There’s definitely the opportunity to make money.”
It’s not a surprising sentiment for Sloan, who in 2003 founded S3 Partners, which provides securities finance and prime brokerage management services to its hedge fund clients and services about $100 billion in assets. Where others see gloom, Sloan has always seen the chance to innovate. At Credit Suisse First Boston, he started its prime broker and equity swaps business, being one of the first firms to combine the two functions. In 2000, he was instrumental in the securities lending deal with the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), the first time anyone had created a synthetic box, that helped launch eSecLending.
In 1998, he founded and chaired the Credit Suisse First Boston Tremont Index LLC, the joint venture company that created the CSFB/Tremont Hedge Fund Index, thereby starting the alternative index industry. He also worked at Lehman Brothers in the equity derivatives and central funding unit.
His experience hasn’t all been financial, however. He previously worked as a translator for the Japanese government’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry and he’s written a book on short selling that will be published by McGraw-Hill this fall.
Perhaps the most striking change Sloan has witnessed is how prime brokerage has changed in importance. “Twenty years ago, the prime brokerage business was seen as a global back-office operations business. That was a very foolish understanding of the business,” Sloan says. “I think people now see the business as acting like a bank. It is a front-office, capital markets trading business.”