Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tom Brown: An Interview with Tom Brown

Tom Brown is the founder of the $550 million hedge fund Second Curve Capital, which specializes in financial-services companies. I once worked at one of America's largest funds, and ever since, I've been obsessed with all things alternative. From my experience, Tom Brown may be the best financial services analyst on the planet, and I doubt I'm alone in that opinion.

About six months ago, I decided to read every article in the archive of the Second Curve-run website It was almost like getting an MBA in finance. I wanted the Fool's readers to learn about Second Curve's methodologies and some of the companies in which the fund is interested. I called Tom Brown up for a phone interview; the notes in italics are my own commentary.

Question: I read some statistics on how you turned some initial capital from your father into a large sum. Can you provide me with details?

Tom Brown: My father got a lump sum contribution in 1984 of $130,000, which subsequently became $18 million by the early 2000s by investing only in financial stocks.

Brown calculated the annual average rate of return at roughly 40%.

Question: Why do you stick solely to financial-services companies?

Tom Brown: Well, financial-services businesses are in my circle of competence. I can try to grow that circle, but I just don't know other industries as well.

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