Monday, April 07, 2008

Michael Burry: Hedge fund manager saw subprime meltdown coming

The last time we wrote about Michael Burry, he was a Santa Teresa High School student preparing for the 1988 Academic Decathlon. The nervous kid who was trying to speed-memorize the names of the presidents has since become Dr. Michael Burry, with degrees from UCLA and Vanderbilt School of Medicine and a partly completed residency in neurology at Stanford Hospital.

During that residency, Burry expanded on an interest in investing that he's had since elementary school. When his father died in 1996, he was in his third year of medical school, and he took on the responsibility of helping to direct his family's finances. A year later, he began an investment blog that eventually drew national attention as

In 2000, he left his neurology residency and started Scion Capital, a hedge fund now with more than $900 million under management. It's in Cupertino, far from the buzz of Wall Street.

Burry, 36, recently gained some fame making lots of money for his investors - returns were up 137 percent in 2007, he said - by betting against subprime mortgages. He told us what tipped him off that things were going to go badly for the subprime mortgage market, and he has some theories about why so few people saw it coming.

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