As past CEO of Citadel Investment Group’s European Office, Reade Griffith already brings substantial experience from the financial management industry to the hedge fund management and private equity firms he co-founded a decade ago: Tetragon and Polygon. But according to the financial mogul who today heads up investment departments in both these firms, the experience he gained in the intelligence of the military was just as important.
In this Institutional Investor video, Griffith speaks with Institutional Investor’s Editorial Director and Chief Content Officer Kip McDaniel on how his role in the infantry’s Intelligence Office in the First Gulf War helped him thrive in his current positions.
Opening the discussion with a game of ‘Risk,’ McDaniel and Griffith semi-joke about the benefits of war experience for increasing manageability of financial crisis in peacetime. Griffith had to understand enemy tactics and at all times remain responsible for forward intelligence of his units. Since complete control must be achieved under pressure (leading a unit while you’re being shot at and bombs are exploding), you learn a lot about yourself and others.
Griffith then speaks of the 2015 crisis in Europe and China (which connects them back to their game of Risk) and what his companies did vis-à-vis the ultimate failing that rippled through to America creating an illiquid market. At the end of the discussion he explained that the philosophy of his firms during this time was to “shorten the events in our portfolio; sell some of the longer-duration ones; keep the general level of risk on in the book and effectively hoped we were right.”
Again, the last part of that strategy was very much in line with what he learned from the military.