Barton M. Biggs, managing partner of the $1.2 billion hedge fund manager Traxis Partners LP and former chief global strategist and chairman of Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc., was considered “one of the deans of Wall Street,” whose views on the market and the investment management industry were eagerly sought by institutional investors.
Mr. Biggs, age 79, died July 14 from a bacterial infection after falling ill a few weeks ago, according to Amer Bisat, who shared managing partner duties at Traxis Partners, Greenwich, Conn. Mr. Biggs founded the global macro hedge fund in 2003 after a career of almost four decades at Morgan Stanley, New York.
Said Theodore R. Aronson, managing principal with Aronson + Johnson + Ortiz LP, Philadelphia, who made the academic reference to Mr. Biggs: “Barton's passing reminded me how significant he was in the formative years of my investing career. Even as a fully invested quant — who never acted on his market advice — I devoured his work.”
“Biggs was one of (Wall) Street's best communicators — brilliant writer, with an eye for a well-turned phrase — "Groupstink,' "Alice in Amerwonderland,' "Mr. Market Is a Manic-Depressive,'” Mr. Aronson said in an e-mail.
“I found myself, starting in the "90s, pleading for permission to share his work with our clients — permission was always granted.”
Mark Anson, managing partner and chief investment officer of Oak Hill Investment Management LP, Menlo Park, Calif., said in an e-mail: “I know Barton from the market research he did for CalPERS and other institutional investors.” Mr. Anson is a former CIO of the now $229.8 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System, Sacramento.
“Mostly Barton is known for calling an end to the dot-com bubble,” Mr. Anson said. “True enough, but few realize that he was bullish on the growth of emerging markets long before the term "BRICs' was coined. I remember reading his bullish statements on China in the mid-1990s — years before China popped up on investors' radar screens.”
Traxis managed $1.3 billion for 42 clients, including pension funds, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last November.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Bisat said Mr. Biggs' colleagues at Traxis “had been hoping for a recovery,” and that Mr. Biggs himself hadn't canceled plans to “climb Macchu Picchu” in Peru later in July.
Mr. Bisat called Mr. Biggs' death a “huge loss” for Traxis, but said the firm has a deep bench. He said there are no plans at present to fill Mr. Biggs' managing partner role.
In an internal memo, James P. Gorman, Morgan Stanley's chairman, CEO and president, said Mr. Biggs had “left an indelible mark on our business” since joining Morgan Stanley as a general partner and managing director in 1965.