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20 Things You Didn't Know About Daniel Och

Daniel Och

Being counted as one of the true billionaires in the world is some claim to fame, but how does one achieve such wealth, other than inheriting it? Well, many billionaires have accumulated their wealth through investment channels, and as of late, we have been covering many of them. Now we are going to talk about yet another billionaire, hedge fund manager and investor Daniel Och. Och is a co-founder of Och-Ziff Capital Management, which is an asset management firm and hedge fund. The company operates on a world-wide level. Och was, at one time, the CEO of the company, and is currently chairman, besides being one of the founders, and his job has made him very successful indeed.

Most of us aren’t familiar with investors, hedge fund managers, or billionaires, but there are those of us who know exactly who Daniel Och is and what he does. In an effort to get on more equal ground with those who do, we have compiled a list of twenty facts about Daniel Och, his life, and his ventures to share with our readers. So, whether you are someone who knows much about the world of investing, or simply find yourself just learning, the following information will familiarize you with one of the key players in the game. So, read on and learn more about Daniel Och.

1. Childhood and Early Life

Born in Maplewood, New Jersey in 1961, Daniel Och was brought up by his parents, Dr. Michael Och and his wife, Golda. During his childhood Daniel attended school at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union, a Jewish day school which happened to be founded by his parents. As a matter of fact, Daniel donated $15 million to the school in 2010, and the school was renamed in recent years to honor his mother. It is now called the Golda Och Academy.

2. His Education

Besides attending the Schechter Day School in West Orange, NJ, Och earned his B.S. in Finance from the Wharton School, which is part of the University of Pennsylvania; he graduated successfully in 1982. While it seems that is the limit of his education, it more than qualifies him for the business he is in, and his track record basically proves this.

3. Career Timeline

After graduating from the Wharton School, Och began his career in the Risk Arbitrage department at Goldman-Sachs, where he remained for eleven years. Afterward he worked for US Equities Trading in their Equities Division as Head of Proprietary Training; he served as co-head of US Equities Trading as well. It was in 1994 that Och began Och-Ziff Capital management with an initial investment of $100 million contributed for the cause by the Ziff brothers, Dirk, Daniel, and Robert (sons of publishing tycoon Bernard Ziff, Jr.). In 2007 the company was able to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange after completing an initial public offering. In the very beginning, shares were sold for $32. They have experience decline in the last several years, and even reached their lowest point in 2016, hitting $3.29.

4. One and the Same?

Unbeknownst to many, Och-Ziff underwent some changes this past September. One major change happened to be the company’s name. Sculptor Captial Management still operates under the same description: ‘A global, diversified alternative asset firm’. They remain one of the biggest managers of alternative assets in the world, and employ a wide variety of investment strategies, including real estate, multi-strategy, and credit. While we mentioned above that Och-Ziff stock had been slacking, founder Daniel Och stepped down and the name was changed, among other things, after a 2016 scandal (see #11). Och remains the founder of the company, of course, while Robert Shafir remains CEO, as he has been since 2018.

5. Living on Billionaire Lane

Like many others in his class, Och and his family own a home in Southampton that is jokingly referred to as ‘Billionaire Lane’. It’s real name is Meadow Lane, but once you get a gander at the residents there (and their homes, for crying out loud) you will understand the affectionate nickname. Homes on Meadow Lane are known to run as high in price as $75 million, which we can’t even imaging, but it’s true. Other big names who call Meadow Lane home (and have almost immediate access to the Southampton Heliport) include electric dance music’s Robert Sillerman, Loews Corporation’s Jimmy Tische, architect Myron Goldfinger, David Koch (of Koch family fame), and many more.

6. Personal/Family Life

Daniel Och and his wife Jane live primarily in the Hamptons and have three children, though the names of his children are not readily available. At one time the couple also owned a penthouse near Central Park in New York City, but they sold that for $58 million earlier this year after paying $22 million for it in 2008. Talk about a profit…

7. Philanthropic Efforts and Charitable Contributions

Och and his wife are very active philanthropically, with a variety of charities they are active with and donate to. Included in this list are The Jane and Daniel Och Family Foundation, which they started and serves as a private grant-making foundation, according to Charity Navigator. They are also very active with Endeavor (he sits on the board), the New York Presbyterian Hospital, and the Robin Hood Foundation, which exists to fight poverty in New York. He also donated more than $28k to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2008, and the Spine Hospital at New York Presbyterian Hospital was named for him after a 2017 donation totaling $25 million. The Och Initiative for Women in Finance, which was established by the University of Michigan in 2014, also bears the family name.

8. Things That Hold His Interest

Daniel Och is human, which may be hard for some to believe, but it’s true. As a matter of fact, many things interest him outside of investing, things we might refer to as hobbies. He loves to ski, and is something of a history buff. Believe it or not, he lists philanthropy among his interests, as he truly enjoys giving and being involved with people and organizations doing the same.

9. Real-Time Net Worth

As of October 31 of this year, Daniel Ochs and Family have a net worth of $3.1 billion, says Forbes. That number does happen to be down from 2017, when it was quoted as being $3.7 billion, but we all know how investing can go. $.6 billion may be a mighty chunk to you and I, but we doubt he’ll miss that much, all things considered.

10. Making the Grade

As we know, Forbes’ Lists are fairly big among this particular set, and Ochs is no exception. He made #268 on the 400 list this year, and he made #617 on their Billionaires list. In 2016 he was #20 on their list of The Highest Earning Hedge Managers. His accomplishments recognized, we can move on to a more serious note.

11. In the Face of Scandal

The reason for Och’s investment company/hedge fund changing names and him leaving go a bit deeper than just a shift in interests for Och. In 2016 there was a scandal in Africa in which the firm was involved, and it resulted in redemptions in 2017. While the gritty details of the scandal aren’t clear, we know it had to do with the defrauding of a United Kingdom charity, in one manner or another. Head of the European office of Och-Ziff, Michael Cohen, was brought up on a variety of charges in relation to investing money in a charity that was meant solely for mining in Africa. While no formal charges were brought against Och, the firm wound up paying $200 million to the SEC and another $200 million to the Justice Department ($2.2 million of the total was Och’s money), and Och wound up leaving the very company he founded. The bottom line? The company bribed public officials regarding a situation over the purchase of a yacht.

12. He Was A Protest Target

In May of 2018 Och found himself being targeted by a group known as the ‘Hedge Clippers’. An activist group, the Hedge Clippers set about protesting on Och’s Central Park West apartment’s front lawn on the 8th of that month. The protest was likely in regard to the Africa scandal, which just gave the anti-hedge funders a reason to speak out in favor of their cause.

13. Hedge Fund Wife/Beauty Queen?

In 2010, Jane Och was named one of Business Insider’s ‘Hottest Hedge Fund Wives On Wall Street. While the article really didn’t give much information on her, omitting everything from her profession to her age, they did make a brief mention about her and her husband making a donation to the day school Daniel attended as a child. Other than that, they simply published a photo. Short, and not really that sweet, Business Insider…you had one job…

14. Negative Nicknames

When Och was going through the African mining scandal and protesters were marching on his lawn, the news made announcements that he had agreed to pay African dictator Robert Mugabe $100 million for the rights to mine in Africa. The ‘Hedge Clippers’ were peeved by the deal, and ended up nicknaming Och ‘The King of Wall Street Sleaze’.

15. ‘Where For ART Thou?’

According to Art News  Daniel and Jan Och really appreciate fine arts in its various forms, particularly of the contemporary and modern sorts. Not only are they collectors of fine art, but Och also serves on the board of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. I’m sure that the seat comes with an unlimited visitors’ pass.

16. His ‘Stand-Out’ Skills

When it comes to any profession, different individuals will demonstrate aptitude in different areas, though they may be equally successful. As for finance and Daniel Och, the skills he shows that seem to be his most dominant include a knack for risk control and a strong sense of discipline when it comes to investing. These talents have taken him to where he is today, regardless of the hell or high water he has come up against. The discipline, Och said during an interview, came from his 12 years at Goldman-Sachs.

17. The Flagship Hedge Fund

According to Pi Online, the hedge fund that started it all for Och-Ziff was the OZ Master Fund Ltd. The multi-strategy hedge fund has proven quite extraordinary and incredible indeed. Over a fifteen-year period of time, it produced twice the return over the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and it only showed about a third of the volatility that Standard & Poor’s did. You can check out the numbers for OZ Master Fund, Ltd. At the link above.

18. The $300 Million Dollar Deal?

While those who know Och and worked closely with him have freely stated that his ethics can be ‘questionable’, to say the least, those of us who don’t know him are left to wonder if that’s so. Well, one transaction that was carried out by Och and Muammar Qaddafi, the deceased Libyan leader whose ethics were also questionable, managed to not only look and feel suspicious, but launched an investigation into him breaking US anti- bribery laws. It turns out that Och took a payment – or investment, I should say – from the former leader that totaled $300 million, and then supposedly funneled the funds to Qaddafi’s son. This move raised a few eyebrows and sparked a few tempers, but Och probably had quiche for dinner when he got home that evening.

19.Yet Another…Shady Deal???

With the above accusations and penalties being made clear, let’s not forget when Och-Ziff gave a loan (in secret) to Guinea and was accused of bribery by one who, at one time, had been a Guinean minister. Then, in August of 2014, the company was again under investigation for its associations and dealings with the DRC and Zimbabwe…they were accused of attempting to cover up ‘dirty tracks’, according to Useful Stooges To put it in a nutshell, when considering Och and the people he does ‘business’ with (mostly third-world leaders with reputations for being dictators), one said that Och is, “…one of the few men for whom the description ‘steely-eyed’ is truly apt”. After careful consideration, I would have to agree.

20. And Finally, the Least of His Concerns…

To show you what an easy day may have been like for the retired financier, let’s go back to 2011. That was the year that a former Och-Ziff employee took the company to court and sued them, stating they owed him for stock and back pay to the tune of $7.9 million…a drop in the measly bucket. And to think, that guy likely didn’t even run his own dictatorship. What gives him the right?

I think the story on Daniel Och is clear: The successful former hedge fund manager is hated by some, loved by others, and the rest of us don’t know what to do with him. Yes, he is most certainly worth billions, but let’s ask ourselves, ‘At what cost did those billions come?’ We could say that it didn’t cost us a thing…heck, we don’t invest or play the market, so let the man do what he will. But we must consider the accusations of illegal gun deals and bribery to heads of state that abuse their position. Sigh…no matter, though. He’s retired now, living it up in his mansion in Southampton.

Hopefully none of those guns make it over here during their travels.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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