Hedge Funder Steven Schonfeld is many things…. a multi-billionaire, owner of Florida’s most expensive mega-mansion, head of one of the biggest trading firms on Wall Street, and a man who likes hoodies. As in, really, really likes them. If you’re used to reading about billionaires with a penchant for Gucci suits and multi-million-dollar watches, prepare to meet a billionaire of a different breed. Find out more with these ten quick facts.
1. 1988 was the year it all began
Schonfeld Group Holdings can trace its history all the way back to 1988, when a young Steven Schonfeld launched a small proprietary trading firm. That small firm quickly grew into one of Wall Street’s most profitable leaders. Today, it enjoys an international presence, routinely and regularly trading hundreds of millions of shares every day.
2. He’s got a gift for numbers
As Bloomberg notes, if there’s one thing in particular that Schonfeld is known for, it’s his gift for numbers. His mathematical prowess can be traced to childhood, when he supplemented his pocket money by delivering pizza and newspapers around his home on Long Island. By the age of 9, he’d managed to commit the statistics on the baseball cards for the San Francisco Giants to memory, and was regularly in the habit of manually recalculating the averages in his head to make sure there were no errors.
3. He’s a multi-billionaire
According to the latest estimates from Celebrity Net Worth, Schonfeld is worth the mighty sum of $2 billion. The figure represents a substantial increase on his 2018 worth, when his $130M income earned him entry at #18 on Forbes’ list of the highest-earning hedge fund managers of that year.
4. He loves a hoodie
Not many billionaires will choose a hoodie over a thousand-dollar suit, but Schonfeld is just such a creature. Never one to court the public life, you’re more likely to catch Schonfeld at home in sweatpants than you are to find him sipping a cocktail at a Gala. “Between family, golf, gin rummy and friends, that’s my life,” Schonfeld told Bloomberg during an interview last year. “I’m a homebody.” And considering where he lives (more on which shortly), we don’t blame him.
5. He owns the most expensive house in Florida
In December 2019, Schonfeld broke state records when he blew $111 million on a prime chunk of Florida real estate. The mansion, the most expensive ever to be sold in Florida, sprawls over 6 acres, occupying more than 70,000 square feet of living space and boasting 11 bedrooms, 22 bathrooms, a bowling alley, a salon, a spa, an ice cream stand and even its very own candy parlor (and no, we’re not making this up). Unsurprisingly, the mansion’s located on the aptly titled Billionaire’s Row, an exclusive stretch of Palm Beach that also includes Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, along with the vacation homes of Ken Griffin, Rod Stewart, Paul Tudor Jones, and Steve Shwarzman.
6. He was embroiled in an ugly custody battle
Schonfeld has three children, including a 14-year-old daughter named Sadie with a former flame, ex-model Sidra Saucedo. Things turned nasty for the former couple in 2015, when in the middle of an ugly custody battle (which by that time had already been waging for the best part of a decade), Schonfeld released a video of Saucedo inhaling a can of Dust-Off spray. After the judge overseeing the case saw the video, Saucedo was barred from seeing her daughter, something that, for obvious reasons, she didn’t exactly take kindly to. According to Saucedo, her predilection for the air-blast spray was “a direct result of having to battle with Steven Schonfeld, who has been trying to control me and my relationship with my daughter since the day she was born.” The ongoing battle finally came to an end in 2018 when the New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County awarded Schonfeld sole custody of Sadie.
7. #BlackLivesMatter controversy
On June 1, Schonfeld Strategic Advisors’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alliance sent a round-robin around Schonfeld’s staff with the subject line “#BlackLivesMatter”. The email body read “it is more important than ever to spread tolerance, acceptance, equality and love.” Apparently, the company’s call to spread tolerance didn’t extend to its employees adding personal touches to their own email signatures. A week after the email was sent, Meg Popkin was fired after amending her work email signature to include the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” According to a statement issued by Schonfeld, the dismissal had less to do with the content change and more to do with the fact Popkin hadn’t followed the proper protocol before making the addition. “The employee was terminated because she refused to follow firm policies and processes around email signature blocks,” went the statement. “Schonfeld encouraged her to share and promote her views and passions with the firm, and we provided her multiple opportunities to do so that were within the firm policy, which she declined.”
8. He’s a popular boss
Schonfeld may not be the flavor of the month with fired Schonfeld Strategic Advisors Meg Popkin, but in other quarters, he’s considered a magnanimous, popular boss. On glassdoor.com, he enjoys a massive 85% approval rating from his underlings.
9. He enjoys the perks of being a billionaire
Schonfeld may not embrace the glitz and glamor of the billionaire lifestyle, but’s he not wholly immune to its attractions. Explaining the perks of his wealth to Forbes, he noted, “It allows me to spend more time with my daughter, more time playing golf and cards with the guys and, more importantly, affords me the ability to never stress about money. The latter always reminds me of how lucky I am, and I never take anything for granted.”
10. He spent $20 million on a golf course
Schonfeld may not be the flashiest billionaire around, but he certainly doesn’t shy away from splashing out on property. A few years ago, he forked out $20 million to add a Rees Jones designed golf course to his Old Westbury estate. Located on Whitney Lane in Old Westbury, NY, the estate was completed in 2009 to the tune of $90 million. Along with that very expensive 9-hole golf course, the 25,000+ square foot Tudor style mansion features a guest house, an Olympic sized swimming pool (with its own pool house, naturally), and several basketball and tennis courts.