Alphonse Fletcher Jr. is an African-American former hedge fund manager and founder of the Fletcher Foundation.
Alphonse Fletcher Jr’s early life and trading career
He was born on the 19th of December, 1965 and was raised in Waterford, Connecticut. Fletcher is the oldest among three sons. His father came to the north from Louisiana after being enlisted in the Navy, working as a technician at the General Dynamics submarine plant in Groton.
He graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. degree in applied mathematics in 1987. He was elected as the first Marshal of the ’87 class. He received a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2004.
After graduating from Harvard College in ’87, he began his career as a quantitative equity trader at Bear Stearns. He later worked at Kidder, Peabody & co. where he sued them for racial discrimination.
Although the court dismissed his claims, he won an arbitration award of $1.26 million in time. Since then, he had been involved in various litigations focused on a disagreement with the board of the Dakota apartment building in NYC.
Shortly after working for Kidder Peabody, he founded his own hedge fund, Fletcher Asset Management. His firm invested mostly in small-cap public companies.
He traded heavily using leverage during the first four years of the hedge fund. Fletcher’s strategy included trading public securities for his own account, and he made longer-term equity investments. He had been doing PIPE deals. One time, his firm accounted for 5% of the trading volume on the NYSE.
In 1994, he dropped his broker-dealer registration and became a registered investment adviser when he realized that managing money was more convenient. He ran his business successfully for several years.
In 2009, when he was 44 years old, Forbes named him one of the richest African Americans in the country with an estimated personal net worth of $150 million, even though he may be worth more than that, given his other business interests.
Fletcher had been generous with his wealth. He made donations to cultural institutions — including schools, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and libraries- and also to civil-rights causes, one of which was a headline-grabbing pledge of $50 million for fellowships. At Harvard, he donated about $4.5 million, which finances the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor held by the most remarkable critic and scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.
In July 2011, one of the investment vehicles managed by Fletcher Asset Management, the FIA Leveraged Fund, was unable to fulfill its settlement to three Louisiana pension fund investors, totaling $144 million.
And in April 2012, the grand court of the Cayman Islands ruled that the fund cannot unload its obligation and thereby ordered that the fund be liquidated. In June of the same year, the FIA Leveraged Fund filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Manhattan.
He got married to Ellen Pao, a junior partner at the venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. And as of 2019, he and Pao were in the process of divorcing.
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– What is Alphonse Fletcher Jr.’s Background and Early Life?
Alphonse Fletcher Jr. was born on December 19, 1965, and raised in Waterford, Connecticut. He graduated from Harvard College with a degree in applied mathematics in 1987 and later earned a Master’s degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 2004
– What challenges did Fletcher Asset Management face, and how did it impact Alphonse Fletcher Jr.?
In 2011, one of the investment vehicles managed by Fletcher Asset Management faced difficulties fulfilling its settlement, leading to legal issues and eventually bankruptcy in 2012.
– How Did Alphonse Fletcher Jr. Contribute to Philanthropy?
Alphonse Fletcher Jr. was known for his philanthropic activities, making donations to cultural institutions, schools, and civil-rights causes. He pledged $50 million for fellowships and donated to Harvard, funding the Alphonse Fletcher University Professorship held by Henry Louis Gates Jr.