Who is Steve Eisman?
Steve Eisman is an American businessman, money manager, and investor who is best known for having shorted securitized subprime home mortgages. He became famous after betting against subprime mortgages at FrontPoint Partners LLC. He once managed over US $1 billion at FrontPoint and was portrayed in a book called ‘The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine’ by Michael Lewis. A movie adaptation was also made of the book and the actor who played Steve Eisman was nominated for an Oscar award. Eisman also founded the Emrys Partners with $23 million as seed capital; however, in 2014 he made a statement that he would be closing down the fund. In the same year, he rejoined his parents at Neuberger Berman. It is difficult to estimate Eisman’s net worth but one can safely consider him to be a multi-millionaire.
Steve Eisman’s career climbed to great heights when he bet against subprime mortgages at Greenwich, Connecticut-based FrontPoint Partners LCC, which was a unit of Morgan Stanley. By 2010, he was managing over US$ 1 billion for the company which earned him prominence. He was then profiled in the book ‘The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine’ written by Michael Lewis. When a movie adaptation was made of the book, Eisman’s character was named “Mark Baum.” His character in the movie was played by an Oscar-nominated actor, Steve Carell.
In 2011, he left FrontPoint Partners due to an allegation that the co-manager of the firm’s health-care portfolio, Joseph F. “Chip” traded some insider information.
The next year, Eisman established Emrys Partners with $23 million in seed capital. In 2012, the fund performed poorly, returning just 3.6 % and underperforming in the market. The following year, i.e. in 2013, the fund did better returning to 10.8% but was still underperforming in the market. In July 2014, Eisman made an announcement that he would be shutting down the fund giving an explanation that “making investment decisions by looking solely at the fundamentals of individual companies is no longer a viable investment philosophy.”
Eisman joined Neuberger Berman in September 2014 as Managing Director and a Portfolio Manager with Neuberger Berman’s Private Asset Management division. The group is run by Eisman’s parents, Elliott and Lillian Eisman, as well his partners who manage portfolios of stocks for wealthy clients.
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Stance on for-profit Educational Institutes
Steve Eisman has been against for-profit institutions of higher education from a long time. In May 2010, he made a speech titled ‘Subprime Goes to College’ during the Ira Sohn Conference where he openly criticized companies which run private colleges such as Think ITT Educational Services, Corinthian Colleges, and Education Management Corporation. He also compared the companies to seedy mortgage brokers. In his presentation, he described for-profit education industry as socially destructive and morally bankrupt.
In 2010, the Department of Education acted against for-profit colleges. Due to this, the education industry accused Eisman of illegally influencing the government and also asked the Secretary of Education for an investigation. The allegations are based on a meeting that happened two weeks prior to delivering the speech which Eisman had with Department of Education officials David Bergeron and Robert Shireman. At that time, Shireman had been managing the department’s efforts to toughen rules on for-profit colleges.
Eisman was criticized by a few groups such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington after he offered testimony to Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee on the problems with for-profit education. The groups’ criticism was based on the point that Eisman stood to profit from proposed regulations for his short positions against private colleges.
Steve Eisman was born on 8th July 1962 in New York City. He attended Yeshiva Schools and went to the University of Pennsylvania from where he graduated magna cum laude in 1984. Later he graduated from Harvard Law School with honors.
In 1989, he got married to Valerie Feigen. In the movie, ‘The Big Short,’ Valerie’s character was named Cynthia and the role was played by Marisa Tomei.