Katherine Burton and Tom Maloney, 30 March 2021
From his perch high above Midtown Manhattan, just across from Carnegie Hall, Bill Hwang was quietly building one of the world’s greatest fortunes.
Even on Wall Street, few ever noticed him — until suddenly, everyone did.
Hwang and his private investment firm, Archegos Capital Management, are now at the center of one of the biggest margin calls of all time — a multibillion-dollar fiasco involving secretive market bets that were dangerously leveraged and unwound in a blink.
Hwang’s most recent ascent can be pieced together from stocks dumped by banks in recent days — ViacomCBS Inc., Discovery Inc. GSX Techedu Inc., Baidu Inc. — all of which had soared this year, sometimes confounding traders who couldn’t fathom why.
It evaporated in mere days.
“I’ve never seen anything like this — how quiet it was, how concentrated, and how fast it disappeared,” said Mike Novogratz, a career macro investor and former partner at Goldman Sachs who’s been trading since 1994. “This has to be one of the single greatest losses of personal wealth in history.”
Late Monday in New York, Archegos broke days of silence on the episode.
“This is a challenging time for the family office of Archegos Capital Management, our partners and employees,” Karen Kessler, a spokesperson for the firm, said in an emailed statement. “All plans are being discussed as Mr. Hwang and the team determine the best path forward.”