You won’t read about this in Sheryl Sandberg’s corporate empowerment book, “Lean In.”
In order to be a top-flight trader, you need focus, determination, a way with numbers and no children, according to controversial comments made recently by billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones.
Don’t look for droves of women to be managing investment portfolios any time soon, the hedge-fund manager told a symposium in Virginia last month. The Washington Post obtained video of the comments through a Freedom of Information Act request to the University of Virginia, the public university from which he graduated.
Jones, who has since tempered his comments, said April 26 that women can be good managers. But they might lack the focus to be best-performing traders after they have children, who lead to “emotional distractions” and lack of focus the moment they latch on to their mothers’ “bosoms.”
“You will never see as many great women investors or traders as men. Period. End of story,” Jones, 58, said to an audience at a University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce symposium. “The idea that you could think straight for 60 seconds and be able to make a rational decision is impossible, particularly when their kids are involved.”
Jones sought to clarify his position Wednesday, saying in a statement, “My off-the-cuff remarks at the University of Virginia were with regard to global macro-traders, who are on call 24-7 and of whom there are likely only a few thousand successful practitioners in the world today.
“Macro-trading requires a high degree of skill, focus and repetition. Life events, such as birth, divorce, death of a loved one and other emotional highs and lows are obstacles to success in this specific field of finance.”
His original comment stemmed from an audience member who asked why the panel consisted of “rich, white, middle-aged men.” Other panelists included Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, John Griffin of Blue Ridge Capital and University of Virginia professor David Mick.
Jones responded to the audience by saying that although he thinks women are “very capable,” professional investment trading requires intense focus, which he believes women lose when they become mothers. To highlight such an assertion, Jones described his experience working with two women in the 1970s, both of whom got married and, he said, stopped focusing on their careers after they had children.
“As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it,” Jones said. “Every single investment idea, every desire to understand what’s going to make this go up or go down is going to be overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience which a man will never share about a mode of connection between that mother and that baby.”
The video of Jones’ statements originally appeared on the Washington Post website, and promptly sparked outrage.
Jones is the founder of Tudor Investment Corp., which is estimated to be worth $12 billion, and the father to three girls.