Q&A: SkyBridge’s Anthony Scaramucci Readies For Wall Street Week Debut

Apr 16 2015 | 12:56pm ET

While it is common for investment managers to retire from finance and move on to become television commentators, authors or business owners, it is rare for one person to juggle all of these professions at once. But Anthony Scaramucci, founder and managing director of asset management firm SkyBridge Capital, is indeed one of a kind.

The “Mooch” as he is affectionately called, is debuting his new television show—Wall Street Week—this Sunday. In the run up to the show’s launch, FINalternatives’ Deirdre Brennan spoke with Scaramucci about SkyBridge’s growth, his real feelings about liquid alternatives and what we can expect from the resurrected Lou Rukeyeser show.

Last year at this time, SkyBridge had $7 billion in discretionary assets and approximately $3.5 billion in assets under advisement for a combined total of $10.5 billion. What is the firm managing now?

We have approximately $13 billion. About $9.2 billion of that is in discretionary assets.

Have you launched any new funds or business lines in the past year?

We launched a  long-only fund about a year ago. We have $100 million in that fund but we are on our way up now because we're able to sell that fund through UBS, Raymond James and [a few other large firms]. So that's a home run. And we are looking at two other long-only managers right now that we are about to launch. So hopefully by the end of the year we will have three or four products up and running in addition to our core fund of funds product.

With these long-only funds, are you setting them up as liquid alternatives?

Not liquid alternatives, no! We do not like liquid alternatives. We think that they are alpha-less….I predict that most of these funds will have lackluster performance.

Then tell me about your long-only fund. What is the strategy?

Right now we have a dividend value fund. We are looking at a ‘smid-cap’ fund, which is like small and middle cap. And we're looking at a commodities fund that we are probably going to bring on here shortly.

Turning to your flagship fund, your multi strategy fund, what are the big themes you are concentrating on?

OK, so right now it’s shareholder activism. We have about 40% of the portfolio in shareholder activism. Then we have a structured credit portfolio where we are in mortgage backed securities and credit sensitive securities. We have a little bit of CTA exposure now because we are predicting that the markets are going to get more volatile as the Fed starts to end its low interest rate policy and starts to normalize monetary policy.

Are there any strategies that you are avoiding?

We are still negative on the long-short managers.

Turning to another project you are working on, tell me about your new show.

OK! So, we bought the old Lou Rukeyeser show Wall Street Week from Maryland Public Television. We are going to have a half hour show at 11am on Sundays. In New York City it’s on Fox Channel 5. Its going to be right after the Sunday Morning News with Chris Wallace. I'm going to interview people—we are basically creating a mini SALT Conference for 30 minutes a week that we are going to broadcast to the masses on a national television network. We'll also live stream it on our website. You can go to wallstreetweek.com to get more information on it.

Will it be shown in other markets as well?

So, right now it’s going to be in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington. It’s basically like a pilot program with the Fox Network. I'm hoping if its successful in three months we'll have it nationally distributed across Fox's owner and operated stations.

I notice that the advisory board for Wall Street Week is a list of ‘who's who’ in finance. So can we expect to see these folks on the show?

Every single one of those people will be on the show.

So tell me, how is this show going to be different from the original one with Lou Rukeyser?

Well to start out, I have better hair than Lou Rukeyser! But he's a wittier guy than me—I've watched almost all the shows. But what's similar between his show and mine is that I want to be able to explain to people in a common sense vernacular what's going on in the markets. We want to unbundle complex things. I don't want to simplify them, I want to unbundle them because they are complex, and I want explain them to people in a way that they can understand them. I think that's going to be a huge positive.

Then the second huge positive is that because of the SALT conference and the other things that we've done, we've got a lot of credibility with a high profile group of guests.

Last year you opened a restaurant in midtown Manhattan. How's how is that project going?

The restaurant's going great. We have no shortage of ability to excite and promote. We named it the Hunt and Fish Club.

Any other projects in the works? Any cameos in Hollywood films?

I'm actually in the process of writing a book on entrepreneurship which we are hoping is going to get published in September after Labor Day. It’s about entrepreneurship and how we took SkyBridge from nowhere and had a lot of ups and downs, successes and failures. It’s a classic entrepreneurial story, but a real story, not a fantasized ‘we did things right’ story. It’s more like how we made a lot of mistakes, but still were able to have some level of success.

Anthony, as always, thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

My pleasure.

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