Farallon Capital Founder to Retire to Focus on 'Giving Back'

Billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer has announced in a letter to investors that he will leave the firm he established twenty-six years ago to focus on philanthropy, Reuters reports.

The 55-year-old Steyer said he will step down at the end of the year and turn over the reins of Farallon Capital, one of the biggest and best-performing hedge funds in the world, to Andrew Spokes, his long-time deputy. Steyer, who has committed to donate at least half his wealth to charity as part of the Giving Pledge campaign launched by Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett, joins the ranks of other successful fund managers, including Stanley Druckenmiller, Chris Shumway, and John Arnold, who quit the hedge fund industry at a relatively young age to focus on other pursuits.

In recent years, Steyer has stepped up his involvement in charitable, advocacy, and public policy initiatives, and recently provided $22 million in support of Proposition 39, a California ballot initiative that would require multi-state businesses to pay more in taxes to the state.

"Now it's time to focus full-time on giving back," said Steyer in his letter. "I want my life to revolve around service in one form or another, including continuing participation in our community bank, in encouraging the advanced energy economy, and in specific policy initiatives here in California." 

Svea Herbst-Bayliss. "Investor Steyer Leaving Farallon for Politics, Charity." Reuters 10/22/2012.