Ben Hunt

Ben Hunt

Co-Founder and CIO

 @EpsilonTheory

Ben Hunt is the creator of Epsilon Theory and inspiration behind Second Foundation Partners, which he co-founded with Rusty Guinn in June 2018.

Epsilon Theory, Second Foundation’s principal publishing brand, is a newsletter and website that examines markets through the lenses of game theory and history. Over 100,000 professional investors and allocators across 180 countries read Epsilon Theory for its fresh perspective and novel insights into market dynamics. As Chief Investment Officer, Ben bears primary responsibility for determining the Company’s investment views and positioning of model portfolios. He is also the primary author of materials distributed through Epsilon Theory.

Ben taught political science for 10 years: at New York University from 1991 until 1997 and (with tenure) at Southern Methodist University from 1997 until 2000. He also wrote two academic books: Getting to War (Univ. of Michigan Press, 1997) and Policy and Party Competition (Routledge, 1992), which he co-authored with Michael Laver. Ben is the founder of two technology companies and the co-founder of SmartEquip, Inc., a software company for the construction equipment industry that provides intelligent schematics and parts diagrams to facilitate e-commerce in spare parts.

He began his investment career in 2003, first in venture capital and subsequently on two long/short equity hedge funds. He worked at Iridian Asset Management from 2006 until 2011 and TIG Advisors from 2012 until 2013. He joined Rusty at Salient in 2013, where he combined his background as a portfolio manager, risk manager, and entrepreneur with academic experience in game theory and econometrics to work with Salient’s own portfolio managers and its financial advisor clients to improve client outcomes.

Ben is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (1986) and earned his Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 1991. He lives in the wilds of Redding, CT on Little River Farm, where he personifies the dilettante farmer that has been a stock comedic character since Cicero's day. Luckily his wife, Jennifer, and four daughters, Harper, Hannah, Haven and Halle, are always there to save the day. Ben's hobbies include comic books, Alabama football, beekeeping, and humoring Rusty in trivia "competitions".

Articles by Ben:

Iran’s Attack was a Neutron Bomb in Narrative-World

By Ben Hunt | April 17, 2024 | 0 Comments

It doesn’t happen often, but every few years there’s a real-world shock that leaves the old narrative structures standing but eliminates all the people who believe strongly in them. These events are like neutron bombs for narrative-world, and that’s how I’d describe Iran’s attack on Israel this weekend.

IT’S. ABOUT. THE. MONEY.

By Ben Hunt | April 11, 2024 | 16 Comments

If you were a smart guy like MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor and you thought a stagflationary tsunami of enormous proportion was going to wash over the US economy regardless of who wins in November, what would you be doing right now?

I think you might be doing whatever you can to get liquid in the global reserve currency without spooking the marks.

The Last Hurrah

By Ben Hunt | April 9, 2024 | 0 Comments

I think everyone in Washington and on Wall Street is in the bag for nominal growth (ie, number-go-up) by any means necessary through November.

Washington is in the bag because their world ends if they don’t win in November. Wall Street is in the bag because it’s their last chance for a big score before a stagflationary vol event of enormous proportion hits the economy regardless of who wins in November.

That which we call QE by any other name would smell as sweet

By Ben Hunt | March 14, 2024 | 0 Comments

That which we call QE by any other name would smell as sweet.

I think if Shakespeare were reincarnated as a Fintwit luminary, that’s how he’d rewrite the Juliet bit about roses, at least if he were thinking about what’s happening in bank regulation today.

This is the privatization of QE and debt monetization.

And You Wonder Why Bitcoin and Gold are at Record Highs

By Ben Hunt | March 12, 2024 | 7 Comments

The Fed’s inflation-fighting credibility is shot and everyone in Washington and on Wall Street is in the bag for nominal growth, ie Number Go Up on EVERYTHING, through the November election.

After that … well, as Louis XV so aptly put it: après moi, le déluge.

Wheeee!

Two Quick Narrative Observations

By Ben Hunt | March 7, 2024 | 0 Comments

I got some more color from Rusty on the shift in our Narrative Monitors this month from hawkish to dovish central bank narratives, and I thought it was well worth forwarding to everyone.

Private Credit Working Group Call 3/1/24

By Ben Hunt | March 6, 2024 | 0 Comments

Recording of last Friday’s private credit working group call, along with a transcript for those who prefer reading over video.

The main takeaway is that we are increasingly thinking that the expansion in private credit is less of a ‘bubble’ than it is a structural transformation within capital markets.

Why Don’t Real Assets Work Better as an Inflation Hedge?

By Ben Hunt | February 29, 2024 | 0 Comments

I think the reason real assets like commodities are typically so disappointing in their inflation-hedging reality relative to their inflation-hedging theory is that they have no inherent pricing power. They only have a market story – and a mechanistic one at that – that they are an inflation hedge. It works for a while because enough people tell the story and believe in the story, until it gets trounced by another story, like growth/recession or supply-and-demand.

Is private credit any different?

The Semantic Universe

By Ben Hunt | February 29, 2024 | 12 Comments

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

Real-Time Narrative Shifts

By Ben Hunt | February 22, 2024 | 0 Comments

Once a truthy-sounding explanation for a market crash is widely publicized, the crash stops. It becomes safe to get back in the water.

That’s true for China today just like it was true for Bitcoin a few weeks ago.