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Ben Hunt

Ben Hunt

Co-Founder and CIO


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:

Why Take A Chance?

By Ben Hunt | September 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

Is Evergrande a systemic risk? Is this China’s Lehman moment?

I don’t know. Could be. But unless and until the market loses confidence in China’s response to Evergrande, it’s not a Lehman moment. It can’t be.

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Pushing on a String

By Ben Hunt | September 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Banks have a problem. Deposit growth is too high and loan growth is too low.

It’s all just another signal that real economic growth is struggling, even as inflation becomes more embedded.

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The Widened Gyre

By Ben Hunt | September 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

From the ET Forum … Yesterday, the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I read and heard several mainstream references to “the Widening Gyre”. It makes sense…

Whitestone Bridge

By Ben Hunt | September 11, 2021 | 2 Comments

Our true enemies on 9/11 – the Deep State of Saudi Arabia and the Deep State of Pakistan – are our true enemies still.

And we won’t defeat them until we bridge our petty divides.

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The Green Protocol: A New Vision for Crypto, Pt 2

By Ben Hunt | September 8, 2021 | 23 Comments

The Green Protocol is a set of rules for the tokenization of symbolic betting markets in positive social good.

I think this is how crypto saves the world.

Our first step on this new path? Let’s plant one billion new trees in North America over the next ten years.

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Thanks I Hate It

By Ben Hunt | September 2, 2021 | 0 Comments

For the past several months our Narrative Monitors have been quite bullish on risk assets, despite all of the Fed-related and Delta-related and China-related and inflation-related concerns that have been on my personal radar screen. Rusty’s, too. The fact is, though, the Monitors have been spot-on and I’ve been dead wrong, which is … well, it’s exactly why we’re so excited about this research program!

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C’mon, Australia

By Ben Hunt | August 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

From the ET Forum … An Australian Pack member living abroad published what I think is an outstanding review of the depths to which Australia’s…

Barking Dogs and Not-Barking Dogs

By Ben Hunt | August 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

I learn a lot from Camp Kotok, the 5 day fishing trip up in the wilds of Maine that David Kotok, founder and CIO of Cumberland Advisors, hosts every summer for wealth managers, economists, traders, etc.

Most of what I learn at Camp Kotok has nothing to do with the actual facts being discussed and debated, but on whether topics are being discussed and debated at all.

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Afghanistan and the Common Knowledge Game

By Ben Hunt | August 23, 2021 | 43 Comments

When the State Department announced on August 12th that it was removing all remaining non-essential personnel from Kabul within 3 days and was considering a relocation of the US embassy to the more defensible airport, the fall of the Afghani government became common knowledge.

And that’s when everything fell apart.

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Kabul is Falling

By Ben Hunt | August 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

From the ET Forum … If Barbara Tuchman were alive she would be adding another chapter to her classic The March of Folly. I am fascinated…