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:

Once in a Lifetime

By Ben Hunt | March 29, 2020 | 38 Comments

We are led by high-functioning sociopaths, in our politics and our economy, and nowhere is this more apparent than in our war against COVID-19. It’s not a left/right thing. It’s not a Republican/Democrat thing. It’s a power thing.

Enough. It’s time for the Pack to howl.

Empathy + Minimax Regret is the answer. Because 2 + 2 = 4.

Yes, this is a personal note. That’s what this war is for all of us … personal.

Read more

Getting PPE to Healthcare Workers and First Responders

By Ben Hunt | March 23, 2020 | 3 Comments

This is our personal effort to help identify *need*, *sources*, and *money* for personal protective equipment distributions to healthcare workers and first responders.

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Do The Right Thing

By Ben Hunt | March 19, 2020 | 28 Comments

I’m angry that I have to write this note about the airline industry and how to structure the bail-out of United, Delta, American and Southwest. But I must, because the raccoons and the high-functioning sociopaths are looking to get their private losses socialized and their private gains locked in.

Bailout the airlines and their rank-and-file employees? You bet.

Bailout the CEOs and Warren Buffett? Not a chance.

Read more

The Python and the Pig

By Ben Hunt | March 13, 2020 | 2 Comments

The NYC healthcare system – one of the finest in the world – is about to be slammed beyond anything they have ever seen. ER visits and patient testing is where it begins. It moves from there through the system, ending in ICU wards. The process is like a python swallowing a pig, except this isn’t a pig. It’s a whale.

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Tick-Tock

By Ben Hunt | March 12, 2020 | 15 Comments

For the first time our federal government is treating the fight against this virus like the war that it is.

Is it pathetic and sad and a corrupt betrayal of the public trust that it took this long? Absolutely.

But now here we go. And there is no country in the world that mobilizes for war more effectively than the United States.

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Minimax Regret

By Ben Hunt | March 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

All of our thinking about CV-19 is wrong and all of our decision-making about CV-19 is wrong because we believe we’re getting “information”, when actually all we’re getting is an irrelevant error distribution.

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Don’t Test, Don’t Tell (10 Days Later)

By Ben Hunt | March 8, 2020 | 10 Comments

Originally published in Quillette, it’s the Epsilon Theory take on Don’t Test, Don’t Tell” – the single most incompetent, corrupt public health policy of my lifetime.

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The Mozilo Market

By Ben Hunt | February 28, 2020 | 12 Comments

After a Countrywide earnings call in 2008, I trusted NO ONE in government or Wall Street to tell the truth about the mortgage crisis.

And that’s the way I feel about COVID-19 today.

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Don’t Test, Don’t Tell

By Ben Hunt | February 27, 2020 | 25 Comments

The CDC’s Don’t Test, Don’t Tell policy came crashing down last night. So did Trump’s “buh, buh the flu” and “Yay, Containment!” narratives.

Now let’s get to work preparing for the fight to come.

Not in panic. Not in fear. But with resolve, sacrifice and righteous anger for those who would use us instrumentally for their own political ends.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

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The Fall of Wuhan

By Ben Hunt | February 24, 2020 | 14 Comments

Containment has failed.

And so now we must fight.

That means doing everything possible to bolster our healthcare systems BEFORE the need overwhelms the capacity.

That means calling out our leaders for their corrupt political responses to date, and forcing them through our outcry to adopt an effective virus-fighting policy for OUR benefit, not theirs.

Read more