W. 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:

Through the Looking Glass, or … This is the Red Pill

By Ben Hunt | June 16, 2013 | 0 Comments

There are unwritten rules for almost all social phenomena, from investing to writing epic poetry. Not that these weekly notes aspire to Homeric levels (although they do get pretty lengthy), but Epsilon Theory does follow one unwritten rule taken from the Iliad, the Aeneid, etc. in that I began this story in media res– in the middle of …

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What We’ve Got Here Is … Failure to Communicate

By Ben Hunt | June 9, 2013 | 0 Comments

From the classic Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke, as the Captain administers Luke’s punishment in the prison yard for yet another escape attempt:  Captain: You gonna get used to wearing those chains after a while, Luke. Don’t you never stop listening to them clinking, ‘cause they gonna remind you what I been saying for your …

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Epsilon Theory Manifesto

By Ben Hunt | June 1, 2013 | 1 Comment

Our times require an investment and risk management perspective that is fluent in econometrics but is equally grounded in game theory, history, and behavioral analysis. Epsilon Theory is my attempt to lay the foundation for such a perspective. The name comes from the fundamental regression equation of modern portfolio management: y = α + β+ …

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Friday Was an Important Day

By Ben Hunt | November 18, 2012 | 0 Comments

An initial examination of the informational inflection point generated by the Nov. 18th Boehner/Reid press conference. epsilon-theory-friday-was-an-important-day-november-18-2012.pdf (247 KB)

Don’t Mess with Mister In-Between

By Ben Hunt | November 8, 2012 | 0 Comments

Early research on the relationship between informational surfaces and structural market change. epsilon-theory-dont-mess-with-mister-in-between.pdf (244 KB)

Jack Welch was Right

By Ben Hunt | October 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

An analysis of systematic error in BLS data and its role in the Narrative regarding US labor conditions. epsilon-theory-jack-welch-was-right-october-29-2012.pdf (219 KB)

Donald Rumsfeld and Risk Management

By Ben Hunt | October 7, 2012 | 0 Comments

Early notes on investment as an exercise in decision-making under uncertainty. epsilon-theory-donald-rumsfeld-and-risk-management-october-7-2012.pdf (197 KB)

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

By Ben Hunt | September 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

Growing political fragmentation in Europe and its structural consequences for markets. epsilon-theory-hello-darkness-my-old-friend-september-29-2012.pdf (123 KB)

Dude, Where’s My Financial Repression

By Ben Hunt | September 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

An initial analysis of the Sept. 15th FOMC announcement of open-ended QE. epsilon-theory-dude-wheres-my-financial-repression-september-15-2012.pdf (191 KB)

Why Do Words Matter So Much?

By Ben Hunt | August 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

Early notes on importance of Common Knowledge game in understanding market behavior. epsilon-theory-why-do-words-matter-so-much-august-30-2012.pdf (753 KB) Test: epsilon-theory-why-do-words-matter-so-much-august-30-2012.pdf (753 KB)