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:

Parasite Rex

By Ben Hunt | January 12, 2014 | 0 Comments

The most effective alpha-generating strategies are, technically speaking, parasites. I say this with love and admiration.

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Adaptive Investing: What’s Your Market DNA?

By Ben Hunt | January 5, 2014 | 0 Comments

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change. – Charles Darwin We think we know that chimpanzees are higher animals and earthworms are lower, we think we’ve always known what that means, and we think evolution makes it even clearer. But it doesn’t. It …

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The Construction of Robert Capa

By Ben Hunt | December 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

I went to the Democratic Convention as a journalist, and returned as a cold-blooded revolutionary. – Hunter S. Thompson Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma …

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Whatever It Takes

By Ben Hunt | December 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

A few observations on what to look for in the language of the FOMC announcement tomorrow from a game theoretic perspective. Ever since Mario Draghi ad-libbed the lines “whatever it takes” in his July 2012 speech in London, a speech that together with the equally fabulistic OMT program rescued Europe and the Euro from the …

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The Stuka

By Ben Hunt | December 9, 2013 | 0 Comments

The Fed is now playing the Common Knowledge game openly and directly, making public statements through their media intermediaries to tell you how ALL market participants perceive reality, even though in fact NO market participant has a clear view of reality. Media intermediaries such as the WSJ’d Jon Hilsenrath are the equivalent of the Jericho …

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A Dogmatic Slumber

By Ben Hunt | December 1, 2013 | 0 Comments

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH WAR IS PEACE. – George Orwell, “1984” SECRETS ARE LIES SHARING IS CARING PRIVACY IS THEFT. – Dave Eggers, “The Circle” Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty. One person may even perceive deformity, where …

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The 18th Brumaire of Janet Yellen

By Ben Hunt | November 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

One of the more painful lessons in investing is that the prudent investor (or ‘value investor’ if you prefer) almost invariably must forego plenty of fun at the top end of markets. This market is already no exception, but speculation can hurt prudence much more and probably will. Ah, that’s life. And with a Fed …

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When E.F. Hutton Talks

By Ben Hunt | November 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan. – Barack Obama Of course, one objective of both traditional and nontraditional policy during recoveries is to promote a return to productive risk-taking. – Ben Bernanke Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinion, their lives a mimicry, their passions …

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The Wages of Fear

By Ben Hunt | November 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

You don’t know what fear is. But you’ll see. It’s catching, it’s catching like small pox! And once you get it, it’s for life! So long, boys, and good luck.  – Henri-Georges Clouzot, “The Wages of Fear” I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will …

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Poindexter Über Alles

By Ben Hunt | November 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

Recent papers written by Fed functionaries and the attendant media attention serve as a reminder of the academic and bureaucratic capture of the Fed. More interesting is whether this same capture has occurred in other policy areas, such as national security and healthcare, such that QE, Obamacare, and NSA eavesdropping are all best understood as …

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