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:

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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A Game of Sentiment

By Ben Hunt | November 3, 2013 | 0 Comments

I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We’re a knowledgeable family. – Prince Geoffrey, “The Lion In Winter” We do not sow. – House Greyjoy motto, “A Game of Thrones” It would be ideal if we could have an uncontrolled …

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Render Unto Caesar

By Ben Hunt | October 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

There are two sides to the Epsilon Theory coin — looking at market-shaping current events through the lens of game theory and history, and looking at market behaviors through the lens of information theory. The former is all about the malleability of meaning within markets; the latter is all about the constancy of patterns within …

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What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits

By Ben Hunt | October 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

The central banks of the West announced today that their temporary swap lines would be made permanent. Like QE itself, the meaning of this emergency policy instrument instituted in the crisis of 2008-2009 has changed from a massive short-term intervention against an acute and life-threatening economic injury to a massive permanent insurance policy against a …

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The Koan of Donald Rumsfeld

By Ben Hunt | October 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know.We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. – Donald Rumsfeld There is an unmistakable Zen-like quality to …

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The Levelers

By Ben Hunt | October 13, 2013 | 0 Comments

Mr. Incredible:  You mean you killed off real heroes so that you could *pretend* to be one? Syndrome:  Oh, I’m real. Real enough to defeat you! And I did it without your precious gifts, your oh-so-special powers. I’ll give them heroics. I’ll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I’m old …

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A ‘Precise and Predictable’ Yellen Fed?

By Ben Hunt | October 10, 2013 | 0 Comments

The pursuit of greater predictability and transparency in Fed communications is a mistake, particularly in the context of broad guarantees concerning world-shaking policies. We learned this lesson early in the Cold War through the hard knocks of Korea and Vietnam (not to mention the scares of Berlin and Cuba), and it seems a shame that …

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A World of Guarantees

By Ben Hunt | October 6, 2013 | 0 Comments

“We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.” – Joe Namath, 3 days before Super Bowl III “Our torments also may in length of time Become our Elements.” – John Milton, “Paradise Lost” “When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?” – Chuck Palahniuk, “Invisible Monsters” “Some say the world …

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