When Jennifer Fan was just 16 years old, she moved to Manhattan to pursue higher education at New York University. The Pittsburgh native spent just three years at the prestigious NYC school before graduating with a double major in finance and statistics. At age 19, she was ready to start her career.
And start her career she did. She began as an intern at Bank of America in 2002, later joining Morgan Stanley as an analyst and, later, a trader in the global liquids group. There, she earned the reputation of being able to “trade anything, from egg futures to the spread between jet fuel and heating oil,” according to Institutional Investor, which named her a Hedge Fund Rising Star in June 2011
Fan joined Arrowhawk Capital Management in the summer of 2009. In just a short time, she was able to rise in the ranks to become partner and portfolio manager.
Jennifer Fan launched her own fund, Arbalet, in April 2012 when Arrowhawk closed. Ten employees of Arrowhawk and some previous investors followed her. Using the remains of a relative-value commodities fund she had gained 16% on at Arrowhawk, as well as money raised in her transition, Fan had a total of $650 million to launch her new fund.
At its peak, Arbalet had close to $700 million of capital to work with. At just thirty years old, Fan became one of the youngest hedge fund managers (not to mention one of just a few women) in the industry. In 2012, at age 29, Forbes profiled Fan as on of its 30 Under 30.
Unfortunately, while Fan had gained a 16% return using the same strategy her previous Arrowhawk fund, Arbalet saw slow returns—and an ensuing exodus of some of its biggest investors. In September 2013, funds had dropped below $200 million and reports of the account’s imminent closure began surfacing.
The fund’s performance wasn’t ideal, but the bigger problem faced by Fan and Arbalet was the exit of investors, which caused a chain reaction. Many investors must abide by strict restrictions—and the departure of a few big investors that caused a massive depletion of funds left smaller investors with no choice but to do the same.
Despite the recent struggles of Arbalet, Jennifer Fan is clearly a financial star to keep an eye on. As such a young and successful woman, she surely has some great things in her future.