Paul Singer is the founder of Elliott Associates, a hedge fund.
Formed in 1977, Elliott is one of the oldest hedge funds under continuous management. Singer started the firm as a convertible arbitrage trader, but following the 1987 market crash moved into activist investing, including distressed debt. Today, Elliott has more than $8 billion of capital under management and has generated a compound net return of approximately 14 percent per year over the last 30 years.
A small portion of Elliott’s distressed securities trading has been in sovereign debt, most recently Argentina and Congo-Brazzaville. Elliott is well-known for its investment in the distressed debt of Peru. In 1995, Elliott bought $20 million face value of defaulted Peruvian bank debt. After extensive and costly litigation and numerous attempts by Elliott to settle, the Court awarded $58 million to Elliott, including past due interest. More recently, Elliott has exposed rampant corruption in Congo-Brazzaville in its efforts to enforce judgments totaling more than $100 million in defaulted bank debt.
Singer is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and worked as a lawyer at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Real Estate before starting Elliott.
Political activism and donations
Singer has been active in Republican Party politics and was a major contributor to George W. Bush's presidential campaigns. In 2007, he became a supporter of GOP presidential contender Rudy Giuliani.,
Singer has acknowledged that he donated $175,000 to Take Initiative America, a Missouri corporation which in turn gave a substantial donation to Californians for Equal Representation, which was the original sponsor of the California Presidential Electoral College ballot measure.
When Singer told reporters that he was the source of the controversial donation to TIA, he said "I contributed to the Take Initiative America because I believe in proportional voting in the Electoral College. I made the contribution without any restrictions, including whether or how it would need to be disclosed. I left disclosure completely up to Take Initiative America."