Our People / Mort Simpson

© 2008-2011 Daruma Asset Management, Inc.

Sara ClairMort Simpson — Senior Research Analyst

I grew up in the Deep South in the 1960s and ’70s. My family has been there for many generations, and most still live in Birmingham, Alabama, or in cities nearby. It was this Southern upbringing and values system, with a strong emphasis on ethics and morality, that created the lens through which I look at life. My parents stressed truth, honesty, working to the best of your abilities and treating others with respect, among other values, as guidelines to live life. If you were given back extra change when you bought something, the right thing to do was to return it.

Thanks to my grandfather, I also learned many life lessons at an early age; most importantly, the value of hard work and the role it plays in achieving success. He went to the meatpacking plant at 3:00 a.m. for work, seven days a week. (Take note: I haven’t eaten a hot dog since my first visit to the plant as a six-year-old.) With little more than a grammar-school education, he provided our family with a standard of living that he was not fortunate enough to enjoy as a child. Both my mother and uncle were able to go to college, and he also put my two sisters and me through school at a time when we couldn’t afford to go otherwise. The message was clear: Hard work pays off.

I was one of those kids who read the business section and opened their first brokerage account in their early teens. It drove my mother crazy. “Wouldn’t it be a better use of your time to read novels and great literature?” she would ever so politely ask. However, she was willing to drive me to the broker to pay for trades or to the newsstand for financial magazines. My mother still hasn’t quite forgiven me, though, for spending an entire family vacation in Washington, D.C., in the SEC reference room, happily reading and making microfiche copies of filings. I had found my calling.

I focused my undergraduate studies on accounting and received a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Florida, which agreed to charge me in-state tuition rates and admitted me to the Honors Program. I went to the University of Michigan for my M.B.A. and then headed straight to Wall Street to pursue full time my love of investing.

Wall Street was emerging from a long slumber in 1984, and though I landed a job at Irving Trust as a loan officer (that training in credit analysis has proved invaluable), I soon realized that the buy-side was what I truly loved. After a number of years at Value firms that emphasized classic, fundamental research (Heine Securities and  Arnold and S. Bleichroeder Advisors, for example), I founded my own firm, Bellmore Asset Management, in 1992. At Bellmore I continued to invest using a research-intensive, bottom-up approach for long-only separate accounts, for both high-net-worth individuals and institutional clients. In 1998 I started a second product, a market-neutral hedge fund, and achieved attractive returns during the market downturn of 2000 through 2003.

After eleven years, I realized that I enjoyed finding and researching great investing ideas more than the challenges of running a money management business. It was a difficult decision, but in late 2003, I decided to close my firm and join a hedge fund with a similar investment philosophy and strategy. Over the past five years, working at two hedge funds (Brahman Capital and Glenhill Capital), I have continued to refine my investment skills and research techniques during an extraordinary time in the industry.

Our People

Mariko Gordon, CFA — Founder, CEO and CIO

Patty Clarkson — Partner, Client Service and Consultant Relations

Neal Tully — Partner and Senior Research Analyst

David Gerber —Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer

Brad McGill — Senior Research Analyst

Mort Simpson — Senior Research Analyst

Mark Miller — Senior Research Analyst

Michael Bostler — Research Analyst

Steven Cohen — Trader

Kim Cataudella — Chief Compliance Officer

Naomi Lyum — Business Manager

Rhonda Beaman — Portfolio Administrator

Francesca McGowanDirector of Client Service

Tania Luna — Office Manager