The O’Shea Center for Credit Analysis and Investment Hosts Networking Event Featuring Dan Kamensky, Founder & Former Chief Investment Office, Marble Ridge Capital
Featured Events | May 26, 2023 | Gabelli School of Business
On April 20, 2023, the O’Shea Center for Credit Analysis and Investment at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, hosted a standing-room-only fireside chat that attracted nearly 300 students, alumni, and industry professionals. The event titled “A Cautionary Tale of a Hedge Fund Manager’s Rise and Fall,” was held at the University Club in NYC, and provided the educational insights, networking opportunities and connections to industry that are at the very core of the Center’s mission and vision.
Bob O’Shea (GABELLI ’87), who in 2020, helped to establish the Center that bears his name with a generous gift from himself and his wife, Michelle (FCRH ’88), kicked off the evening with an overview of its recent activities, as well as plans for the future. He focused on several initiatives including the establishment of a second concentration in credit as being a top priority. O’Shea noted that both he and Professor Michael Gatto, whose generosity also played a critical role in establishing the O’Shea Center and who is a beloved instructor at the Gabelli School, both started out in credit training, which served as a major springboard for the highly successful careers they have enjoyed. He stressed the value proposition of providing Gabelli School of Business students with the kind of credit industry insights that other universities simply do not have, underscoring that this type of training will help them to stand out and succeed in an evolving and increasingly globalized job market.
In addition to establishing the new credit concentration, O’Shea also announced the O’Shea Family Foundation’s involvement in Buildon, an organization whose mission is to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and low expectations through service and education. Funding from the O’Shea Family Foundation will help to establish eight schools in developing countries, with Gabelli School students picking the locations of each facility. O’Shea also announced the soon-to-be released textbook on credit that is being written by Michael Gatto.
Once updates were complete, Professor Michael Gatto delivered one of his legendary introduction speeches, leading up to the evening’s main event—a fireside chat with Dan Kamensky, founder and former chief investment officer of distressed debt hedge fund Marble Ridge Capital. Led by Gatto, the discussion focused on Kamensky’s meteoric rise to success and sudden fall after making a flawed decision. Kamensky had reached the pinnacle of career success at Marble Ridge Capital and had just orchestrated the restructuring of a lifetime. It was a David vs. Goliath story, in which he and his firm went head-to-head with giant private equity fund Ares, and it seemed as though he would emerge victorious. But in the moment of what should have been the height of his professional career, Kamensky made a phone call that would change everything for him. While unsecured creditors would reap the benefits of his two-year fight to achieve a fair recovery for them, he would not reap the benefits himself. Instead, the phone conversation would end his brilliant financial career; he would plead guilty to one count of bankruptcy fraud, serve time in prison, and his successful fund would come to an end.
This cautionary tale served as a poignant lesson for all of those in the room, and illustrated how one brief instance of anger and poor judgment can create the perfect storm for impulsive and self-destructive behavior, which could destroy even the most solid business and promising career.
The Gabelli School of Business and the O’Shea Center for Credit Analysis are incredibly grateful to Dan Kamensky for sharing his story with others in the hope that it will provide the insights and inspiration to think before acting and to take the path that leads to honesty and integrity when conducting business—no matter what the circumstances may be. Kamensky recently founded the Creditor Rights Coalition, a nonprofit association established to serve as the collective and leading voice representing all stakeholders with an interest in protecting creditor rights. The CRC provides curated and original content to over 2,000 members as well as programming and educational events. More information on the CRC can be found at www.creditorcoalition.org.
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Written by: Paola Curcio-Kleinman, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, Gabelli School of Business