Paul Tudor Jones on mothers as traders: ‘My remarks offended, and I am sorry’

May 24, 2013

Paul Tudor Jones, a hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist, apologized Friday for comments he made at the University of Virginia last month about the lack of female traders. He had attributed the problem to women becoming mothers and no longer having the intense focus required for successful trading.

“Much of my adult life has been spent fighting for equal opportunity, and the idea that I would support limiting opportunity for any segment of society, particularly women, is antithetical to who I am and what I have done,” Jones said in a statement Friday afternoon. “My remarks offended, and I am sorry.”

Jones’s comments came during the question-and-answer session of an April 26 symposium at the U-Va. McIntire School of Commerce that featured Jones and several other prominent investors. The Washington Post obtained access to a video of the discussion through a Freedom of Information Act request this week.

At the symposium, a person in the audience submitted a question — labeled “elephant in the room” — that asked the all-male panel what it would take to get more diversity on the stage. In a lengthy answer, Jones said that women are “very capable” but lose focus once they have children.

“You will never see as many great women investors or traders as men,” Jones said. “Period. End of story.”

At a University of Virginia symposium in late April, Paul Tudor Jones responded to a question about why the panel only featured “rich, white, middle-aged men.” Tudor responded by saying that trading requires intense focus, which he believes many women lose when they have children. The panel featured (from left to right) U-Va. professor David Mick, Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment Corporation, Julian Robertson of Tiger Management, John Griffin of Blue Ridge Capital and moderator Jeff Walker, chairman of the U-Va. Council of Foundations (University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce/The Washington Post)

Jones gave the example of two women who worked with him at a stock brokerage in the late 1970s, then married and had children.

“As soon as that baby’s lips touched that girl’s bosom, forget it,” Jones said, motioning to his chest. Jones said the women were “overwhelmed by the most beautiful experience” of connecting with a child and could no longer focus on investment ideas or market movements. He doesn’t expect this to change.

“If you told me that this woman was not going to have a baby — certainly can get married, but not going to have a baby — then I think it would be a completely different panel 20 years from now,” said Jones, who has three daughters. “Assuming that she’s not going to have a baby.”

Jones is a 1976 graduate of U-Va. who has given more than $100 million to the university. He is the founder of the Robin Hood Foundation, which has invested more than $1 billion in fighting poverty in New York City.

In a statement Jones issued to The Post on Friday, he said, in part: “My off the cuff remarks at the University of Virginia were with regard to global macro traders, who are on-call 24/7. . . . Life events, such as birth, divorce, death of a loved one and other emotional highs and lows are obstacles to success in this specific field of finance but pass with time.” He also added an apology.

Jenna Johnson writes about Maryland politics, including the General Assembly, the administration of Gov. Martin O'Malley and the 2014 election.
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