Peter Briger: From Wharton To Goldman To Fortress, The Confidence Man

Peter L. Briger is current Co-Chief Executive Officer of Fortress and joined the company in 2002, following a 15-year-long career with powerhouse Goldman Sachs & Co. Initially, upon joining the Fortress team, Briger led the real estate and debt securities business division because at that time the company wanted to diversify its core activities in private equity. The genius that Briger brought with him to the company centered on his insight into market assets that no one else wanted. His long-time experience in Goldman Sachs’ Special Situations group—which he co-founded, had uniquely prepared him for his future role with Fortress. The Special Situations Group, which was notoriously secretive and tight-lipped about it’s very profitable dealings; has often been said to be the primary source of Goldman Sach’s profits both during and after Brigers’ heading of the division.

While still with the Special Situations group and at it’s height, Peter Briger and his colleagues heavily traded in global high-risk assets–like Thailand auto loans, troubled mortgages in Japan, an alcoholic beverage company in South Korea, commercial aircraft, and British plants. The strategy was always to acquire assets that had fallen into default with the main sources of capital. This could have been due to various factors, such as: economic instability, political pressure or any other reason that Goldman was able to capitalize on. Brigers’ group would hold onto those assets until the markets stabilized and they were then sold for a hefty profit. Buy low, sell high. It seems so simple, but the skillful execution and experience needed to succeed in these highly volatile deals require world-class investment skills. Peter Briger and his teams oversaw massive profits again and again.

Since leaving Goldman, the success of Peter Briger has not ebbed one bit. In the first quarter of 2015 alone, the Briger team successfully raised $ 4.7 billion for a new fund called “Fortress Credit Opportunities Fund IV”. That represented 87% of the total new funds raised by Fortress in that quarter.In recent years, Peter Briger found gold after the financial crisis and wryly once referred to his business as the “garbage collection of financial services” in an interview.Although the global financial landscape has more or less stabilized, Briger still sees a great opportunity to take advantage of ailing assets, especially in the financial sector. When he’s not overseeing massive business moves in his position as Co-Chairman with Fortress, Peter Brigers’ private time is devoted to more socially-conscious considerations—like serving on the board of Tipping Point, a non-profit organization serving low-income families in the San Francisco Bay Area; as well, as Caliber Schools, a network of charter schools committed to preparing students for success in competitive four-year colleges and beyond.

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