Fortress Investment Group Creates Innovation as Private Equity Firm

Fortress Investment Group was featured in the New York Patch article “A Force of Innovation: Two decades of Fortress Investment Group.” The article was written by a Patch contributor, Kay Singer.

Fortress Investment Group was created by Randal Nardone, Wes Edens, and Rob Kauffman. The first two are still the current principals, though Kauffman retired in 2012. The co-founders have experience in working with some of the leading financial institutions like BlackRock Financial Management, Goldman Sachs, and Lehman Brothers. They created the company because they wanted an investment firm that was focused on different assets that used private equity. They were able to grow their assets incredibly quickly. They turned the initial $400 million into $3.9 billion within the first five years. In 2007, it continued to grow to $32.6 billion.

The company released the first investment vehicle, called the Fortress Investment Fund in 1999. The company had investments in the New York and Toronto real estate markets. They continued to expand into hedge funds and debt securities. Eventually, it grew 40% from 1999-2006.

Co-founder Rob Kauffman retired after he recognized lifelong passion of car racing. He invested in the Michael Waltrip Racing and he founded the RK Motors Charlotte. He has participated in a number of races like the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He also has cars in a number of IndyCar Series Races.

After Kauffman left, the company brought on two key players to help lead the company into even greater success. Peter Briger joined from Goldman Sachs as a principal. He had more than 15 years in the financial industry and had considerable experience in the Asian financial sector. They also brought on Michael Novogratz to be one of the leading fund managers. He left Fortress Investment Group in 2015 to focus on cryptocurrency.

When the new principals came to the Fortress Investment Group team, the company continued to grow. They had a high initial public offering where newspapers revealed that it was the first private equity company to go public. They set the trend for other businesses like Blackstone Group and KKR& CO. to follow.

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