Bruce Berkowitz‘s Fairholme fund can’t seem to catch a break. Fortune reports its assets were cut in half as investors pulled their money out amidst losses and now Charles M. “Charlie” Fernandez left for “other opportunities.”
Charlie Fernandez’s Early Success
Charlie Fernandez’s specialty is restructuring. He started at Fairholme four years ago and he was off like a rocket. Fernandez worked a lot of big deals and made a fortune for Fairholme. In 2008, Fernandez helped alexander close to bankruptcy push a lot of loans into the credit markets. Later in 2010, he sorted through one of the largest real estate bankruptcies in history and made it into a fortune by spending months on the telephone to turn the securities he acquired into cash for the fund. All in all, it is estimated that last year Fernandez made Fairholme around $2 billion.
Charlie Fernandez and Bruce Berkowitz
Bruce Berkowitz hired Charlie Fernandez in 2007 after meeting his through a younger cousin. He and Berkowitz became close. Fernandez even moved in beside Berkowitz – they would walk together in the mornings and discuss business. Fortune reports, “Berkowitz joked that it took him a lifetime to find his own Charlie — a nod to Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett‘s longtime partner.” Berkowitz said he was saddened of the move but not shocked. Fairholme fell from $18 billion to $9 billion, after losing on private stake transactions and the plummet of large cap financial stocks that didn’t recover as quickly as investors would have liked.