Get All Access for $5/mo

An Investor Made $20 Billion, Then Lost It All in Just 2 Days Bill Hwang amassed an immense fortune before losing it entirely after his lenders started selling his positions to pay off his debt to them.

By Justin Chan Edited by Jessica Thomas

Little was known about Bill Hwang until this week, when a trading fiasco put a spotlight on the $20 billion fortune he lost.

A Korean American immigrant who was once a protege of Tiger Management founder Julian Robertson, Hwang ran his own fund called Tiger Asia Management. At its height, the firm accumulated more than $10 billion in assets, according to Bloomberg.

Soon after, however, Hwang became the subject of an investigation by U.S. securities regulators, who accused him of using confidential information from private placement offerings to short-sell three Chinese bank stocks. Upon settling the claims and paying more than $60 million in fines and disgorgements, Hwang shut down Tiger Asia and opened Archegos as a family office.

Related: Sallie Krawcheck's Ellevest Reaches $1 Billion in Assets Under Management

As Bloomberg notes, Hwang, a deeply religious man, would often draw on his faith in explaining Archegos' portfolio, which consisted of investments in big tech companies like Netflix, Amazon, LinkedIn and Facebook. And as his involvement in his faith-based circle grew, so too did his trading activity. Despite Hwang's previous run-in with the SEC, lenders such as Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley continued to partner with him, all while Hwang secretly and increasingly traded via swap agreements and grew his leverage in the same stocks — such as those in ViacomCBS and Discovery — that some of his banks had exposed him to.

By 2017, Archegos had approximately $4 billion in capital. A few years later, Hwang was able to increase his net worth from $10 billion to $50 billion, the New York Post adds.

But things went south last week, when ViacomCBS — on which Archegos had bet massively and tripled its shares in four months — saw its $3 billion stock offering through Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan fall apart, CNBC reports. That, in turn, led some brokers to frantically exit the positions on Archegos' behalf. Although Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo managed to escape relatively unscathed, others — including Credit Suisse, Nomura and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. — were less fortunate. Nomura alone lost an estimated $2 billion, according to CNBC.

Altogether, Wall Street banks that had partnered with Archegos reportedly liquidated $20 billion worth of assets.

"This is a challenging time for the family office of Archegos Capital Management, our partners and employees," Karen Kessler, a spokesperson for Archegos, told the network, in the aftermath of one of the biggest and fastest financial losses in history. "All plans are being discussed as Mr. Hwang and the team determine the best path forward."

Related: A Math Teacher Went From Earning $5,000 a Month to $28,000 Thanks to 6 Strategic Money Decisions

Justin Chan

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Justin Chan is a news writer at Previously, he was a trending news editor at Verizon Media, where he covered entrepreneurship, lifestyle, pop culture, and tech. He was also an assistant web editor at Architectural Record, where he wrote on architecture, travel, and design. Chan has additionally written for Forbes, Reader's Digest, Time Out New YorkHuffPost, Complex, and Mic. He is a 2013 graduate of Columbia Journalism School, where he studied magazine journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @jchan1109.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business News

You Can Now Apply to Renew Your U.S. Passport Online — But There's a Catch

The U.S. State Department officially launched the beta program this week.

Business News

Sony Pictures Entertainment Purchases Struggling, Cult-Favorite Movie Theater Chain

Alamo Drafthouse originally emerged from bankruptcy in June 2021.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.