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John W. Henry

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John William Henry II (born September 13, 1949) is a futures and foreign exchange trading advisor who founded John W. Henry & Company (JWH). He is the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox and co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing. In March 2006, Boston Magazine estimated his net worth at $860 million, but noted that his company had recently experienced difficulties.[1] In May 2007, reports in the Wall Street Journal[2] and Bloomberg noted further difficulties with the firm.

Early lifeEdit

John William Henry II was born on September 13, 1949 in Quincy, Illinois. His parents were farmers, and he split his time growing up between Illinois and Arkansas. His asthmatic condition at the age of 15 prompted his family to move to Apple Valley, California. After his graduation from Victor Valley Senior High in Victorville, he attended Victor Valley College, then the University of California (at Riverside, Irvine, and Los Angeles), where he majored in philosophy but did not graduate — partly the result of performing on the road in two rock and roll bands, Elysian Fields and Hillary.

Henry started trading corn and soybean futures, to learn the basics of hedging the price risk of holding an inventory of these commodities, whether in storage or out in the field. In 1976, a commodities broker at Reynolds Securities asked him to advise other farmers, but he declined. After spending a summer in Norway with his first wife, Mai, Henry developed a mechanical trend following method for managing a futures trading account. He tested his trend-reversal method — which was never out of the market but always held a position (either long or short) in every one of the markets in the account's "basket" of commodities — "using his own money" (in the words of his marketing literature of 1983). When that test proved successful, he founded JWH in 1981, opened a small office across the street from the airport in Irvine, California, and began marketing his management to the largest commodity brokerage firms in America. That proved so successful by 1983, that he moved to considerably larger quarters at Fashion Island in Newport Beach. In 1989, JWH moved to Westport, Connecticut and Henry moved to Boca Raton, Florida. Two years later, JWH established a second office in Boca Raton.

John W. Henry & Company, Inc.Edit

JWH was established in 1981 and began taking retail clients in 1982. For approximately 20 years, JWH was known as the largest retail alternative asset money management firm in the world measured by assets under management.

Poor trading performance from 2005 through mid-2007 and consequent customer withdrawals reduced assets under management markedly, from a high of $3.8 billion in 2005 to approximately $500 million in mid-2007. As of August 31, 2008 total assets under management were estimated at $248 million.

The firm's management methods make mechanical, non-discretionary trading decisions in response to systematic determinations of reversals in each market's trend, with the explicit intention of precluding not only human emotions, but also any subjective evaluation of such things as the so-called fundamentals, to trigger each decision to be long or short each market, or not.[3] On May 29, 2007, Bloomberg News reported that Henry's assets under management had fallen by 80% after losing 33% over the prior two years. On the same day, the Wall Street Journal reported that the firm was in talks about affiliating with that of another investment manager, but that no transaction is imminent.


John W. Henry grew up a St. Louis Cardinals fan, especially of their star Stan Musial. After acquiring his fortune, his first foray into professional sports was in purchasing an AAA minor league team - the Tucson Toros of the Pacific Coast League in 1989. He was also one of the founders of the Senior Professional Baseball Association (a winter league in Florida composed of retired Major League players. Henry co-owned the winningest team in 1989-1990 - the West Palm Beach Tropics managed by former Boston Red Sox Impossible Dream (1967) manager, Dick Williams. He sold his interest in 1990 and the league went out of business the following year. In 1990, Henry negotiated to purchase the Orlando Magic NBA team, for a short time was the lead general for an expansion team which became the Colorado Rockies, headed a group attempting to land an NHL expansion bid for South Florida which ended up going to Tampa Bay, pre-dating South Florida's more successful NHL expansion bid soon after by Wayne Huizenga. Subsequently, Henry negotiated to buy the Miami Heat and later the New Jersey Nets.

Henry entered Major League Baseball with his purchase of a small interest in the New York Yankees in 1991. Henry became the sole owner of the Florida Marlins in 1999, purchasing the Major League club from Huizenga for a reported $158,000,000. In January 2002 Henry sold the Marlins in a multi-franchise deal to Jeffrey Loria then owner of the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals). Simultaneously, Henry led a purchase of the Boston Red Sox with partners Tom Werner and the New York Times Company from the Yawkey Trust headed by John Harrington. Henry, as principal owner and, Werner, as chairman, assembled a front office team headed up by Larry Lucchino with the express goal of "breaking the Curse of the Bambino." He accomplished this feat in the 2004 World Series, against his former childhood favorite Cardinals, and again in 2007.

New England Sports VenturesEdit

Main article: New England Sports Ventures

Henry and Werner established New England Sports Ventures in 2002. The company owns the Boston Red Sox, 80% of the New England Sports Network (which also carries the NHL's Boston Bruins), Fenway Park, Fenway Sports Group - a sports marketing and management firm, and various real estate properties surrounding Fenway Park.


In 2007, Henry's Fenway Sports Group bought a 50% stake in the Jack Roush's Roush Fenway Racing stock car racing team.[4] The team's Matt Kenseth won the Auto Club 500 at the California Speedway in February 2007. February 2009 the team won their first Daytona 500 with Matt Kenseth. Motorsport SimulationsEdit

In September 2004 Henry and David Kaemmer founded Motorsport Simulations for developing a racing simulation service aimed at both real-world racers and racing simulator enthusiasts. The service, called, was launched in August 2008.

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

"Fielding a dream" (PDF), Cover story, 'CME magazine, July 2005, pp. 8. Retrieved on 2006-09-25.

Covel, Michael W. (2009). Trend Following (Updated Edition): Learn to Make Millions in Up or Down Markets. FT Press.

References Edit

  1. 50 Wealthiest Bostonians Boston Magazine, March 2006, accessed July 6, 2007
  2. The Wall Street Journal "John Henry in a Slump" by Gregory Zuckerman, May 29, 2007
  3. "Curse Of The Bambino On The Trading Floor?", News: Analysis & Commentary, BusinessWeek, 2006-03-20. Retrieved on 2006-08-11.
  4. Red Sox owner buys 50% stake in Roush Racing Boston Globe, 2007-02-10. Retrieved on February 10, 2007

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
JRY Trust
Owner of the Boston Red Sox
2002 —
Succeeded by:


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