Fortress Group manages $43 billion for its investors. Managing the investment of such sums requires competent leaders with well-rounded backgrounds in finance and investing. At the top of Fortress Group’s management team are its three principals, Wes Edens, Randal Nardone, and Peter Briger.
Unlike Edens and Nardone, Peter Briger was not there for the 1998 founding of Fortress Group, which he joined four years later in 2002. Briger was invited to become a principal at Fortress because of his track record in debt securities and real estate investing. At the time Fortress was eager to broaden its operations beyond the private equity investments that dominated its portfolio at that point.
Before coming to Fortress, Peter Briger joined Goldman Sachs in 1996. Just one year later, in 1997, Briger cofounded Goldman Sachs’ Special Situations Group. Known for both the secrecy surrounding its investments and the profitability of those investments, some credit the Special Situations Group for generating a significant chunk of Goldman’s revenue from the mid-aughts to 2015. One of the groups cofounders left in 2007, pointing to the inadequacy of his $70 million per annum compensation. Briger’s tenure in that group was by itself enough to cement his rep as an investment manager with elite skills.
The Special Situations Group’s fundamental strategy was to invest in debts or properties that had, for whatever reason, fallen from favor in the minds of mainstream investment managers. The group would buy, ride out the bad times and the negative sentiment, ultimately producing head-turning profits. Whether it was Thai auto loans, a UK power station, or other Asian investments in troubled mortgages, or an alcoholic beverage producer, Briger and his teammates saw opportunity where others saw tainted reputations or political uncertainty.
Given Peter Briger’s considerable experience in Asian investments, particularly in debt securities and real estate, it seems likely that Briger’s presence at Fortress was very much a part of SofBank’s (a Japanese multinational) 2017 acquisition of Fortress Group for USD 3.3 billion. The sale vaulted Briger back onto the Forbe’s 400 list of billionaires. It is no coincidence that Briger’s office is on the west coast of the US, on an ocean shared with Asia.
Peter Briger earned a BA at Princeton University and remains not only an active alumnus but a significant financial contributor to his alma mater. Briger went on to earn an MBA from Wharton.