The 2014 Hedge Fund Rising Stars: Maria Vassalou

Vassalou joined $11.3 billion Perella Weinberg Partners last year to run its PWP Global Macro strategy.

Maria Vassalou

Maria Vassalou

One key insight has driven Maria Vassalou’s work as an academic and a global macro hedge fund manager: Financiers and macroeconomic experts more often than not fail to understand each other — a situation that can lead to investment opportunities as well as dangerous economic consequences. Vassalou, 48, is all too familiar with the latter, having grown up in Greece, which is dealing with the fallout from the misalignment of European monetary policy and its own economic reality. After earning an economics degree, she left her native country to attend London Business School for a Ph.D. in financial economics. In 1995, Vassalou joined Columbia Business School, where she was an associate finance professor. She began consulting to banks and hedge funds; in 2006 she moved to Soros Fund Management, the ultimate global macro manager, before stints at hedge fund firm SAC Capital Advisors and MIO Partners, the investment office of consulting firm McKinsey & Co. Last year Perella Weinberg Partners, the $11.3 billion, New York–based bank and asset manager, recruited Vassalou to its hedge fund platform to launch its PWP Global Macro strategy, which she runs as a partner at the firm.