The 2015 Hedge Fund Rising Stars: Harlan Saroken

The Perry Capital marketing and investor relations specialist took a brief detour from Wall Street to work in the diamond business.


Harlan Saroken

Harlan Saroken

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but a career in the gem industry can have less to offer than working at a top hedge fund — or at least that’s been Harlan Saroken’s experience. The daughter of an oil and gas transportation executive, Saroken is a born-and-raised New Yorker. After growing up on the Upper East Side, she received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, where she majored in government. She left Cambridge, Massachusetts, to return to her home city and a job as an associate in equity capital markets with investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co. Having worked in equity sales for Merrill in New York and London, Saroken followed her boss and mentor, Alison Mass, to Goldman Sachs Group in 2001. Two years later she changed career paths by moving to diamond and jewelry wholesaler M. Fabrikant & Sons, a firm with which she had family ties. After more than five years of marketing financial products to Wall Street, Saroken was now selling diamonds to Wal-Mart Stores. Her old Wall Street pals hadn’t forgotten her, however: In 2005, when New York–based hedge fund firm Perry Capital was looking for a marketing and investor relations executive, Saroken’s mentor recommended her for the job. So it was goodbye to diamonds and hello to hedge funds, with her personable style, ease with numbers and willingness and ability to understand the product translating well. The 39-year-old managing director is now an integral part of the team at Perry, which manages more than $9.8 billion in assets. Saroken’s diamond escapade did have some lasting benefits, though. Not only is she the go-to person for friends and colleagues looking for that special piece of jewelry, but she also met her husband during that time.