Julian Marchese

Courtesy of Julian Marchese

Julian Marchese.

A college dropout is prepping his own hedge fund.

Julian Marchese, 20, left New York University last year to focus on his business, Marchese Investments.

“NYU is extremely expensive,” Marchese told Business Insider. “I felt that the next three years that I would have spent at school, I could have spent on building [investment] strategies.”

Becoming an entrepreneur fulfills a lifelong dream, he added. 

“I like making my own hours,” he said. “I can work as hard as I want to. There’s no office I have to go to.”

For now, that’s truly the case. He has been working from his family’s home in suburban Toronto before he moves back to Manhattan early next year, where he rents a shared office space on Wall Street, he said.

A handful of industry vets have helped him set up his operations, and he plans to eventually hire some programmers and even an intern. 

Marchese said he manages about $ 1 million since launching last October, and expects another $ 3 million or so to come in over the coming months.

Hedge funds don’t have to disclose much information, and tiny ones don’t have to disclose anything at all, so Business Insider can’t verify the amounts independently. But we did hear about Marchese going out on his own from a person in the industry.

Marchese declined to identify the investors, but said it wasn’t his family. 

“I don’t come from much money,” he added. “Most of it went to NYU.”

Rather, investors got to know him as he gained publicity as an investing whiz kid. One investor expressed interest after Business Insider profiled him during his freshman year, when he was setting up shop in his dorm.

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Melia Robinson/BI

Julian Marchese worked on his strategy in his dorm room in 2014.

“When I was younger, it was all about me building my name and my brand,” said Marchese, who has had numerous articles written about him over the years. “Now that I’m running a business, it’s about me being a professional.”

Marchese invests using quantitative strategies — which use computer programs — to trade stocks and exchange traded funds. He has returned about 14% net of fees since launching last October, according to a performance record he provided. 

It’s far from common for investors to launch funds in their 20s, let alone without a college degree – though a recent exception is Jamie Sterne, a 28-year-old Harvard grad.

Technically, Marchese’s firm is not a hedge fund, which pools capital in one structure. Rather, he’s starting out managing investors’ money in separate accounts. But he said he plans on launching a commingled hedge fund in the coming months.

So why start off on his own rather than head to one of the established funds to work on his craft?

“I believe I have an investment philosophy that adds value on its own,” he said. “I don’t want to share that intellectual property with anyone because I think it’s best serviced to my investors.”

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