HMI owes its heritage to the history of the Hellman family in the money management business and the rise of Hellman & Friedman LLC (H&F) as a best-in-class leader in private equity. Mick’s father, Warren, was a compelling and dynamic leader who launched a number of successful money management practices and established values that continue to inspire the way we do business at HMI today. Known as a devoted family man, a wise investor, an endurance athlete and a lover of banjos and bluegrass music, Warren’s value system emphasized the virtues of fairness, tenacity and humility. Warren was also known for his pithy aphorisms, such as:
“It’s easy to be a good partner in good times. Be a good partner in bad times.”
“There are only two kinds of managers: those who meet their budgets, and those I despise”
And, of course:
“Money is like manure. If you hold onto it, it stinks. But if you spread it around, good things grow.”
Important elements from these influences include the power of a strongly defined investment philosophy, a singular focus, a consistent and robust process and a culture of earnest endeavor. At the heart of the HMI belief system is the idea that a team embracing these ingredients and having shared interests, deep knowledge and a collegial but direct mode of engagement will produce consistently exceptional results over time.
At the time of its creation in late 2008/early 2009, HMI’s task was to turn these principles and processes to a liquid portfolio of public common equities and credit. Over successive capital markets cycles, it had become clear that outstanding business models sometimes trade to extremes of valuation, and that applying the principles outlined above could yield strong investment results with diminished risk of permanent loss of capital.
With backing from many in the One Maritime Plaza community, the three original partners of HMI, Mick Hellman, Justin Nyweide and Emily Brakebill, set up shop on the 11th floor and closed on their first $30 million of capital in February 2009. The firm has since grown to a team of eight, promoting Sean Barrett to partner in 2016. The firm is presently closed to new investors, and is managing a waitlist for prospective LPs.