By Reid Tileston 15’
Ask a group of Booth students about David Booth and the vast majority can you tell that he is a University of Chicago Graduate School of Business alumnus, who studied under Eugene Fama, founded Dimensional Fund Advisors and gave a gift valued at $300 million to his alma mater that now bears his name. Ask that same group who Rex Sinquefield is, and you get a lot of blank stares.
For those wondering, Sinquefield is also a University of Chicago Graduate School of Business alumni, who also studied under Eugene Fama, and co-founded Dimensional Fund Advisers with David Booth where he was the Chief Investment Officer until his retirement in 2005. David Booth gave $300 million to his alma mater. This raises the question, what did Sinquefield do with all of his money?
Sinquefield, in his own words, is working to “roll back taxes and rescue education from teachers unions.” While visiting campus this past Tuesday, Sinquefield gave a talk about tax policy and the growth of states. Sinquefield, a Missouri native, is dedicating his life in retirement to promoting the free market on a state level. He is funding Missouri’s first Free Market Think Tank, underwriting initiatives to consolidate St. Louis’s burgeoning municipal government, and working to give citizens more choice on a wide range of issues through the ballot initiative process. The speech got off to a strong start when Sinquefield noted, in true Chicago fashion, that only, "North Koreans, Cubans and active money managers’ ignore free-market pricing."
Sinquefield is a major financial contributor to political campaigns, he has been described by the Wall Street Journal as a "Super PAC man" in the ballpark of Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers. Sinquefield breezed through statistics illustrating that states with low or no income taxes outperform states with high taxes across most every economic indicator. He advocates eliminating Missouri’s state income tax and replacing it with a more comprehensive sales tax. He noted, with a grin, that over the past decade billions of dollars in wealth have fled high tax states, such as California and Illinois, to low tax states such as Texas. An experience that he and David Booth can personally relate to, having moved Dimensional Fund Advisors headquarter's from Santa Monica, California to Austin, Texas in 2005.
In addition to his involvement in politics, in 2007 Sinquefield opened the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, where he has had the stimulating, but stressful, experience of playing chess alongside one-time world champion and Russian native Gary Kasparov, a political figure in his own right who is a critic of Vladimir Putin.
While David Booth continues to generate returns for Dimensional Fund Advisors investors, you can be sure that Sinquefield will continue to passionately fight for the conservative causes that he believes in.
Knowing David Booth’s and Rex Sinquefield’s story makes one wonder, when you make it big after business school, how are you going to spend your millions?
Reid Tileston is a second year at Chicago Booth