Twice in my life I’ve literally walked off the job.
The first time came in 1953 at the age of 25 when, frustrated by the bureaucracy of a major oil company, I packed all my office belongings in a pasteboard box and walked away from my job as a geologist with Phillips Petroleum.
The second time came in 1996 at the age of 68 when I walked away from Mesa Petroleum, the company I founded and led as CEO for the better part of 40 years.
In both instances, I had a plan, and my life was much richer as a result.
Today, I’ve decided to walk off the job for a third time and have decided to close the doors on the energy hedge fund I’ve successfully run since 1996.
It’s no secret the past year has not been good to me, from a health perspective or a financial one. Health-wise, I’m still recovering from a series of strokes I suffered late last year, and a major fall over the summer. If you are lucky enough to make it to 89 years of age like I have, those things tend to put life in perspective. It’s time to start making new plans and setting new priorities.
I launched the oil and gas commodity focused BP Capital funds after leaving Mesa in 1996. It has been one hell of a roller coaster ride. I’ve seen oil prices bounce around from $10 a barrel up to $147, down to $26 and now appear to be inching up ever so slowly. I’m ecstatic that I’ve hung on long enough to see it all unfold. I’ve thrived and profited on the volatility in the energy space. But for me, personally, trading oil is not as intriguing to me as it once was.
In making this decision, I’m mindful of the fact that BP Capital is not the first nor the last energy focused hedge fund to close up shop. The financial world is littered with them these days.
Perhaps I’m a victim of my own success. Nine years ago, I championed the Pickens Plan to address America’s crippling dependence on OPEC oil. That threat has been diminished considerably and I like to think putting a spotlight on the problem – along with stunning innovations and success in America’s oil and gas industry – has helped us drill our way out of that challenge. It has certainly been a factor in putting a brake on price volatility.
While I move more toward a family office structure, other key members of the BP Capital team will be striking out on their own with a more enthusiastic and optimistic view of the energy space and the investment opportunities in that arena. I wish them well and plan to support them. I am optimistic they can achieve even greater personal and professional success in the future.
Throughout my career, I have helped take eight companies public – seven on the New York Stock Exchange and one on NASDAQ. I’ve helped establish several investment fund advisers in my 80s, and two will remain open for business. These include BP Energy Partners, a private equity fund, and BP Capital Fund Advisors and the BP Capital TwinLine Energy Fund and MLP Fund mutual funds (BPEIX and BPMIX) the team manages. That team has also created the TriLine Index Solutions energy index series including the now live NYSE® Pickens Oil Response™ Index and upcoming ETF (ticker symbol BOON), with more products to come. I’ll continue to be an owner and investor in both the TwinLine and TriLine businesses.
With fingers crossed, I have no intention of fading away. It’s just time to get my affairs in order. As I’ve long said, a fool with a plan can beat a genius without one every day. I am creating a new plan that will include turning my full attention to recovering my health and continuing to invest in personal passions like promoting unbridled entrepreneurship and philanthropic and political endeavors. I fully intend to continue to provide my perspective on energy and cultural commentary.
As this chapter closes, I couldn’t be more excited at what lies ahead.